Capitol Update: Week 16

Increased Salaries and Lower Underemployment Reported in 2017

The median annual salary increased $4,000 to $64,000 per year and the median hourly wage increased $1 to $17 per hour based on the 2017 Statewide Laborshed Study published by Iowa Workforce Development.

In addition, the statewide estimated total underemployment rate dropped from 5.1 percent in 2016 to 4.5 percent in 2017. Total underemployment measures three categories: inadequate hours, mismatched skills and low income.

Gov. Kim Reynolds said an increase in wages and a decrease in underemployment are signs of Iowa’s strong economy.  “Jobs that pay higher wages require more skills, education and training,” said Reynolds. “As Iowans continue to train for the jobs of today and tomorrow, salaries will also rise. That’s why Future Ready Iowa is so critical to our state’s future.”

Governor Signs Children’s Mental Health Executive Order

This week, Governor Kim Reynolds signed her second executive order to create a Children’s System State Board. This Children’s Board will serve as the single point of responsibility in the development and implementation of a Children’s Mental Health System in Iowa. The Executive Order can be found here.

The Children’s Board will be co-chaired by the Directors of the Iowa Department of Human Services and the Iowa Department of Education. The Executive Order requires the Children’s Board to submit a strategic plan to the Governor by November 15, 2018.

The strategic plan is required to:

  • Analyze and identify target populations to be served in the system
  • Analyze and design a long-term sustainable funding structure for the Children’s Mental Health System
  • Establish governance expectations for the Children’s System
  • Analyze and identify any legislative, regulatory, and policy ideas that are designed to improve children’s mental health in the state

This Executive Order builds on the comprehensive mental health legislation that was passed this session to expand the state’s existing adult mental health system. The Iowa House Majority continues to support the leadership the Governor is showing in this important area, and are committed to working with the Children’s Board to improve the mental health system. No parent should feel hopeless searching for treatment for their child with mental illness, and this Executive Order is an important first step in ensuring that parents have somewhere to turn.

House Working to Wrap Up Legislative Session

Extra innings are fun in baseball, but not so much when it comes to the Legislative session.  However, we are still down here working hard for Iowans to come to an agreement on tax reform and appropriations.  We have run three budget bills out of eight and hopefully by next week we will run the other five and wrap up session.

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