The Iowa Legislature is not quite done for the year. Emily reported in our legislative update at the conference that we have a bit of a hold over school vouchers. While the legislators try to come to a consensus on this and other topics, we have some updates as well to bills we are watching.
A deal to conclude the legislative session is still elusive. However, two of the governor’s key priorities – biofuels and unemployment changes – appear to be resolved. This could set the stage for budget negotiations to start Yesterday, the Senate unanimously passed the bill to establish a mental health provider loan repayment program. The original Senate bill, SF 2195, created the loan repayment program for non-prescribing mental health providers (psychologists, mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists). The House had earlier passed their version of a mental health provider loan repayment program, HF 2549. The bill, as it passed the House, covered all mental health providers, including those with prescriptive authority such as psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses and psychiatric physician’s assistants.
HF 2549, as it passed the Senate, was amended to replace the original language with the language from SF 2195, focusing only on non-prescribing mental health providers. The bill returns to the House. The House can either concur with the Senate changes or reject it. The House feels very strongly that the loan repayment program should apply to all mental health providers so it is likely that this will have to be negotiated with the Senate. Either version is a win for us and hopefully the differences can be resolved.
Thank you for staying actively engaged in advocacy efforts!