Iowa Mental Health Counselors Association
Legislative Update – March 31, 2017
Under the Golden Dome
The Legislature concluded its second funnel week, a time when all policy bills must have passed one chamber and a committee in the opposite chamber to remain alive. This does not apply to budget and tax bills. And, as is always possible in the legislative world, procedures exist for bills or bill language to be resurrected. Nothing is truly dead until the legislature adjourns for the year.
The next serious work for the legislature will be developing a budget to accommodate the reduced revenue available for the current fiscal year (FY 17) and the upcoming fiscal year (FY 18). The legislature will transfer funds from the cash reserve fund to balance the budget for FY 17. However, the statute requires this fund to be “replenished” in the next fiscal year. Governor Branstad has proposed doing this over a two-year period to reduce the pressure on an already dismal budget situation. As required by law, he submitted his revised budget proposal for FY 18 to reflect the lower revenue estimates announced two weeks ago. Legislative leaders are faced with a difficult task of finding reductions and have yet to release their own revised budget targets.
Bills that Survived – 2nd Funnel
HF 215: This bill requires state-regulated insurance plans to provide coverage for ABA treatment for autism consistent with the requirements already imposed on the state employee’s plan. IMHCA is registered in support of this bill. Governor Branstad signed the bill into law on March 30.
HF 593: This bill gives mental health providers the authority to perform examinations and to involuntarily commit someone with a substance abuse problem. The authority is limited to the scope of licensure and authorization of each individual practice area. IMHCA is registered in support of the bill which has been sent to the governor for his signature.
Bills that Failed
SF 453: duty to warn law enforcement
SF 477: Medicaid claim payment
SSB 1071: health care worker attraction and retention workgroup