National state health care expert offers testimony backing Iowa health care coverage partnership program

Des Moines, IA - Today, at a hearing of the Iowa State Senates Subcommitteee on Senate File 48, Progressive States Network Senior Health Care Policy Specialist Adam Thompson provided the following written testimony in support of Sen. Jack Hatch's owa Health Care Coverage Partnership Program:

Racial Impact Statements: Addressing Racial Disparities in Criminal Justice Systems

A Simple Approach for Expanding Eligibility to Health Insurance

In New York State, 31% of uninsured residents are young adults between the ages 19 and 29. To help this population and reduce the state's uninsured rolls, Governor Paterson wants to require private employers to offer health insurance to workers' dependents who are between the ages 19 and 29.  The proposal would expand eligibility to some 800,000 uninsured New Yorkers and the Governor's Office projects about 80,000 would take advantage of the new rule. According to the New York Times, business groups appear to be supportive of the idea, which would not require employers to help pay for coverage, merely to make it available.

Policy Checklist for the New State Legislative Sessions

With legislative sessions getting underway around the country, this Dispatch provides a list of key bills and policies that we encourage legislators to consider introducing.  While not exhaustive of the range of needed reforms in states, they emphasize initiatives of strategic importance that are being considered in multiple states.  Working with our various partners, Progressive States Network is providing staff support for these policies and will work to use movement in multiple states to generate national media and attention.  This in turn will create greater momentum to assist individual states in pushing bills to passage.  The following is a quick checklist of key policies with links to model legislation and policy summaries.

Iowa Meatpacker Is Fined Nearly $10 Million

October 30, 2008

Meatpacker Is Fined Nearly $10 Million

State labor authorities levied nearly $10 million in fines Wednesday for wage violations at an Iowa meatpacking plant where nearly 400 illegal immigrant workers were arrested in a raid in May.

The fines against Agriprocessors Inc., one of the country’s largest kosher meatpackers, were the largest wage violations penalties ever levied in Iowa, state officials said.

About $9.6 million of the fines were for illegal paycheck deductions the company made for protective jackets and other uniforms that packinghouse workers were required to wear. Iowa inspectors found 96,436 deductions for uniforms from the paychecks of 2,001 workers, and brought fines of $100 per incident.

The workers’ wages had been reduced by $192,597, Iowa officials said.

“You cannot legally deduct for clothing required by the company,” said Kerry Koonce, a spokeswoman for Iowa Workforce Development, the state’s labor department.