The Segebart Report
Friday, April 20 2018
This session shows signs of ending soon. The committees working the hardest right now are Ways and Means and Appropriations.
This week we honored four members of the Senate who are retiring this year: Wally Horn (D) Cedar Rapids who had served for 46 years, Bob Dvorsky (D) Coralville who served for 24 years, Rick Bertrand (R) from Sioux City, and Mark Chelgren (R) from Ottumwa. Both Rick and Mark have spent the last eight years as members of the Iowa Senate. All will be greatly missed. It was fun to hear the many comments from both sides of the aisle for these four members. They were highly respected by both parties.
Annette Sweeney was sworn in on Monday of this week to the Iowa Senate to represent Senate District 25. She was a former member of the House and will join Amy Sinclair as the second Republican woman in the Iowa Senate.
The Segebart Report
Monday, April 16, 2018
Floor debate was slow this week because bills are bouncing back and forth between the chambers. The House is moving on their tax reform bill, so next week holds promise to get us over that hurdle. Next Tuesday is the last planned day of this the second year of the 87th General Assembly of the Iowa Legislature. Tax reform is high on the agenda for this year, because of Republicans’ holding both chambers and the governor’s office, which is a rare occurrence. Because tax reform determines what revenue will be for next year, targets are still not out for budget committees to use to plan the next year’s spending. This will take up most of our time during the next week or weeks.
The Senate passed a resolution on Thursday to celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of Dr. Peggy Whitson. She is from Mount Ayr and has spent more time living and working in space than any other American. She has spent more than 665 days over three different missions aboard the International Space Station. Having her visit us in the Senate was an honor and we are grateful we could recognize her in this way.
We continue our work in the Legislature on behalf of Iowans. Much of our work this week happened off the Senate floor as we work on bigger issues, such as tax reform and the budget for the next fiscal year. We had some floor debate, but we are mainly focused on what we can do to finish this legislative session. As we work through these issues, please keep in touch about the issues important to you and any questions you may have.
The Segebart Report
Friday, April 6, 2018
This week drew us closer to the end of this session. The Human Services budget starts in the Senate this year. The Appropriations Committee continues to work on budget discussions as we look at tax reform for Iowans. I think we will release our budget proposal soon.
The biggest bill for the week was passed Wednesday evening and dealt with sanctuary cities. It only affects a person arrested for criminal activity. It would require law enforcement to extend a hold for up to an extra 48 hours if an Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer is received. I voted for the bill. The bill only applies to cities and counties. The penalty is a withholding of state funds that may be owed by
the state to the city or the county. If the individual is released before ICE picks them up, the city or county would be liable for any other crimes committed by the offender.
I supported the idea that a wall should have been built 6 years ago and that a path to citizenship be established only after we have stopped the flow of illegal immigration in our country. The sooner Congress can fix this problem the better. Federal action is the best way to solve this issue.
The Senate also passed House File 2467, which allows schools to offset school meal debt at the end of every year if the school has made reasonable efforts to collect the debt. Schools will also be required to provide notice twice per school year on how to apply for Free and Reduced Lunch. Under this bill, schools will be encouraged to provide a reimbursable meal and prohibited from any activities publicly identifying students with a lunch debt. This bill will provide schools a mechanism to collect debt while ensuring students with a negative balance are not singled out in front of their peers.
As we work through these final weeks, please contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I currently serve as the chair on the Human Resources Committee, and serve on the Agriculture, Local Government, and Veterans Affairs Committees. Additionally, I am the vice chair of the Health and Human Services Budget Subcommittee. Please feel free to contact me at 515-281-3371 or by email at email@example.com.
It is an honor to be your senator.
The Segebart Report
Friday, March 30, 2018
The Falcons have returned to the capitol. The Eagles and Robbins are back in Vail. Dairy Queen is open. All signs of spring. It is a Good Friday. This week has been filled with floor debate. Today the Governor has signed four bills from Humans Resources Committee or that I sponsored individually. A great feeling! Following is a list of bills that have made it to the Governor or were passed out of the Senate last week.
ALCOHOL IMPORT REFORMS: State Government: SF 2347; Passed: 47-1; TO THE GOVERNOR
This bill, as amended and passed in the House on March 22, 2018, increases to nine liters the allowable quantity of alcoholic liquor an individual may bring into Iowa for personal consumption (and eliminates the quantity distinction between imports from within or outside the U.S.), provided that it must be personally obtained and not direct-shipped. The bill adds provisions allowing persons of legal age to bring into the state up to 4.5 gallons of beer and up to 9 liters of wine per month for personal consumption. The bill would allow the Division to adopt rules for one-time quantity limit waivers for people moving to Iowa. It would strike from the definition of “bootlegger” the phrase “by gift or otherwise,” referring to the conduct of keeping, carrying, or leaving for another with intent to sell or dispense in violation of law. Finally, as passed by the Senate, the bill would also provide that bootlegging is an aggravated misdemeanor, unless done by someone under age (a serious misdemeanor). As amended in the House, the bill would provide that a first violation is a simple misdemeanor, and a second or subsequent violation is a serious misdemeanor.
