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Where are Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds’ legislative priorities now after the session?


With the Iowa Legislature adjourning for the year early Saturday morning, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ priorities saw marginal success, with some making it to the finish line and only a handful making cuts to legislative deadlines.

Early in the session, during her Condition of the State address in January, the governor laid out a bold policy agenda for lawmakers, with a top priority being reform of Iowa’s Area Education Agencies, which dominated much of the session. Lawmakers tried to wrap up the governor’s other priorities — and their own — in the final month of the session.

“Iowa is a state that values ​​education, rewards hard work and encourages strong families,” Reynolds said in a news release early Saturday morning. “I am proud of what we have accomplished this year and I look forward to building on our strong foundation, ensuring prosperity and stability for every Iowan.”

Mental health and substance abuse district realignment is on the governor’s desk

Iowa House Republicans on Thursday gave final approval to Reynolds’ proposal to realign the state’s mental health and disability services districts with the state’s substance abuse districts.

Reynolds’ revision outlined in House folder 2673 would consolidate Iowa’s 13 mental health and disability services regions and its 19 integrated provider networks into seven behavioral health districts.

The legislation will move disability services to the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services.

The condensation will streamline funding and priorities so that people with mental health and substance abuse disorders can receive care in one place instead of two.

The state will provide the Department of Health and Human Services with $1 million in administrative costs to transition to this setup.

Along with condensing these regions, the bill will eliminate the Tobacco Prevention and Control Commission and allocate $3 million to the Regional Stimulus Fund’s suicide and crisis hotline.

The bill is currently awaiting Reynolds’ signature to become law.

Postpartum Medicaid coverage expansion awaits Reynolds’ signature

Reynolds’ proposal to expand the length of time mothers and babies can receive benefits after birth is awaiting the governor’s signature after passing the Iowa House and Senate earlier this month.

The bill, Senate File 2251would lower the income threshold for eligibility but would expand coverage for mothers and babies after birth from 60 days to a full year.

According to a analysis by the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agencythe bill would make 1,300 mothers and 400 babies ineligible for coverage.

When signed into law, it will change the eligibility of postpartum Medicaid coverage for mothers and infants from 375 percent to 215 percent of the federal poverty level.

Reynolds’ goal to lower the board and committees across the finish line

Reynolds’ proposal to cut more than 100 Iowa boards and commissions was sent — in part — to the governor’s desk on Friday. Lawmakers approved the elimination of 67 of Iowa’s 256 boards and commissions, a much less ambitious version of the governor’s plan.

Iowa Senate lawmakers approved a bill that would eliminate 67 of Iowa’s 256 boards and commissions, including the State Child Care Advisory Committee and the Iowa Council on Homelessness.

The bill is part of Reynolds’ top priorities for this session, but the governor originally proposed eliminating or condensing more than a hundred boards and commissions.

The bill would reestablish the state Government Efficiency Review Committee and direct the committee to reassess Iowa’s boards and commissions after criticism of a hasty midterm review.

The bill now awaits the governor’s signature.

Reynolds AEA reform passed, signed into law

In January, Reynolds announced her plans to reform Iowa’s Area Education Agencies as she delivered her state address.

Initially, Reynolds’ plan was a complete overhaul of the agencies, planning to limit AEAs to providing special education services under the supervision of the Iowa Department of Education. Reynolds’ proposal allowed school districts to receive special education services from private providers, rather than requiring districts to receive services from AEAs.

She attributed the proposed reform to low assessment scores, causing special education to perform below the national average.

The proposal was met with outrage from Iowans across the state, as well as Democratic lawmakers. It wasn’t long before Reynolds amended the legislation, allowing AEAs to provide general education services to school districts upon request.

Reynolds’ proposed legislation moved slowly through the House and Senate while being amended. On March 27, Reynolds signed into law House File 2612which included the reform details of the AEAs, as well as an increase in teacher salaries and a 2.5 percent increase in school funding.

The legislation requires schools to receive special education services from AEAs; all special education funding will go to Iowa’s public school districts to contract the services, rather than going directly to the AEAs; School districts are required to donate 90 percent of special education funding, while the remaining 10 percent can be spent on third-party special education services.

Over-the-counter contraception, which funneled proposals for the definition of “woman” and “man.”

In January, Governor Reynolds introduced the proposal Home Study Act 642, which would allow pharmacists to provide medical director-regulated self-administered contraception to adult patients. Patients would be allowed to receive these birth control pills for up to 27 months before seeing a doctor if they wanted to continue.

The bill passed the House Health and Human Services Committee but was not brought to the floor before legislative deadlines.

Reynolds also proposed a bill that would define ‘woman’ and ‘man’ in Iowa encode use of biological functions such as ova or egg production.

The bill was passed by the House of Representatives Education Committee, but was not brought up for debate.

Liam Halawith contributed to this report.