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And that’s a wrap!  The final week of session has concluded and there were a few pleasant surprises. While the second session of the 89th General Assembly was shorter than the first, we didn’t disappoint when it came to delivering great legislation for all Iowans.  I worked tirelessly to get HF 2298 across the finish line and it was passed by the Senate on the last day!

As we look towards this election cycle and into next year, there are so many things to already tackle next session.  With your support and vote, I, along with my colleagues, promise to continue to deliver meaningful legislation to our district and for all Iowans!  Even though there was so many more bills passed, these are the highlights of a few bills that I’ve been asked about:

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HF 2298: Ban on COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement for Children (Sent to Governor)

  • Iowa House Republicans passed a bill that says licensed child care centers, elementary, secondary, or postsecondary schools are not allowed to require the COVID-19 vaccine for enrollment.
  • Iowans have reached out to their elected officials expressing their concerns regarding COVID-19 vaccine requirements. The issue is even more heightened when it comes to children.
  • This legislation will ensure Iowa parents can make their own decisions based on what’s best for their child and that every child can get the access to education and child care that they deserve.

HF 2317: A Tax Cut for All Iowans (Signed By Governor)

  • Republicans in the Capitol delivered a historic tax plan that lowers taxes for every Iowan and is sustainable into the foreseeable future.
  • Our tax cut lowers the tax rate for all Iowans to a fair and flat rate of 3.9%. That puts Iowa at the fourth lowest income tax rate in the country.
  • Before our tax cut legislation, the lowest income earners would have paid a rate of 4.4% income tax for Fiscal year 2023. So, this change to 3.9% represents a tax cut for every Iowan.
  • Despite what you may hear from the Left, wealthier Iowans will still contribute more to funding the government.  3.9% of $1 million is more than 3.9% of $62,000.

HF 2317: Making Retirement Income Tax Free (Signed By Governor)

  • This session, we also made retirement income in Iowa tax free.
  • How retirement income is taxed in each state can have a big impact on where folks choose to retire and make their primary state of residence.
  • We see many Iowans move or change their primary residence to states like Florida, Texas or even Illinois that do not tax retirement income.
  • If we can keep those folks in Iowa once they retire, that means they continue to contribute to the economy here in Iowa, to not-for-profits and to their local community.
  • I’ve seen some criticism that our bill does not include social security income. However, that’s because Iowa already does not tax social security benefits.

SF 2367: Tax Exemption for Feminine Products and Diapers (Sent to Governor)

  • With inflation at an all-time high and costs rising on just about everything, Iowa House Republicans are continuing to look for ways to ease the tax burden on Iowans.
  • This week, we passed a new tax exemption that will help keep more money in the pockets of everyday Iowans.
  • This change eliminates the 7% sales tax on feminine products and diapers. It is estimated to save Iowa taxpayers $11 million a year.

HF 2589: Eliminating the Deadline for Open Enrollment (Sent to Governor)

  • This bill eliminates the March 1st deadline for public school students to open enroll into another public school. With this change, students could apply to leave their school and attend a different public school at any time during the year.
  • This bill will help provide additional school choice for parents and students who don’t feel like they’re having their voices heard by their school board and administrators.
  • Under current law, a student must apply to open enroll before March 1st unless they are granted a specific exception. This means that if a school board adopts a policy against your wishes on March 2nd, your student would be trapped in that school for the following year.
  • This allows parents to make the best decision for their child on where to send their kid to school.
  • The receiving district would still need to have the capacity to accept the student. And all current laws regarding athletic eligibility remain in place.

HF 2564: Assisting Businesses with Expanding Child Care Options for Employees (Sent to the Governor)

  • The Economic Development Appropriations bill contains a tax credit for businesses to expand child care options for their employees.
  • House Republicans have made child care a priority over the last 3 years, and last year the governor signed legislation to address the cliff effect in child care assistance, double the income eligibility for the child care tax credit for families, increase child care assistance rates by $13.4 million, and expand options for families through non-registered homes.
  • This bill tackles the issue from another angle House Republicans have been interested in working toward over the past few years – incentivizing businesses to help their employees find and pay for child care services.

HF 2127: Additional money for child care providers (Sent to Governor)

  • This bill allows child care providers to accept addition money from families participating in the state child care assistance program.
  • Current law does not allow those families to pay the difference between the CCA reimbursement rate and the rate the provider typically charges, even if the family agrees to pay the additional fee.
  • This bill would help providers make additional money by allowing them to collect more money from the families who can afford it.

HF 2549: Mental Health Loan Forgiveness Program (Sent to Governor)

  • This bill establishes a mental health practitioner loan repayment program for Iowans that agree to practice in Iowa for at least five years.
  • This will draw more of the much-needed mental health care professionals to our state to get educated, trained and stick around to work after they graduate.

HF 2546: Increasing funds for those caring for high-need patients (Sent to Governor)

  • This bill requires Iowa Medicaid to establish a rate for psychiatric intensive care in Iowa.
  • This will ensure that the health care professionals providing care for the most difficult mental health patients are being compensated appropriately.

HF 2384: Increasing Transparency with Pharmacy Benefit Managers (Sent to Governor)

  • The Iowa House and Senate passed legislation to create a framework for pharmacy prescription drug reimbursements from Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs).
  • PBMs serve as the middle man of the pharmaceutical industry and many states across the country are looking at ways to reform the industry and provide additional transparency.
  • This legislation will protect our rural pharmacies so they can continue to provide essential care for their communities and aims to lower the cost of prescription drugs for the consumer.

HF 2578: MOMs maternal support legislation (Sent to Governor)

  • This section of the HHS budget  requires DHS to create the more options for maternal support program, a statewide program to promote healthy pregnancies and childbirth through nonprofit organizations that provide pregnancy support services.
  • DHS will issue RFPs to select a program administrator that is a nonprofit that has been in existence for at least 3 years and can manage subcontractors to provide pregnancy support services.
  • The subcontractors must also have at least one year of operational experience in providing pregnancy support services.
  • This program will:
  • Provide personalized support to pregnant women to provide stabilization to families
  • Promote improved pregnancy outcomes through healthy behaviors and prenatal nutrition.
  • Improve child health and development
  • Improve family economic self-sufficiency by linking parents with services
  • Allows contractors to provide:
  • Nutritional services
  • Housing, education and employment assistance for up to one year following a birth
  • Adoption services
  • Child care assistance
  • Child care items including cribs, car seats, clothing, diapers, formula
  • Parenting education
  • A call center
  • Medical information and referrals for medical care

Author: Henry Stone

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