Gov Reynolds, Lt Gov Gregg reflect on 2018 legislative session

DES MOINES – Gov. Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg released statements Saturday reflecting on an opportunity-focused 2018 legislative session that achieved every objective outlined by the governor in her Condition of the State address in January.

Watch Gov. Reynolds’ statement on the 2018 legislative session here.

Statement from Gov. Reynolds:

“I laid out a bold vision for Iowa in my Condition of the State address back in January. I shared my desire to unleash opportunity across our great state. And I proposed solutions to problems plaguing some of our most vulnerable citizens. Because of sincere, collaborative, bipartisan action, I am proud to say the 2018 legislative session was one marked by major accomplishments – one that put Iowans first.

“We passed historic tax reform that – coupled with tax reform at the federal level – will bring significant relief to middle-class families, small business owners, workers and farmers.

“We created affordable health plans for those priced out of the individual insurance market by Obamacare.

“We reaffirmed our commitment to compassionate mental health care with a new law that identifies and addresses the gaps in our state’s mental health system.

“We intervened with a new law to save lives and combat opioid addiction and the opioid epidemic.

“We protected life from first heartbeat on.

“We passed the Future Ready Iowa Act and are getting Iowans needed skills for rewarding careers.

“And we took a significant step in the right direction as we work to make a positive impact on water quality in our state.

“The majority of these achievements took Republicans and Democrats reaching across the aisle to listen and find common ground. The result? A solid foundation for building a better Iowa.

“Yes, we accomplished a lot. No, we’re not finished. There’s still much work to be done before we can pass on to our children an Iowa that’s even better than the one we inherited.”

Statement from Lt. Gov. Gregg:

“Because of action taken this legislative session, Iowans across the state have access to opportunities that previously didn’t exist.

“Our administration was able to reduce the tax burden on Iowa taxpayers; lower the cost of healthcare for thousands of small business owners, workers and farmers; fix gaps in our mental health system for Iowans with mental illness; combat the opioid epidemic and potentially save the lives of Iowans battling addiction; protect life; train Iowans while fully funding and protecting our schools; and improve water quality. We did this all while maintaining a balanced budget.

“I commend Gov. Reynolds and the Iowa Legislature on a session marked by bipartisan reforms to improve the lives of Iowans today and build a better Iowa of tomorrow.”

2018 Legislative Accomplishments

Tax reform
“Republicans led on tax reform in 2018. As a result, hardworking, middle class Iowa families, farmers, small business owners and workers get meaningful relief, all while Iowa’s budget priorities in future years are protected.”

Senate File 2417 modernizes Iowa’s outdated tax code by:
● prioritizing Iowa’s hardworking, middle class families
● reducing rates and eliminating federal deductibility, making Iowa’s tax code more competitive and transparent
● dramatically simplifying Iowa’s overly complicated tax code
● ensuring fairness for Main Street businesses in the modern economy
● protecting budget sustainability in future years

Health plans
“Obamacare killed Iowa’s previously healthy individual insurance market. It isn’t affordable, it isn’t sustainable and it just doesn’t work. Right before we took office, the last of our nine carriers left the state. That meant no options for Iowa farmers, small business owners and their employees. We are proud of lawmakers for finding an affordable solution to offer health plans to 26,000 Iowans who can’t pay for insurance.”

Senate File 2349 creates affordable health plan options for Iowans who can’t afford to buy health insurance by:
● giving small employers the ability to band together to create affordable health care options
● allowing Farm Bureau to build a self-funded health benefit arrangement

Mental health
“It’s not enough to simply care for Iowans with mental illness. It must be done with compassion. We’re proud of the unanimous, bipartisan effort to pass both a comprehensive mental health bill and a teen suicide prevention bill. Together, they’re a positive step forward in identifying and addressing the gaps in our state’s complex mental health system.”

