Greetings from the Statehouse: AEA update

By Michael Bergan, Iowa House District 55

Last week was highlighted by productive committee meetings full of excellent discussions. I chaired a subcommittee on HSB 198, a bill that would allow Iowans with disabilities to maintain their Medicaid coverage while working. I also introduced legislation for the session, HF 2207. It is a bill that would allow electricians to be more flexible when it comes to retirement by giving them the option to go year by year for their license. House members heard the concerns raised by the public, stalling the AEA bill in committee. Lastly, the week was filled with hundreds of visitors to the Capitol such as the FFA, the Iowa State Police Association, the Iowa Physician Assistant Society, and the Epilepsy Foundation. 

AEA update

During the week, Iowa House held a subcommittee on the Governor’s AEA proposal, HSB 542. In the end, the subcommittee decided not to advance the bill to the full committee, citing the need for more conversations on the matter. It has become clear that after taking feedback from Iowans, there is not the support in the House to move this bill forward in its current form. There still exists a desire to improve special education outcomes in Iowa.  Work to make improvements in this system needs to include the stakeholders. It is important to ensure adequate services are available for our rural schools and children.

Other news

Bills advance on Childcare, Maternal Health and Nursing Home Cameras

Last week, the House Health and Human Services committee passed six bills with bipartisan support to address a variety of issues affecting Iowans. Below are some of the bills:

• Child Care Flexibility: House File 2056 allows for additional workers to be able to assist during nap times and breaks. In 2022, the legislature allowed 16- and 17-year-olds to work in child-care centers with children 5 years and older. This bill allows those workers to assist with younger children during naps and brief periods.

• Maternal Health: House File 2057 makes updates to the More Options for Maternal Support program. This bill allows the state to contract directly with pregnancy resource centers, allows for the 3rd party administrator to be based in Iowa, and allows for additional services to be provided to pregnant women.

• Nursing Home Cameras: House File 537 allows for live-streamed cameras in nursing home and clearly outlines processes for residents or their legal representatives to request a camera in their room. The bill includes protections for shared rooms and gives roommates the authority to determine whether a camera is in their room.

Guests at the Capitol

Last Tuesday the Capitol played host to almost 700 members of the FFA, a youth organization with an emphasis agribusiness and preparing students for a career in that field. I had the honor of leading some of the students up to the Whispering Gallery and showing them the beautiful pieces of artwork we have here in the Capitol. Later that same day I was able to meet with Ross Evelsizer, an individual from Northeast Iowa advocating for improved water quality through the use of watershed projects. Wednesday I had the opportunity to meet with one of my constituents, Winneshiek County Sheriff Dan Marx, as well as the family of the late Brendan Numedahl who were visiting with the Epilepsy Foundation. Finally, on Thursday I met with members from CAMHI4Kids, the Coalition to Advance Mental Health for Kids; Deana Hageman with the RSVP Program; and Emily Busta, a student from Allen College.

Visiting the Capitol?

It is always an honor to meet with constituents. If you are visiting the Capitol, kindly notify me of your intent to visit at michael.bergan@legis.iowa.gov. This will greatly assist me in the scheduling process.

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