IOWA HOUSE: Thomas Gerhold, March 15, 2021

Thomas Gerhold

Hello District 75 from the State Capitol!

The Iowa Legislature returned to debating bills this last week post-funnel week. We passed 67 bills, with 52 by unanimous vote, and the remaining 15 being by overwhelming majority. This shows we are able to agree on many issues.

A couple of the bills we passed last week continue to address the issues parents have with finding available day care centers. House File 606 will create more tax incentives for employers to develop onsite day care sites for employers. HF 712 offers more incentives for developers to build more day care centers. These bills, if signed into law will promote economic growth for Iowa families and raise the standard of living for everyone!

Mental health was a topic the legislators heard about while campaigning last year, and the Iowa House passed two more bills on this matter. We passed HF 294, which requires health insurers to reimburse for mental health services provided via telehealth at the same rate as services provided in person. There are at least 10 other states that have this.

HF 773 creates a statewide study of Iowa’s mental health services to identify opportunities to help better serve those with mental illness. This also is the first step in requesting an 1115 Waiver from the federal government which would provide additional funds for services to treat mental illness.

We also passed unanimously two bills that support victims of sexual assault. HF 426 creates a tracking system for sexual abuse evidence kits. These kits will be tracked until no longer needed. The bill also requires a sexual assault victim to be notified if a possible DNA match is made on a suspect.

HF 603 creates the Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner Program which will train, certify, and provide technical assistance to certain medical professionals on how to provide medical forensic services including the sexual assault abuse kits.

The Covid-19 numbers continue to gradually improve in Iowa, with positive tests, hospitalizations, patients in ICU, patients on ventilators, and deaths all continuing to gradually go down. This is wonderful, considering where the numbers were last November. We are fortunate and thankful that there are very few people at the State House that has contracted it since the start of session on January 11. Keep up the great work, Iowa!

Stay safe and healthy out there!

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