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Wow! US News and World Report Ranks Iowa the Best State in America. Most of us already thought Iowa was number one, now we have legit bragging rights. Iowa is a great place to live, work, raise a family, and/or grow a business. The rankings included all 50 states and compiled 77 metrics with thousands of data points.

The second funnel week is next week, so we have been debating bills every day. All policy bills must pass out of one chamber to remain eligible this year. House Republicans are advancing common sense legislation to move Iowa forward. We addressed the needs of rural schools transportation costs with the passing of SF 455. This bill provides $11.2 million to bring maximum transportation cost for districts down to $432 per student. It also provides $2.9 million towards the pupil equity issue. HF 2199 will help protect Iowans from card skimming (using a device to read credit card/debit card information and steal money) by penalizing criminals with the device. With limited access to a doctor in many rural areas, HF 2305 had expanded insurance coverage to telehealth services. Telehealth would allow an Iowan to speak with, visually see, and be treated by a doctor using audio/visual technology.

This week, the House passed legislation to combat the opioid epidemic in Iowa. Opioid addiction and abuse has infiltrated every state and is having a devastating impact on many families and communities. This bill will make a difference and save lives by accomplishing three main goals: 1) Prevent doctor shopping, 2) Reduce overprescribing, and 3) Support Iowans that are suffering from an addiction.

The Iowa House passed a historic mental health bill on a widely bipartisan vote. The bill addresses many of the gaps we currently have in our mental health system. This legislation strengthens Iowa’s regional mental health system, ensuring access to services near families and in their home communities. The bill creates ne short-term access centers, ensures long-term sustainable resources, and returns mental health care determinations to medical professionals, instead of judges and law enforcement officers.

I was fortunate to have many visitors this week. Lucas Nelson, from St. Ansgar, Diana Roberts, from Cresco, and FFA group from Osage (Kevin Sprung, Madi Saltau, Brendt & Paige Warrington, Rodney Koch, and Ken Kroneman), Shea Kruger Jorgenson, originally from Grafton, and Kyle Teeling, from Cresco. It is always a bonus when people come to the Capitol and I appreciate the effort people make to drive to Des Moines and spend time with discussing a variety of issues.

As always, please feel free to contact me anytime at jane.bloomingdale@legis.iowa.gov

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Regional Editor

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