Legislative News February 2013

Legislative news – 02/21/2013

Impending Snowstorm Shortens Legislative Work Week

In anticipation of a big snow event, both chambers cancelled nearly all work for Thursday to allow legislators time to get home in advance of the snow. The only subcommittee still being held is one in the Senate on Medicaid expansion. Legislators have two weeks until the first legislative funnel and the pace of subcommittee work picked up dramatically this week. The House moved forward on one of the Governor’s main priorities — education reform — and passed legislation that would make changes to teacher compensation, student assessments and teacher leadership opportunities. In addition, the House began work on the Governor’s property tax proposal. Significant differences of opinion between the two chambers still exist on both of these priorities.

Bills of Interest

SF 216: This bill would require that any school personnel with a license issued by the Board of Educational Examiners complete training on suicide prevention. The goal is to better assist teachers and others with contact with students to identify those in need of assistance and to refer them for additional help. The requirement would apply only to those with contact with students in grades 6 – 12. The legislation would create an advisory committee to work with the Department of Public Health and the Department of Education to identify appropriate training curriculum.

SSB 1186: The perennial bill to create a social worker loan repayment program at the state level surfaced again. This bill would provide grants to licensed social workers who practice in critical shortage areas to help reduce their student loan costs. No individual could receive more than $25,000 or the total amount of their federal student loan. In the past, this legislation has been expanded to include marriage and family therapists as well as mental health counselors.

HF 217: This bill would create a mental health advocate position within the department of inspection and appeals. The purpose of this position would be to oversee the mental health advocate program in Chapter 229.

HSB 70: This bill, promoted by the Iowa Medical Society, is modeled after other states with “truth in advertising” statutes. It would apply to anyone with a license under Chapter 147 including LMFTs and LMHCs. It would require the prominent display of the individual’s license at the primary workspace and in any materials used. It is designed to protect the identity of specific licensure professions.

IMHCA Legislative Day

IMHCA is scheduled to visit the Capitol on Monday, March 11 to talk about their profession and the work that they do to address mental health issues in Iowa. Members will meet at 3:00 in the Lucas Building, 6th Floor cafeteria, for a briefing and then proceed to the Capitol to talk with legislators. Please consider taking time to attend this important event.

Submitted by: 

Emily Piper | emily@ialobbyresources.com Piper Consulting Services P.O. Box 12011 | Des Moines, Iowa 50312-2011 Phone: 515-202-7772 | Fax: 866-869-2842