Greetings from the Statehouse: Funnel week

By Michael Bergan, Iowa House District 55

Representative Bergan with members of the Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation, Chrishelle Strauers (left) and Karli Schmelzer (right).

This week was funnel week, and while fun may be in the name it was not quite that exciting. However, it was a fulfilling week as the House worked hard to get all the bills through committee before the end of the week deadline. From here, committee meetings will begin to occur less frequently as our attention shifts from the smaller group discussions, to debates on the house floor. Several bills I chaired passed out of committee this week and will be voted on in the House floor within the coming weeks. And yet, while the Capitol was busy, there were still plenty of visitors to our beloved Statehouse.

Bills that moved on

Of the bills I oversaw, a few made it past committee that I feel are worthwhile to mention. 

HSB 198: This is a great bill that would allow Iowans with disabilities a greater opportunity to be a part of the workforce. Under the current legislation, those with disabilities are forced between choosing a well-paying job or losing their medical benefits under Medicaid. HSB 198 would raise the income cap for Medicaid benefits so Iowans can have the freedom to work where they want and keep basic health care coverage. 

HSB 648: This piece of legislation is relatively straightforward and is more of an update to our Accountable Government Act. It gives the Department of Management the responsibility of overseeing executive agencies and requires that those agencies have a strategic plan in place for their operations. I wrote about this bill in last week’s newsletter but now I am happy to report it is moving to the floor for a vote in the coming weeks. 

HSB 695: This is an act relating to the power, duties, and responsibilities of state government entities associated with the budget, financial control, and information technology.  The bill also reflects reorganization of the relative statutes following the combining of the Office of Chief Information with the Department of Management. Lastly, it also updates some definitions while removing certain antiquated sections. 

Guests at the Capitol

On Tuesday, members of the Iowa Association of School Boards visited the Capitol to voice their concerns and visit with members of the House and Senate. The following day, Wednesday, was far busier with several groups stopping in to not only advocate for certain topics, but also to wish a happy Valentine’s Day to the members of the legislature. I for one received a goody bag which I found to be quite delicious. I was able to meet with members from the Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation as well as those involved with the Iowa Hospital Association. I was then afforded the luxury of guiding some of those visiting with the IHA on an extended dome tour. Finally on Thursday, I met with Katie Strub from the Allen Child Protection Center; Mariah Busta, Executive Director of the Iowa State Dairy Association, from Fort Atkinson; and a group of high school students from MFL MarMac.

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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