Legislative News March 2014

Legislative news – 03/28/2014


Under the Golden Dome

It’s that time of year when nothing seems to be happening as the legislature moves toward adjournment.  Much of the work is behind the scenes as the budget subcommittee chairs attempt to craft their spending priorities within the overall budget targets.  The health and human services bill is generally the last bill out of the shoot, largely due to policy issues that the cause the two chambers to differ.  Floor work has been largely spent on noncontroversial bills.  The big priorities for the Governor remain unfinished including bullying prevention and broadband expansion.  Below is a brief update on the status of legislation of interest to IMHCA members.


Suicide Prevention & Training

SF 2261 is in the Senate Appropriations Committee.  At this time, the bill has not been changed since it was introduced and IMHCA remains opposed to the bill in its current form.  Senator Liz Mathis has circulated an amendment that would replace the current bill language.  It continues to talk about trauma-informed care being delivered through school personnel.  Her latest proposal also creates a coordinator position with the Department of Education who would develop and disseminate materials to school personnel related to suicide prevention and postvention training and the integration of trauma informed care into the school system.  The amendment does not outline any qualifications or requirements for whom this person should be and provides $100,000 to cover the cost of this coordinator and the work associated with the position.


At this point, the proposed amendment is still unacceptable to IMHCA.  IMHCA is instead proposing that the debate be refocused on developing and providing training through the district’s professional development plan to help school personnel understand and identify the signs of students at risk of suicide, the appropriate steps to take to refer that student for additional care and evaluation and best practices for districts to employ should a suicide occur.  Other groups, including mental health professionals and education officials, are taking the same approach.


Legislative Day at the Capitol

Thanks to those of you who attended the legislative day at the Capitol.  It was a challenging afternoon as the House was not in session and the Senate spent much of the time in caucus.  Participants focused on laying the groundwork for the interim study committee that will review licensure status for the majority of the professions under the purview of the Iowa Department of Public Health and the effort that IMHCA will undertake with IAMFT to develop legislative proposals for next year to address mental health issues in children.

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