Iowa House: Thomas Gerhold, March 21, 2022

Thomas Gerhold

Hello District 75 from the State Capitol!

This last week, the Iowa House passed three very important bills that will eventually promote more access to mental health care. House File 2529 appropriates funding for 12 new psychiatry residencies at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics per year. These psychiatry residents will receive their psychiatric training at the state MHIs, resource centers, Eldora state training school, and the Oakdale medical classification center. This bill also gives priority to Iowans who apply for these psychiatry residencies and hopefully keep Iowans in Iowa. Unfortunately, Iowa currently ranks 44th nationally for psychiatrists per capita.

HF2549 creates a mental health practitioner loan repayment program for Iowans that agree to practice in Iowa for at least 5 years. HF2546 requires the Department of Human Services to establish an appropriate compensation rate for psychiatric intensive care in Iowa. This is intended to compensate health care professionals for the most difficult mental health patients. These three bills passed almost unanimously and were sent to the senate for their consideration.

The Iowa House also amended and passed a Senate File to provide protections for landowners negotiating with CO2 pipeline projects in Iowa. This will ensure eminent domain cannot be used before March 1st, 2023. Landowners will get protection from potential eminent domain abuse, and the legislature will be in session next year if this needs further attention.

The laws for the use of ATVs and UTVs on county highways varies from county to county, so HF 2130 was passed in the Iowa House with bipartisan support to address this. This bill will create uniform county highway laws from county to county and riders are required to be 18 years old or older and have liability insurance. The ATVs and UTVs are required to have headlights, taillights, turn signals, and mirrors. The bill does grandfather existing authorizing ordinances and counties can prohibit on certain county roads if in agreement with the local ATV/UTV club. Also, cities are allowed to regulate the operation of registered ATVs & UTVs on streets controlled by the city and are prohibited from charging a fee within the city.

Our great state continues to have a strong economy! State revenues are expected to be $9.1711 billion through June 30th. This is $110.5 million higher than what the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) estimated in their meeting just last December! Our Taxpayer Relief Fund is expected to have a balance of over $2 billion at the end of fiscal year 2022.

Hope you have a safe and healthy week!

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