Advocating for a conservative, pro-growth agenda
After last’s week legislative deadline for bills, week 13 included more floor debate. We remain focused on our budget work while we continue to pass bills out of the Senate.
While we are still in negotiations with the House and the governor on what the budget will look like for the next fiscal year, we continue to move forward with our budget bills. We do this because we believe we have a budget that is responsible and sustainable. The budget priorities this session include reliable and sustainable funding for education, health care and public safety. The Senate has also stayed committed to continuing to find ways we can provide tax relief for Iowa taxpayers. Our budget accomplishes these goals while maintaining surplus revenue in the event of slower economic growth than predicted.
We have advocated for a conservative, pro-growth agenda during the last few years. Implementing those policies requires a conservative budget and conservative legislation to move our state forward. This year alone we have passed bills to prevent bad actors from maliciously attacking our agriculture industry, strengthen our Second Amendment rights in Iowa, and to improve public accountability in many aspects of government.
We have passed a suite of welfare reforms to bring able-bodied people into the workforce, reduce fraud, ensure benefits are for Iowa resident and U.S. citizens and try to provide for those individuals who are most in need of assistance. We also passed a bill to ensure the free speech rights of students at Iowa public universities are protected and legislation to protect Iowa employers and workers.
Some of these bills have been signed into law, some still await passage in the House, while others may not be considered until next session. Senate Republicans will continue to advocate for our agenda throughout these last few weeks. As we continue our work in the Senate, I encourage you to reach out on bills and issues important to you.
Flood relief continues to be a major topic of conversation in the Iowa Legislature. Many parts of southwest Iowa remain under water and a full accounting of the damage may be weeks or months away.
Increasing transparency in prescription medicine
The Iowa Senate unanimously advanced a bill this week aimed at shining the light on costs that help determine drug pricing. Senate File 563 deals with pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). PBMs are third-party companies who act as prescription drug middlemen to develop plans for state government employees, commercial health entities, and for employers who self-insure.
As the cost of prescription medicine rises, there is momentum in Iowa, other states, and at the federal level to increase the transparency requirements for the PBMs in their operations. U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley is taking up this issue in the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. This week the Iowa Senate followed suit.
The bill, which passed on a 49-0 vote, will make the rates negotiated more transparent, and shines more light on the entities receiving those rebates. PBMs will now be required to yearly report aggregate dollars received, all administrative fees, and the aggregate dollar amounts of rebates retained by the PBM and not passed through to the health carrier.
It is an honor to serve as your senator. Please feel free to reach out to me with your important issues.