IOWA HOUSE: Thomas Gerhold, March 1, 2021

Hello District 75 from the State Capitol!

Thomas Gerhold

The legislators had another busy week under the golden dome, as the first funnel week ends on March 5th. We passed several important bills that will have an effect on almost everyone.

One of the important ones passed unanimously is House File 562, which will establish more ways to fund Emergency Medical Services. This bill is very important in the rural areas where the closest EMS can be many miles and response time for emergencies can be critical.

House File 528 will help get flu and COVID vaccinations to the public faster by allowing dentists to prescribe and administer these vaccines after they complete a minimum of four hours of training accepted by the Iowa Health Information Network. Dental Hygienists and assistants are prohibited from administering these vaccines.

House File 524 addresses situations of people leaving the scene of an accident that caused injury or death. If a person caused an accident and injures someone and then leaves, they must report immediately. Failure to do so can result in a Class D felony charge, and if a victim dies the charge can be a Class C felony, among other possible charges.

We also passed Senate File 413, which deals with the integrity of elections. Even though Iowa had one of the better run elections in the U. S., our elections still need to be revised a little bit. There were a few County Auditors who tried to skirt the law by mailing pre-filled absentee ballot forms. The bill also shortens the absentee ballot request period from 120 days to 70 days. The bill shortens the mailing period for absentee ballots from 29 days to 20 days. The bill also prohibits ballot harvesting, pre-filled absentee ballot request forms, and prohibits county auditors from mailing ballot requests unsolicited. It also cleans up voter registrations by having counties participate in the USPS national change of address program.

A couple weeks ago I neglected to say we passed House File 263. This bill limits the amount charged to a patient receiving insulin at $100 for a month’s supply that’s covered by their health insurance plan. These prices have been rising this year, and a few are about $500.

A special thanks to Ray Richardson of Atkins for visiting with me when he attended the Iowa Firearms Coalition’s annual 2nd Amendment Day at the Capitol. Our state motto goes hand in hand with the 2nd Amendment: “Our liberties we prize, and our rights we will maintain”!

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