News from Des Moines
Week 8 of the session continued with debating House bills on the floor, and we began moving Senate bills that had been sent over through the House committees.
Last week, U.S. News and World Report confirmed what I’ve always known — they rated Iowa as the best state in the nation to live. The magazine rated all 50 states on 77 metrics with thousands of data points in key categories, and Iowa came out on top overall. The report gave us high marks in infrastructure (#1), health care (#3), opportunity (#4), education (#5), and quality of life (#9). We were the #1state for middle class families, #1 for high school graduation rates, #3 best managed state, #4 in K-12 funding increases, and the #4 state for retirees. Contrary to all the negative rhetoric over the past two years over the transition to Managed Care Organizations for Medicaid recipients, Iowa was ranked #3 in the nation for its Medicaid program. The entire State of Iowa deserves congratulations for this recognition. Each and every Iowan did their part and should be proud of this top national ranking! This ranking reflects well on the work we have done over the past few years, but it should also cause us to redouble our efforts to stay at #1 in the nation, other states will certainly be working hard to catch us. We in the Legislature understand our role in this effort to make our state even better for future generations.
• House File 2456 – Mental Health Provisions – This bill seeks to build off of our community-based, regional mental health system. There are many provisions in the bill, of particular note is that the bill requires at least six short-term “Access Centers” to be established around the state where Iowans suffering from a mental illness can be stabilized before reaching a crisis. The intent behind these centers is “no reject – no eject,” taking any and all patients that are referred to them for short term evaluation and eventual placement. This would also help in solving a frequent problem we have with a violent mentally ill person who has committed a crime being stuck in a jail cell while waiting for a bed to open up in an appropriate mental health facility. This bill also seeks to provide a third party contractor to transport patients instead of relying on our law enforcement officers. This would significantly relieve the burden on our law enforcement officers.
• HF 2402 – Revoking Power of Attorney (POA) in a Dependent Adult Abuse (DAA) case – This was a bill that I sponsored that seeks to force the revocation of a POA in cases where DAA is charged. Rep. Megan Jones managed this bill through the Judiciary Committee and on the Floor of the House on Tuesday. It passed the House 95-0 and now goes to the Senate.
• Senate File 2281 – Fetal Heartbeat Abortion Ban – This bill seeks to ban abortion on demand after a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually in the 7th or 8th week of a pregnancy. It is imperative that we protect human life at all stages. This bill was passed by the Senate on a party line vote of 30 – 20, with all 29 Republicans and 1 Independent senator voting to protect life, and all 20 Democrats voting against it. he bill now is in the House for action. I will be supporting this bill, working closely with my colleagues to pass it in the House.
I had the pleasure of meeting with many constituents this past week. Members from the county Farm Bureau organizations in my district, Tama, Marshall and Black Hawk, visited on Tuesday to advocate for their issues. I also had the pleasure of meeting several Marshall County 4-H members on Wednesday.
State Rep. Dean Fisher can be reached at 641-750-3594 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org