House File 2456 continues the modernization of Iowa’s mental health system that began in 2013 by:
● creating access centers providing short-term care for those in crisis
● creating assertive community treatment (ACT) teams to provide individualized in-home treatment and support to individuals with mental illness
● providing comprehensive crisis services, including a 24-hour crisis hotline, mobile response and crisis stabilization services
● providing intensive residential service homes to individuals with severe and persistent mental illness

Senate File 2113 begins the process of addressing mental health in Iowa’s schools by:
● requiring training for educators to recognize the signs of a mental health crisis
● requiring protocols for suicide prevention

Executive Order No. 2 creates a Children’s Mental Health Board to take a comprehensive look at current resources and develop a plan and recommendations to implement a children’s mental health system.

Opioids
“We cannot overlook addiction and the havoc it wreaks on Iowans across this state. With bipartisan support from the Legislature, we are working to combat the opioid epidemic by reducing incidents of doctor shopping and overprescribing.”

House File 2377 takes common-sense steps to curb overprescribing by:
● utilizing the prescription monitoring program (PMP), including creating a funding mechanism and requiring registration and usage
● allowing proactive notification to recognize patients at high risk for abuse and addiction
● requiring electronic prescribing to eliminate fraud
● allowing licensing boards to assess penalties for providers who overprescribe
● prohibiting addictive prescriptions from being filled more than six months after the date prescribed and from being refilled
● providing immunity from criminal liability for those who call 911 to seek help for someone who has overdosed on drugs

Protecting life
“I believe that all innocent life is precious and sacred, and as governor, I pledged to do everything in my power to protect it. If death is determined when a heart stops beating, then doesn’t a beating heart indicate life? For me, it is immoral to stop an innocent beating heart. For me, it is sickening to sell fetal body parts. For me, my faith leads me to protect every Iowan, no matter how small.”

Senate File 359 bans the selling of fetal body parts and prohibits abortions, with limited exceptions, after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Senate File 360 extends the age of a newborn infant under the Newborn Safe Haven Act from 14 days to 30 days of age or younger. The bill also allows for a parent to relinquish physical custody through a first responder who responds to a 911 telephone call instead of only at a hospital.

Future Ready Iowa
“The careers of tomorrow are being created today, and Iowa needs to be ready. Future Ready Iowa builds a place where high demand jobs link directly to a skilled workforce. It creates opportunities for all Iowans to have a rewarding career, right here in our state. We’re excited the Iowa House and Senate agreed and passed the bill unanimously.”

House File 2458 establishes a series of programs to train skilled workers in Iowa by:
● establishing an apprenticeship program for high-demand jobs
● creating a volunteer mentor program
● creating a summer internship program for at-risk youth
● using an Iowa Employer Innovation Fund to expand educational opportunities
● establishing a skilled workforce grant program
● providing more funds for high school students to take community college classes

K-12 education
“We’re committed to Iowa’s children because Iowa’s children are Iowa’s future. No one can truthfully dispute that Iowa puts its money where its mouth is. This year, we invested a record amount of dollars in our K-12 schools. Only three other states have increased K-12 funding at a faster rate than Iowa.

“But having the best education possible is pointless if our children don’t feel safe at school. That’s why we worked with legislators to create new laws to protect them – in the classroom, in the hallway, on the playground, in the lunchroom.”

Senate File 2364 creates high-quality emergency plans in all Iowa schools.

House File 2467 ends “lunch shaming” for school lunch debt.

Water quality
“Improving Iowa’s water quality is a shared goal of all Iowans. That’s why I was thrilled the first bill I signed as governor focused on water quality. Senate File 512 makes significant and generational investments in science-based programs to improve Iowa’s water quality and scale-up proven practices. This innovative approach prioritizes collaboration between both urban and rural stakeholders, so that together as Iowans, we protect our waterways and conserve our soil.

“Like I said my Condition of the State address, passing Senate File 512 now allows us to ignite further innovation and conversations to improve water quality. To that end, I am pleased the Legislature also passed House File 2440. This bill continues the momentum to scale water quality projects by bringing more partners to the table.”

Senate File 512 provides a long-term, dedicated and growing revenue source to help fund and scale best practices through the already successful Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

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