Iowa House Report – Thomas Gerhold – Feb. 3.


State Rep. Gerhold

It’s been a busy week under the golden dome in Des Moines, as House and Senate files are working their way through their appropriate sub-committees and full committees for the opportunity to be debated and voted on in front of the full House or Senate. Education funding is a top priority currently in order allow schools to set their budgets for next year.

House Republicans released their plan for increasing state funding to local schools and state aid to schools will rise again under the leadership of House Republicans. The House GOP plan provides an additional $107.75 million in new funding for the 2020-2021 school year.

For supplemental state aid (SSA), the House plan provides a 2.5 percent increase next year. This increases state funding by $94.7 million, raising the state aid appropriation to $3.386 billion in Fiscal Year 2021. The bill providing this increase is House Study Bill 587 in the House Education Committee.

Additionally, House Republicans will continue to build upon the promise to help rural schools with additional funding for transportation needs. It was House Republicans who developed the initial plan to help relieve the budget pressure high transportation costs place on rural schools two years ago.

The goal has been to make sure that school districts’ contributions to these costs do not exceed the statewide average for transportation costs. With this year’s House Republican plan, that goal is met. In the 2020-2021 school year, the state will contribute $26.25 million towards school transportation costs. This amounts to a $7.25 million increase in the state’s share. 204 school districts are projected to receive these funds.

Overall, the House Republican school funding plan means state funding to Iowa schools has risen $968.1 million since Fiscal Year 2011. That amounts to an increase of almost 40 percent over the decade, a commitment that shows Iowans that House Republicans have kept K-12 education as a central priority.

In health care, House File 2001 requires health insurers to reimburse for services provided through telehealth at the same rate as services provided in person. The state faces significant shortages in health care workforce, and this bill expands the options for a mental health provider to see a patient using modern technology, decreasing the time a patient waits to receive treatment.

Also, House File 2138 was developed based on conversations with constituents about the increased cost of prescription drugs, especially the cost of insulin and rationing that has occurred. The bill specifically limits the amount of out-of-pocket expense charged to the patient to $100 per 30-day supply of the prescription insulin drug. This includes all types of insulin (rapid, short, intermediate, and long-acting). Below are some links to the information on free or reduced pricing for the three insulin companies:

This week, it was great to see so many young people who will be the backbone of agriculture, including the FFA groups from Belle Plaine and Benton Community. It’s great to see so many students interested in agriculture!

Thanks, and be safe!

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