In the Legislature
Wednesday was REC Day on the Hill and I was able to meet with REC members from our community. It was a great opportunity to catch up with friends in the REC industry. These electric cooperatives are owned by their members and governed by elected directors of the membership, ensuring they meet the needs of our rural communities. We passed several bills on the floor this week. Here's our week:
On Monday, we debated and passed SF 465, HF 462, and HF 289.
On Tuesday, we passed SCR 5, HF 577, SF 406, HF 445, SF 448, SF 449, SF 468, HF 544, SF 433, and SF 434.
HF 577 prohibits a physician from being disciplined solely on their recommendation of a treatment for Lyme disease. This allows patients to get the treatment they need in our state instead of having to travel elsewhere to get treated. This bill passed the Senate unanimously.
On Wednesday, we passed SF 51, SF 220, SF 234, SF 359, and SF 361.
On Thursday, we debated and passed SF 384, HF 215, SF 431, SF 457, SF 469, and HF 516.
HF 215 makes changes to the autism support program to include behavior analysis treatment and to ensure the program is available only to people who are not eligible through other forms of coverage. It also requires insurance coverage for applied behavioral analysis for persons under the age of 19 years for insurance plans issued to employers who had more than 50 employees during the preceding calendar year. There are dollar caps for applied behavioral analysis that is scaled depending on the age of the child. This bill passed the Senate unanimously.
Better online education for Iowa students
Senate File 475 strikes limitations on online education including which schools may have online learning, enrollment caps, some specific requirements for posting student performance, and a school's ability to develop and offer online education. The bill increases student opportunities beyond the classroom as well, allowing students open enrolled for the purposes of online education to participate in extracurricular activities locally.
Legalizing Fireworks in Iowa
On Tuesday, the Iowa Senate passed Senate File 489, legalizing the sale and use of fireworks in the state of Iowa. Currently, Iowans can possess fireworks, but are prohibited from using them. The bill would allow for the sale and regulation of first and second class consumer fireworks in both permanent and temporary structures. The bill provides for a limited sale and use period for the retailer and consumer and also allows the state fire marshal to order the suspension of use of all fireworks if they deem a threat to public safety.
A person is only allowed to use consumer fireworks between June 1 and July 8, between December 10 and January 3, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. with additional hours on the 4th and New Year's Eve, and only on their own property or with consent on another person's property.
The bill did cause a few sparks on the floor, but after a several hour debate, the bill passed 34-14. Constituents all across Iowa have been bursting with excitement about finally being able to buy fireworks in the state instead of having to travel elsewhere. It now heads to the House for consideration.
Continuing to strengthen our rural communities
Main Street businesses across Iowa are not alone in the persistent struggles they face in our rural communities. Many health care providers in our rural communities wrestle with some of the same challenges, including the rising costs of doing business when dealing with higher medical liability premiums.
We approved a measure this week in the Iowa Senate which would make several changes to medical liability law, including capping noneconomic damages at $250,000. The goal of this reform is to provide an environment to increase retention and recruitment for rural family practitioners.
This week, I voted against the amended traffic camera bill, SF 220 because the bill did not address my constitutional concerns. I still did not feel as if SF 220 addressed the issue of due process.
This week the Iowa Senate debated a bill to promote election integrity. SF 474 intends to streamline the voting process, while adding integrity and verification of voters using the system.