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This week, we celebrated the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King. I was honored to attend a virtual celebration of his life through Second Baptist Church in Fort Dodge this week. It was very inspirational and there was a great message of unity which is so needed in our country right now.

Back at the Capitol, the Human Resource Committee was busy moving several pieces of policy through subcommittee. We passed bills that will increase access to child care, protect the privacy of your health records, and would ensure telehealth payment parity for behavioral health visits. The bills will be considered in full committee next week.

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In HR, we had a child care update from the Department of Human Services.  The pandemic has had a negative effect on child care homes and centers. The federal government has directed an additional 90 million dollars to support child care in Iowa. There will be a continuation of some monthly stipends to centers, PPE assistance, coverage for absent days, and infrastructure assistance.  Stay tuned for more specifics on how this money will be allocated.

Vaccine update – We are still in Phase 1A and will be moving to Phase 1B in February. It is not a fast process, mainly because the demand for the vaccine outweighs the supply at this point.  Please see the graphic below for the breakdown of eligibility on Phase 1B.

On Thursday, in the Transportation committee, we had an informative update from DOT Director Scott Marler. He talked about the department’s response to the pandemic and the progress that has been made around the state on road projects. Next week, I will be chairing the subcommittee on HF 75, a bill that addresses the issue of distracted driving. It’s the same bill I introduced last year, but because of COVID, it did not make it to the House floor.  It is a problem you brought me, and I am glad to be addressing it again this year.

There is a lot more to come, and I’ll keep you updated as often as possible. Please follow my Facebook page for more frequent updates.

Author: Ann Meyer

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