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This week in Human Resources we passed several bills through committee, including bills that address telehealth payment parity in mental health in-person visits. We have learned how important telehealth is during the pandemic. We also passed bills addressing the child care workforce, increasing child care provider rates, and addressing the “child care cliff” with families that receive Child Care Assistance.  Those bills will be debated on the House floor.

Tuesday I chaired the subcommittee for HF 75, which is the bill that addresses distracted driving, which prohibits the use of electronic devices while driving, except in a voice-activated mode. I brought this bill forward because you brought it to me. We have all witnessed distracted driving…where someone is staring at their phone…and no eyes on the road. There was unanimous support in subcommitte, and it will be considered in full committee next week.

Wednesday evening we debated HJR 5, a constitutional amendment that states the Iowa Constitution does not recognize, grant, or secure a right to abortion or require the public funding of abortion. It does not outlaw abortion, it makes the Constitution neutral on the issue. It passed. To become law, it needs to pass the next general assembly, THEN it goes on the ballot for the people of Iowa to vote on this important issue. I truly believe this is the most democratic way to legislate this issue… by turning it over to YOU for the final say!

That said, if we want to reduce abortion, we need to make sure women have access to birth control. Wednesday I chaired a subcommittee for HSB 121, which is a bill that creates a standing order through the state medical director for several types of birth control, and after completing training, pharmacists will be able to provide certain types of birth control. There were several concerns raised in the subcommittee, and they will be addressed before the bill comes to the committee. I will keep you updated on this bill. It was introduced by the Governor two years ago, and I worked on it back then. Since then, several other states have implemented this program, including Utah and Colorado.

Thursday night, we debated SJR 7, the constitutional amendment that secures the right in the Iowa constitution to keep and bear arms. This is the same amendment we passed in 2019. Now it has been passed in two consecutive general assemblies…now it will be on the next state ballot for the people of Iowa to vote. Just like the Life amendment that was passed Wednesday night…YOU have the final say in this legislation. I believe this is the most democratic way to legislate this issue.

Also Thursday night, we passed HF 229, a bill requiring schools to provide parents with the option of sending their children for 100% in-person learning, giving parents a choice and voice in their child’s education. Schools can still offer fully-virtual or hybrid models and parents can choose which option is best for their child.

Author: Ann Meyer