The 2024 session of the 90th General Assembly officially kicked off last week. The first week involves speeches from leaders from all branches of government, including leaders in the House and Senate, and Governor Reynolds giving the Condition of the State. We also hear from the adjutant general of the Iowa National Guard, Major General Stephen Osborn, and Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court Susan Christensen.
We are excited to be back at the Capitol and working on the issues that matter most to Iowans. We have spent the last several months talking to constituents in the district, hearing from people on bills we have passed and ideas they have, and we are ready to get started on another great year. As we start scheduling subcommittees and begin discussing legislation, please do not hesitate to reach out and ask questions or provide feedback on these important issues.
I wanted to share with you some of the things that I will be working on this year. This session started much like the last session ended, with a lot of focus on energy. Last year we passed a bill that ordered the IUB (Iowa Utilities Board) to hire an outside company to perform a detailed review of our existing energy code, something that has not been done in 20 years. The firm selected (London Economics Institute) provided us with a detailed report of their findings. I will delve into more energy issues in later newsletters.
Once again, I am working on PBM reform in Iowa. Since the Iowa Senate passed its first major PBM (Pharmacy Benefit Manager) reform bill in 2022, a bill I worked on and floor managed, I have been attempting to find new ways to lessen the impact these drug middlemen have on both prescription drug prices in the state as well as the negative impact they have on our private retail pharmacies. I will also delve deeper into PBMs and how just 3 of them control over 90 percent of the prescription drugs dispensed in this country.
In my role as chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, I will continue my work to get a hands-free bill passed this session. The bill the Senate passed last year is currently in the House awaiting movement. This year in Iowa we lost almost one person a day to traffic fatalities, and I feel a hands-free bill making it easier for law enforcement to crack down on distracted drivers is important in reversing that alarming trend. Automated Traffic Enforcement Devices (speed cameras) will also be a topic up for continued discussion this session. I have been supportive and will continue to be supportive of allowing local control to drive these with a very robust permitting process to take place through the DOT. I feel this policy removes the bad actors and allows cameras that contribute to public safety to continue to exist.
Please feel free to reach out to me regarding any pending legislation.