S-5181 was passed on a voice vote. This amendment is the same as the House amendment modifying the provision defining the seriousness of violations and penalties therefor, and adding “per month” to the permitted liquor import quantity.
ASSOCIATION HEALTH PLANS: Commerce: SF 2349; Passed: 37-11; TO THE GOVERNOR
This bill that will remove the current time restrictions on the creation of association health plans, also known as multiple employer welfare arrangements, or MEWAs. Additionally this bill will require the Insurance Commissioner to adopt rules that are consistent with the U.S. Department of Labor’s regulations in 29 C.F.R. part 2510. This language is in this bill so Iowans can have the benefit of the new proposed rules being considered at the federal level. These rules propose to remove a lot of the restrictions that will allow employers to more easily band together for the purposes of obtaining health insurance. This bill, as amended, also contains the Farm Bureau health benefit plan language.
S-5178 from the house was adopted on a voice vote. This amendment was a strike after amendment that contained the MEWA bill (SF 2349) and the Farm Bureau bill (SF 2329). After adoption of this amendment, SF 2349 contains both legislative proposals.
SCHOOL PROGRAM FUNDING: Education: HF 2441; Passed: 46-0; BACK TO THE HOUSE
This bill, as amended, repurposes the Early Intervention Supplement and specifies that these funds may be used for general fund purposes. This will provide more flexibility in how our schools get to use their dollars. The bill also provides flexibility relating to At-Risk and Dropout
Prevention funds, Professional Development funds, and Student Activity Funds by removing the Department of Education from the approval process for At-Risk and Dropout Prevention plan adoption and giving local school boards authority to develop the plans that meet their needs.
S-5146 by Senator Sinclair passed unanimously on a voice vote. This amendment changes some of the dates in the bill to ensure schools know their certified enrollment prior to submitting its application for modified supplemental amounts. It also clarifies that the carry forward from the fiscal year will be used when determining the eligible modified supplemental amount. Finally, it eliminates an inconsistency in the bill relating to the reason the school budget review committee could return an application for modification.
EMT REIMBURSEMENT DRAWDOWN: Human Resources: HF 2285; Passed: 47-0; TO THE GOVERNOR
This bill directs the Department of Human Services, by July 1, 2018, to submit a state plan amendment to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of the United States Department of Health and Human Services to request authorization to establish and administer a methodology to provide supplemental reimbursement to eligible ground emergency medical transportation providers. Supplemental reimbursements provided by the program shall be available only for the uncompensated care costs incurred by eligible ground emergency medical transportation providers. Effective upon enactment.
DIRECT PRIMARY CARE: Human Resources: HF 2356; Passed: 47-2; TO THE GOVERNOR
This bill allows direct primary care to be provided in Iowa and provides certain requirements for a patient and provider to enter into a direct primary care agreement. Under this bill, a health care provider can enter into a direct primary care agreement with a patient and family to provide preventative and curative health care for the patient and family as stipulated in the agreement.
MENTAL HEALTH PROGRAMS: Human Resources: HF 2456; Passed: 49-0; TO THE GOVERNOR
This bill builds on Iowa’s community-based mental health system and decreases fragmentation of services to improve care by:
- Expanding services along the continuum of care to include evidence-based preventative services to deescalate mental health patients before crisis and to treat patients in the proper setting;
- Removing the statewide sub-acute bed cap, and allowing these facilities to transition individuals to a lower level of care before they are prepared to return home;
- Ensuring long-term sustainable funding for mental health services as Medicaid covered services;
- Improving communication and processes between mental health professionals and law enforcement to prevent long-distance trips across the state; and
- Allowing mental health providers, rather than judges, to make mental health care determinations in the least restrictive environment.
IOWA 2nd AMENDMENT PROVISION: Judiciary: HJR 2009 (Substituted for SJR 2009); Passed: 34-15; TO THE GOVERNOR
Iowa is one of only a handful of states that do not guarantee firearm rights in their state constitution. This Joint Resolution does that. The language will read as follows:
“The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The sovereign state of Iowa affirms and recognizes this to be a fundamental individual right. Any and all restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”
S-5173 was defeated by a record roll call vote of 21-28. The amendment would have replaced the above language with that of the federal 2nd Amendment.
SUICIDE AWARENESS: Education: SF 2113 ; Passed: 49-0 ; TO THE GOVERNOR
This bill, as amended, requires school boards to adopt rules requiring annual, evidence-based training on suicide awareness, suicide prevention, and ways to identify adverse childhood experiences for all school personnel holding a license, certificate, authorization, or statement of recognition from the Board of Educational Examiners and who has regular contact with students. The training will also include ways to mitigate toxic stress response.
S-5143 by the House passed unanimously on a voice vote. This amendment changes the training from being upon renewal of a license to being an annual training. The amendment also adds training on adverse childhood experiences and ways to mitigate toxic stress response.
FY 2018 DEAPPROPRIATIONS BILL: Appropriations: SF 2117; Passed: 28-21; TO THE GOVERNOR
Senate File 2117 addresses a mid-year budget shortfall of $34.7 million by making deappropriations, supplemental appropriations, and one-time revenue transfers.
