Guest Columnist

Employment leave for adoptive parents is family friendly

A family friendly bill that makes it easier for parents to bond with their adopted children passed the Senate Labor and Business Relations Committee.

According to the Department of Public Health, Iowa had 1,793 adoptions in 2018. Senate File 476 ensures employers treat an employee who adopts in the same manner as biological parents of a newborn. If the employer offers maternity and paternity leave for parents of newborns, the employer also would provide leave for adoptive parents during the first year of adoption.

This bill treats employees equally and is a good example of how we can put Iowans first.

Initiatives make student loan debt more manageable

Iowa’s student loan debt has increased 77 percent in the last 10 years, according to an Experian study. Graduating with debt can really set students back in getting their careers off the ground and becoming financially stable.

Two bills that passed the Senate this week will help. Under SF 272, educational loan services doing business in Iowa must be licensed by Iowa’s Division of Banking, follow contract requirements and be subject to Iowa’s Consumer Fraud Act for violations. This bill offers protections for those who contract with companies to manage their student loans, with the goal of eliminating unscrupulous businesses that drive graduates further into debt.

Under SF 304, the state’s professional licensing boards will stop suspending or revoking a professional license due to default or delinquency on a student loan. Current law allows this practice. It doesn’t make sense to take away the very thing that allows a graduate to repay their debts. A person’s professional license—like a cosmology or electrician license—can be critical to making a living and paying bills.

Both bills are now under consideration in the House.

- Sen. Rich Taylor (D-Mt. Pleasant) represents Henry and Lee counties and portions of Washington and Jefferson counties. He can be reached at 319-931-1568 or via email at rich.taylor@legis.iowa.gov.