By Senator Amy Sinclair
This week in the Senate we passed Senate Resolution 108. It recognized March 21 through March 27 as National Agriculture Week in Iowa. Iowa has 84,900 farms, of which over 90 percent are owned by families. We rank first nationally in the production of corn, hogs, and eggs, are a leader in the production of soybeans, and rank fourth nationally in the number of cattle and calves fed. With the agriculture industry making up such a large part of our state’s economy, it is important we recognize the hard work and achievements of those who produce our food, fuel and fiber. We wish a happy National Ag Week to all Iowans, and hope they take time to reflect on how agriculture provides safe, abundant, and affordable food every day.
House Joint Resolution 2005 passed the Senate this week. It continues the process of amending the state Constitution to modernize the line of succession for the offices of governor and lieutenant governor. In the event a sitting governor is unable to continue serving, under the proposal, the new governor would select a lieutenant governor to serve the remainder of the term. This better prepares Iowa to keep the governor’s office running effectively if a vacancy arises and clarifies language currently in the Constitution. To amend the Iowa Constitution, a proposal must pass two consecutive Iowa General Assemblies before it goes to the people of Iowa for a vote. This is the first session both the House and the Senate passed this resolution. If both chambers pass the same language in 2023 or 2024 it is eligible for a vote of the people to ratify the change.
The Senate also passed House File 2200 regarding direct health care agreements. Currently, law authorizes direct care agreements limited to “primary care health services,” defined as “health care services of the type provided at the time a patient seeks preventive care or first seeks health care services for a specific health concern.” The bill would expand eligible services to include any and all services for the diagnosis, prevention, treatment, cure, or relief of a health condition.
The bill would eliminate the current restrictions to primary care, and primary care providers. It would allow direct care agreements with specialists, and others, for services such as diagnosis, prevention, treatment, cure, or relief of a health condition, illness, injury, or disease. It also includes consumer protection measures, including notification requirements and a prohibition of discrimination due to preexisting conditions. This bill creates an alternative to the frequently frustrating cycle of modern health insurance and health care.
We are now entering the final “third” of the legislative session, which begins to focus on the upcoming year’s budget. The overall budget target will be just over $8.2 billion, and includes more than $150 million in increased spending on Iowa’s K-12 schools.
As we make progress through the legislative session and start closing in on the end, please feel free to reach out with any questions or comments on issues that are important to you or legislation that is being discussed.