From Rep. Linda Upmeyer –
With the arrival of June, it means that warmer weather and summer is here. Our free time will soon be filled with county fairs, cook outs, parades, and more time with family. I know that I’m looking forward to this summer!
Recently, Governor Branstad completed action on the 2016 session by signing the final bills from this year. In this week’s newsletter, I’ll highlight a few of the good things that we accomplished this session that were signed into law:
The Governor issued no vetoes and signed off on the budget in full. This year’s budget continues the practices of spending less than the state collects and not using one-time money to pay for ongoing needs. This is the sixth year in a row that the legislature has abided by these common sense measures. The budget is responsible and makes investments in Iowans’ priorities like education, public safety, and health care.
Medicaid Modernization Oversight
The Governor also approved our plan to provide oversight to the state’s new Medicaid Modernization program. This session, the legislature passed comprehensive oversight measures that will provide legislators and the public with unprecedented levels of data on the state’s Medicaid program. Some of this information has never before been available or tracked. With this data in hand, we’ll be able to ensure that patient health outcomes improve, cost savings are realized, and waste and abuse are minimized.
Early Literacy Initiative
House File 2412 ensures that parents receive updates and are notified regularly on their student’s progress in reading more than once a year. The bill also clarifies that reading proficiency at the end of third grade is not based on a single test score when determining retention.
House File 493 is aimed at protecting victims of domestic abuse by ensuring that residents, tenants, and landlords can request emergency assistance without being penalized or fined by government entities. The bill also prohibits an owner or landlord from restricting a resident’s right to summon law enforcement assistance on behalf of a victim of abuse, a victim of a crime or an individual in an emergency.
These bills are just a handful of some of the good public policy that the Governor signed after session adjourned. Earlier in the session the Governor signed many good bills like setting funding for education and providing certainty to Iowa taxpayers by coupling with the federal tax code and Section 179 depreciation. I believe that we left Iowa in a better position as a result of this past legislative session.