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I want to thank my constituents for putting your trust in me for two more years to represent the House of Representatives in this great state of Iowa. I also want to thank all of my friends for your concern before, during and after open-heart surgery. My surgery was October 30th and I feel 100% recovered and feel better than I have in a long time. After what I have been through, my only advice would be to listen to your body, if you are experiencing chest pains, take it seriously and don’t take your health for granted.

Governor Reynold’s Condition of the State Speech
On Tuesday night, Jan. 12th, Governor Reynold’s spoke about her plan for state spending for the next Fiscal Year, 2022.  Her plan proposes to spend $8.11 billion from the general fund, which is an increase of 3.7% from FY 2021 budget. It spends 98.31% of the ongoing revenue.

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Her major announcement was her proposal to commit $450 million over the next three years on broadband throughout the state. This is very encouraging for rural Iowa because broadband is vitally important for rural businesses, farmers and families.

Another major piece of her budget proposal addresses mental health. Under her budget plan, the state would provide $15 million in FY2022 and $30 million in FY2023 to expand access and implement service expansions.

In FY2022 the state will spend $1.48 billion from the general fund on the Medicaid program and health and wellness program. The Governor’s budget for next year will provide a $10 million increase for nursing home services, $8 million for home and community-based services and $3.9 million for psychiatric mental institutes for children.

Iowa’s K-12 would receive $26.3 million in additional money during FY2022.  She has recommended a $5.2 million increase for community colleges. Her budget would also provide an additional $10 million to college student aid commission to fund the Last-Dollar Scholarship program.  This program provides funding for certificates that lead to skilled, high demand jobs. These are high paying occupations in high demand throughout the state.

COVID-19 Vaccinations
Last week, the House Human Resources Committee had a presentation from the Iowa Dept. of Public Health on the future status of the COVID-19 vaccine in Iowa. Based on CDC guidelines, Iowa has prioritized residents of long-term care facilities and health care workers in the Phase 1A distribution of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

As of Monday, Jan. 11th, there have been 96,686 doses administered in Iowa. The Governor has the expectation that all long-term residents and staff will be vaccinated before the end of January. IDPH announced that the expansion into the 1B populations will begin around the beginning of February. The expansion of other populations will depend on the allocation of more vaccines from the CDC.

To keep track of Iowa’s allocation, check the CDC Tracker.

Author: Brian Best

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