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A bill aimed at expanding the verification databases, in order to make the State of Iowa public assistance programs stronger and more efficient, advanced this week in the Iowa Senate.

Senate Study Bill 3068 now goes to the full Labor and Business Relations committee for consideration.  The purpose of the bill is simple – eliminate millions upon millions of dollars in inefficiencies and encourage able bodied people to enter the workforce.

Under the legislation being considered, Iowa Department of Human Services would be directed to implement Federal requirements for dual-enrollment verification. The bill goes further to require the department to utilize existing public databases to verify qualification in those applying for and receiving Medicaid and other public assistance from the State of Iowa. Using these additional databases, DHS would be able to verify financial information, identity, and other assets within minutes of applying for assistance. The state can utilize existing technologies available from private vendors to access these real-time databases. The information received would be reliable, accurate, and timely.

Presently, 600,000 Iowans receiving state public assistance benefits are checked manually by just under 500 states employees. This requires workers to monitor and close 10 to 12 cases each day in order to meet federal and state verification requirements.

The goal of this legislation is to protect public assistance programs and ensure they serve those who truly need them.

Meth use is on the rise in Iowa. This week in Commerce we passed in one of my subcommittee and committee meeting a bill cracking down on drug paraphernalia. This law will increase the barriers for tobacco stores being able to sell tobacco pipes that are used for meth use. Our children in our state should not be exposed to this.

Author: Carrie Koelker