Lobbyist Update Week 1, 2024

Under the Golden Dome

The Iowa Legislature is back in action for the 2024 legislative session. This is a “short” year for the legislature which means the session is supposed to last only 100 days, adjourning on April 16. Based on past experience, the trifecta of Republican control has not been able to adjourn sine die within the statutory timeframe.

Governor Reynolds gave her condition of the state speech on Tuesday night, outlining both her policy and budget priorities. At the top of the list for the Governor and House and Senate Republicans is accelerating the income tax reductions. All three seem to want to act on this very quickly but the sticking point of which year to make this acceleration effective may delay that. The Governor and Senate Republicans want to reduce income taxes effective for the 2024 year and House Republicans want those to become effective for the 2025 tax year.

Governor Reynolds did propose allowing for 12-months post-partum coverage under Medicaid.  However, she limits this coverage to those making less than $42,000 per year.  The legislature may have something to say about that (see bills of interest).  There was no other mention of mental health in her address.


School Safety – Perry School Shooting

The events at Perry High School on January 4 have generated a lot of attention and discussion.  From a public policy standpoint, House Speaker Grassley said that their focus will be to provide additional supports for school safety and for mental health services.  In the aftermath of Perry, the mental health team at the Heartland Area Education Agency, was on site providing services to students, families and the entire Perry Community.  I mention this because the mental health services provided to schools through the area education agencies is critical, particularly in areas of the state where there are few, if any mental health providers.  Governor Reynolds has proposed a significant change to the AEAs which will eliminate the role they play in hiring and providing mental health services to our public and nonpublic schools.


Iowa Mental Health Counselors Day on the Hill

Join other mental health professionals on February 20 for the annual Day on the Hill.   There are two different opportunities to participate.  For those practitioners who are in the Central Iowa area but can’t commit an entire day, IMHCA is holding a legislative breakfast at the Capitol from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

A more in-depth legislative briefing and advocacy training will begin at 10:00 a.m. following by time on at the Capitol visiting with legislators.  Here’s the link to register:



Bills of Interest

HSB 500:  This bill extends Medicaid coverage for post-partum care to 12 months.  It does not include any income limitations.  The bill is before the House Health and Human Services Committee.  IMHCA is registered in support.

HSB 501:  This bill places time limits on review of Medicaid claims to no more than 24 months unless fraud or misrepresentation is alleged.

HSB 502:  This bill requires DHHS to institute a tiered reimbursement rate for psychiatric medical institutions for children.   The bill is before the House Health and Human Services Committee and was approved for full committee consideration this week.  IMHCA is registered undecided because it is unclear if the rate increase is to be budget neutral and what impact that could have on other reimbursement rates.

HSB 511/SSB 3011: These bills would allow the release of psychological test materials to the opposing counsel if the litigation included a question of the individual’s cognitive ability.   This provides an open door to making it easier to get all mental health records during litigation.  The bills are in their respective chambers Judiciary Committees.  IMHCA is registered opposed to both bills.


Addendum from IMHCA

SF297: This bill also caught IMHCA’s eye and we will be tracking it as well. This bill would expand religious protection for healthcare providers and allow healthcare providers to deny certain care to patients based on the healthcare provider’s personal religious beliefs.