Legislative News January 2012

Legislative news – 01/26/2012

Legislative Work Plods Along

The first two weeks of the session provided little excitement unless you followed the issues of education reform or property tax reform. Introduction of bills is moving slowly. Legislative leaders in both chambers have agreed to shorten the legislative session by 7 days (93 days instead of the statutory 100 days) and to move up the funnel deadlines for committee and floor action on bills. The budget subcommittees began their work this week by receiving presentations on the Governor’s budget proposal.

Mental Health Issues

The debate over redesign of the mental health delivery system has yet to start in earnest for this legislative session. DHS Director Chuck Palmer has made numerous presentations to committees on the proposal but legislative language is not expected until next week. The House and Senate subcommittees, led by Rep. Renee Schulte (R-Cedar Rapids) in the House and Sen. Jack Hatch (D-Des Moines) in the Senate have agreed to hold joint subcommittee meetings on the legislation when it is introduced. The Governor’s budget proposal falls significantly short of what DHS has projected is needed in additional funds to implement the recommendations. Governor Branstad has proposed an additional $18 million in funding while DHS projects it will take an additional $42 million. Legislators were told this week that DHS has potentially found an additional $11 million in new federal funds that could be directed toward the effort. Senator Jack Hatch has said that they will try to find further resources to meet the $42 million projection.

IMHCA/IAMFT Joint Lobby Day

Mark your calendar for Monday, February 6 for the joint lobby day with the Iowa Mental Health Counselors Association and the Iowa Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. The afternoon will begin at 3:00 with a short briefing on mental health issues in the Lucas Cafeteria (6th floor, Lucas Building). The group will proceed to the Capitol (via the tunnel) to meet with legislators and discuss the roles that the respective organizations play in delivering mental health services. You can work in groups and a list of key legislators to visit with will be provided. This is your opportunity to let legislators know the important role that you play in providing mental health services, the types of problems you see in your practice and how you help to fill the void with the availability of mental health services across the state. Please plan to attend this important event and make your voice heard.

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