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Child labor law changes, restrictions for state auditor advance at the Statehouse

Rob Sand gesticulates in front of a crowd.
Madeleine Charis King
/
IPR
State Auditor Rob Sand speaks to a crowd in his office.

Lawmakers sent several more bills to Gov. Kim Reynolds’ desk for her signature last week. The list includes some of the governor’s proposals, which are all expected to be signed into law. That includes her “parents’ rights” education bill and legislation to strengthen criminal penalties for dealing fentanyl.

The end is in sight for the 2023 session. House and Senate Republicans have announced joint budget targets, signaling that they’re on the same page on ironing out spending for the next fiscal year — a measure that must be passed for lawmakers to end the session.

Here’s what you need to know about what happened last week at the Legislature.

After overnight debate, the Senate passed a bill to relax some child labor laws

Shortly before 5 a.m. Tuesday, Senate Republicans passed a bill that expands what work teens can participate in and the hours they can work. Top state officials would also be able to grant exemptions to participate in certain occupations that are currently illegal for teens, if it’s part of a work-based learning program.

Unlike earlier versions, mining, logging and working in meatpacking plants still wouldn’t be allowed under any circumstances in the Senate bill.

The bill now goes to the Iowa House for consideration.

Lawmakers continued to pursue a bill that would weaken the role of the state auditor’s office

Republicans in the Iowa House passed a bill Thursday that would limit the state auditor’s ability to get information from state agencies and officials while investigating the potential misuse of taxpayer dollars. Under the legislation, the state auditor would be unable to take state agencies or officials to court if they refuse to provide records the auditor considers necessary for an investigation.

Democrats have called the bill a political power grab,saying it targets the only Democratic statewide elected official in Iowa, Rob Sand. GOP supporters say Sand has sought information outside the bounds of what the auditor’s office should access and that the legislation aims to protect Iowans’ personal information.

The bill now moves to the Senate.

Follow along for live updates as bills are introduced and advanced through the Iowa Legislature.

Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter
Clay Masters is the senior politics reporter for MPR News.
Madeleine Charis King (she/her) manages and writes Iowa Public Radio’s newsletters. She also takes photos in support of IPR's news and music teams.