Hello District 84 from the State Capitol!
The Iowa House Legislature was pretty quiet this last week, as we did not have floor debate. However, the budget subcommittee chairs were busy hammering out the details of the state budget with the Senate counterparts, with total spending at 88.25% of ongoing revenue.
The budgets that have been agreed upon with the Senate Administration & Regulation, Agriculture & Natural Resources, Transportation, and Health & Human Services. These have all passed out of the House Appropriations committee. I’m including an image of the budget numbers for each committee to give you more info. The Iowa House Republicans have shown repeatedly over that last several years that we can balance the budget and address the concerns of Iowans, such as education, mental health care, and workforce initiatives.
For example, there is a $13 million increased state funding for mental health and substance abuse Medicaid rates. Combined with federal funding, this is over $35 million increase which will help recruit and retain mental health providers in Iowa. There is a $15 million increase in funding for Iowa’s nursing homes to help them with workforce, patients that need additional care, and closures. There is also funding for four annual family medicine obstetric fellowships every year, under the stipulation that they remain in Iowa in rural and underserved areas for 5 years after completing their fellowship.
Iowa House Republicans are also working on an issue with our three state universities, and that is “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” (DEI) policies. The regents in Iowa are spending at least $2 million in salaries on positions annually on campus. On the surface, this might sound like it is promoting fairness for all, but, in reality, it’s not. People with a conservative opinion are regularly silenced, even to the point of getting physical. Students who are more than qualified academically for example graduate work are rejected due to them not being ‘the right skin color, gender’, etc.
I know for a fact that very qualified students have been turned down to medical and dental school at the U of Iowa. Do we want a person accepted to medical or dental school based on their academic record, excellent past volunteering history and related job experience? Or should we base admission on their skin color, gender, or their stand on diversity issues? Everyone will suffer if it is based on DEI and not the best candidates academically, regardless of DEI. Here is a good article by Dr. Donald Macfarlane, professor of medicine at the UI: https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/iowa-view/2023/04/22/iowa-dei-uninterested-truth-race-nfl/70131694007 that I recommend reading. Iowa House Republicans are working to reign in these divisive and harmful policies.
We look to finish the session sometime this week so we all can go back to our regular daily lives and jobs.
I hope this finds you healthy, please be careful, and have a great week!