Legislature 2018 Logo

DES MOINES — Gov. Kim Reynolds soft-pedaled an effort by the Iowa Department of Human Services to roll back legislative oversight requirements of the state’s privatized Medicaid program during her regular Monday meeting with Statehouse new reporters.

DHS officials requested House Study Bill 632, which would reduce how often the agency must report performance data on the health care program for the poor and disabled; remove some consumer protection metrics; and eliminate a requirement that the agency report its expected savings under the system managed by private contractors. Reynolds said DHS Director Jerry Foxhoven has worked to address problems, conduct outreach, improve efficiencies to assist case workers and ensure transparency while streamlining the process.

Sanctuary cities

Gov. Kim Reynolds called it “imperative” Congress act on immigration legislation that provides “stability and certainty” for immigrants.

Beyond that, Reynolds said, “if an individual has come here illegally and made a choice to break law, they should be held accountable.”

She didn’t specifically endorse SF 481, which was approved by the Iowa Senate last year and is under consideration by the House.

Despite her reluctance to call for the Legislature to pass SF 481, Reynolds’ campaign has used the topic for a fundraising appeal. In it, she warned Iowa City and Des Moines “have passed resolutions and ordinances to move themselves closer to being sanctuary cities.” Those cities reject that argument and say police are appropriately cooperating with federal authorities.

SAVE extension

A House Education subcommittee unanimously approved HSB 647 to extend the one-cent sales tax for school infrastructure until 2049.

The bill removes the 2029 sunset for the Secure an Advanced Vision for Education to provide schools with funds for safe, modern schools and technology.

The funds will be distributed on a per pupil basis except for increasing the allocation for property tax equity relief from $984 per pupil in fiscal 2019 to $1,087 in 2029 and $1,521 in 2050.

The bill also would require schools boards planning to issue bonds against the SAVE revenue to have a public hearing and allow 14 days for residents to call for a referendum. It also place limits on the use of SAVE funds for athletic facilities.

Arbitration

Employees should not be subject to secret, forced arbitration in cases of workplace sexual harassment, according to Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller. He has joined a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general in 56 states and territories urging Congress to ensure sexual harassment victims have a right to their day in court.

Too often, the attorneys general contend, employees are required to sign employment contracts containing arbitration agreements mandating that sexual harassment claims be resolved through private arbitration instead of the judicial process.

Fetal heartbeat

Legislation that would make it illegal for a doctor to perform an abortion in Iowa once a fetal heartbeat is detected was approved Monday on an 8-5 party-line vote by the Senate Judicial Committee.

An overflow crowd of supporters and opponents broke into extended applause after the committee acted. Supporters say Senate Study Bill 3143 said the measure is designed to protect the unborn by barring a physician from performing an abortion when tests determine a heartbeat is present unless a medical emergency exists that warrants the procedure. Violation of the bill’s provisions would subject a doctor to a Class D felony charge carrying a five-year prison term but there would be no penalty for the woman.

Opponents called the bill unconstitutional, dangerous and a “direct attack” on women’s health care in Iowa.

Trust fund

Hundreds of Iowans flooded the Capitol rotunda to rally and lobby their legislators in support of funding the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. Business leaders, conservationists, public officials, farmers, hunters and cyclists were on hand to voice their backing for establishing a sustainable source of funding for natural resources and outdoor recreation. The Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund was created by a statewide vote in 2010, but has yet to be funded by a sales tax increase of three-eighths of 1 percent that won voter approval.

0
0
0
0
0

Load comments