A bill Republicans tout as probusiness and Democrats assail as anti-worker cleared the Senate on mostly partisan vote. The bill sets limits on damages in lawsuits, changes workers comp riles and seeks to limit unemployment benefits. Senator Ron Wieck, a republican from Sioux City, says the aim is to remove regulatory burdens that impede business. Wieck says the bill brings “a little bit to the table from a lot of areas that’ll make Iowa more attractive” to business. Senator Thomas Courtney, a democrat from Burlington, says Governor Tom Vilsack, a democrat, will veto the legislation. Courtney says the bill targets workers and consumers, and is a “purely political” bill. He says workers compensation rules were developed to keep businesses from being sued by employees. Courtney was especially critical of the idea of cutting unemployment for those laid off by a plant closure. Under current law, folks who lose their job because of a plant closure get an additional 13 weeks of unemployment after the traditional 26 week period runs out. Wieck and other bill backers say workers in a plant close-down situation can get that extra 13 weeks of jobless benefits, but they have to reapply and prove they’re actively seeking another job. Wieck rejects the idea the bill reduces worker rights. Wieck says the changes in unemployment and workers comp rules are “minimal.” Wieck says “maybe a little bit is being taken away here, but the opportunity to have a job and hopefully down the road to have a better paying job” is worth it. Republican Senator Mary Lundby of Marion was the only republican to vote against the bill.
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