Legislative update WEEK 1 2021

Hello and welcome to the first legislative update! We will have weekly updates throughout the legislative session. First day back was Monday, January 11, 2021. It has been a busy week.

We will start with the Governor’s budget highlights and a review of the Governor’s condition of state given on Tuesday, January 12, 2021. There was language for mental health items as well as information specific to telehealth.

The link to the whole bill is here:   https://www.legis.iowa.gov/publications/fiscal/budgetAnalysis

Here are some of the highlights:

  • The 99 percent expenditure limitation for FY 2022 (after revenue adjustments) is $8.367 billion. The Governor recommends net general fund spending of $8.109 billion, which is 97 percent of available revenue. The Governor also recommends removing the income tax revenue triggers for the 2018 tax bill in Tax Year 2023, which reduces revenue in Fiscal Year 2023 by $157 million.
  • The Governor is recommending $41 million in supplemental spending for FY 2021. This includes $21 million for the Workday human resources system (which was originally paid for with federal CARES Act dollars) and $20 million for schools for in-person learning to fund a grant program facilitated by the Department of Education for school districts that have provided the option of 100.0% in-person learning for the 2020-2021 school year. This is the first year in many that a supplemental appropriation for Medicaid was not needed.
  • On the revenue adjustment side of the ledger, the Governor recommends an increase in the annual amount available under the Workforce Housing Tax Incentive Program. The annual amount would be raised from the current level of $25.0 million to $50.0 million. In addition, the Governor is recommending that the allocation within the Program to small cities be increased from $10.0 million per year to $20.0 million per year. This change is estimated to have a $7.7 million negative impact on revenues in FY 2022.
  • The Governor is recommending an increase in the maximum income limits applicable to the Early Childhood Development (ECD) and the Child and Dependent Care (CDC) Tax Credits. The current maximum income limit for each tax credit is $45,000. The Governor is recommending a maximum income limit of $90,000 effective beginning tax year 2021.
  • The Governor is recommending an increase of $330 million for FY 2022. That largest appropriations break down as follows: Three-Year Broadband Grants $ 150 million, Medicaid 21.9 million, State Foundation School Aid (2.50% growth) 20.1 million, Regents Institutions 15 million (with an additional $15 million in FY 2023), MHDS Regional Services 15 million (with an additional $15 million in FY 2023) – $5 million to the Department of Human Services for field operations.

Here is the language from the speech on MH and telehealth

Like this past year, when we watched healthcare in Iowa transform from a collection of competing hospitals and clinics to a single statewide healthcare system committed to collaborating for the sake of all Iowans.

As we move forward, let’s build on this collaborative and innovative spirit. In my budget, I’m proposing $1 million to encourage hospitals and clinics to start what’s called a Center of Excellence. It’s a program that aligns rural physicians with specialists, creating regional hubs that provide highly-skilled care closer to where patients and their primary-care providers live.

Whether you’re dealing with the trauma of an accident or the joy of childbirth, it’s not just the quality of the team that matters—it’s the proximity. I want a better system of care for all Iowans, regardless of where they live.

I also want to be sure that when Iowans call 911 for an emergency, there’s a quick response. I know members in this chamber are already working on a bill to improve rural EMS services; I look forward to working with you this session.

We must also continue our focus on mental health. While the virus threatened our physical wellbeing, the realities of last year placed unimaginable stress on so many Iowans. Seniors were isolated from friends and loved ones; kids were kept out of the classroom and away from the stability it provides; and thousands of Iowans had their livelihoods turned upside down.

In the last three years, we have reformed our mental health system and we’re continuing to make it better. I’m proposing to increase mental health funding by $15 million this year, and another $15 million next year, to fully fund those reform efforts. And I know that our mental health regions are working on innovative solutions to address the unique needs of children who have been affected by the pandemic.

And because of the legislation we passed last year, which allows schools to host behavioral health sessions by using telehealth services, kids no longer have to leave school for hours to receive quality treatment.

That’s a lesson many of us learned over the last ten months: telehealth is a powerful tool that we should continue to encourage and expand. And it’s not just for mental health. Thousands of Iowans experienced it first-hand this year, receiving treatment and check-ups from their own home.


Here is the bill watch list for the week:

Bills & Rules Watch
Generated Date: 01/14/2021 01:41 PM
Collection: IMHCA 2021
Note Name Title
Music Therapists-UNDECIDED HSB 61 A bill for an act relating to professional standards for the certification or designation of music therapists and providing penalties.
Bed Tracking-Undecided-no one has registered HF 54 A bill for an act relating to the inpatient psychiatric bed tracking system.
Psychology interjurisdictional-undecided SF 78 A bill for an act adopting the psychology interjurisdictional compact.
Music Therapists-UNDECIDED SF 9 A bill for an act relating to professional standards for the certification or designation of music therapists and providing penalties.
Certificate of need-undecided. Broadlawns is undecided SF 4 A bill for an act relating to the elimination of the certificate of need process relating to the development of a new or changed institutional health service.


Provided by:

Renee Schulte, LMHC Consultant