The original bill as it came out of the Appropriations Committee cut a net total of $50.0 million from the General Fund for FY 18. It also cut $7.0 million from the High Quality Jobs Program and transferred the money into the General Fund. At this time we expected an increase of $11.2 million in revenues from the federal tax bump due to federal deductibility. These things combined resulted in an ending balance of $33.5 million for FY 18.
After corresponding with Iowans across the state through emails, telephone calls and forums, the cuts were reduced by just over $18.1 million to $31.9 million in net cuts to the General Fund on the Senate Floor. At this time the cut and transfer of High Quality Jobs money to the General Fund increased from $7.0 million to $10.0 million. In addition, the Revenue Estimating Conference met informally and increased their estimated revenue from the federal tax bump from $11.2 million to $33.0 million. The combination of these things resulted in net budget cuts of $31.9 million from the General Fund and an ending balance of $40.2 million as the bill left the Chamber.
In the House Appropriations Committee the bill was struck and replaced with the House version of the bill. While the Senate cut a net total of $31.9 million, the House cut $20.5 million. While the Senate ending balance was $40.2 million, the House ending balance was $28.8 million.
Before hitting the House Floor, the Senate, the House and the Governor’s Office reached a compromise. The compromise involved increasing the House cuts by $2.8 million, which was ultimately added to the cuts to Iowa and Iowa State, and striking language regarding an exception to the 90 day look back for nursing homes in Medicaid. This issue will be dealt with in the upcoming budget. In addition, the Governor’s transfer language was retained, a provision of the bill regarding Ground Emergency Medical Transports was struck (since the language was passed in a separate bill) and an agreement was made to not shorten legislative per diem. Senate Amendment S-5172 contains that compromise.
S-5172 by the House – The Senate concurred in the House amendment by voice vote. The bill as amended cut a net total of $23.3 million from the General Fund for FY 18. This included cuts of $25.5 million and supplemental appropriations totaling $2.2 million. The bill also cut $10.0 million from the High Quality Jobs Fund and transferred the money into the General Fund. This, combined with $28.4 million in revenues from the federal tax cuts due to federal deductibility in Iowa and increased revenues of $4.9 million from the March REC, addresses the budget shortfall of $34.7 million and maintains an ending balance of $31.9 million for FY 18.
Other provisions of the bill include:
- State agencies are to work with the Department of Management to implement the reductions and have 15 days from enactment of the bill to do so
- Maximum flexibility is given to state agencies to implement the reductions, allowing them to reduce standing appropriations and allocations with certain exceptions.
Cuts are explicitly prohibited in the following areas, University of Northern Iowa, State Troopers, benefits to Medicaid recipients, non-public school transportation funding, funding for victim assistance grants
- The bill appropriates $13.0 million from the Economic Emergency Fund to the General Fund in lieu of the standing appropriation that occurred after the Governor issued a proclamation September 28, 2017 and the Department of Management transferred money from the Economic Emergency Fund to the General Fund to close the books and balance the budget for FY 17. The appropriation made in this bill is retroactive to this time.
- The bill also then corrects confusing, ambiguous, outdated language in the Code to match the intent of allowing the Governor to use Economic Emergency Funds to balance the budget and close the books when the General Fund is negative and the Legislature is not in Session. The appropriation from the Economic Emergency Fund shall not exceed 1% of the adjusted revenue estimate for the fiscal year in which the appropriation is made and is contingent upon 2 things occurring: o The balance in the General Fund must be negative
o The Governor must issue an official proclamation and notify the Legislative Fiscal Committee and the LSA that the balance of the General Fund is negative and an appropriation is needed to bring the fund into balance.
It is an honor to be your senator.
The Segebart Report
Friday, March 23, 2018
Weeks seem to be flying by. We finished the bulk of our work for this week on Wednesday after a long debate on the amendment to the Iowa Constitution simliar to the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. We also passed a new mental health bill, HF2456. This bill sets a plan for regions to follow to provide mental health services.
I also had the honor of recommending the appointment of Jerry Foxhoven as Director of the Department of Human Services this week. He was confirmed by a vote of 38 to 11. He has been the director since last June when he was appointed by Governor Kim Reynolds. He has excellent qualifications and a heart for the job.
The Senate and House have come to an agreement on the bill we need to pass in order to balance our budget for the current year. While revenue has slowly been growing, it has been short of estimates, requiring us to make adjustments to the budgets of various agencies and departments that use state funding. The bill, which passed the Senate and House this week, cuts overall state spending by about $35 million. We are required by law to balance the budget and we are dedicated to fiscal responsibility in government.
On Tuesday this week we celebrated National Agriculture Day. Agriculture has been and always will be the backbone of Iowa’s economy. Iowa’s fantastic soil and climate allow almost a third of Iowa’s population to make Iowa one of the largest exporters of soybeans, pork, corn, feed, fodder and processed grain in the country. Many of us go home to our farms after session to grow our crops and livestock, and participate in one of the things Iowa is known for – feeding our country and the world.
Farmers are a significant driver of Iowa’s economy. Without them, the sweetcorn in the summertime and the juicy steak in any season would be fewer and farther between. So, the next time you enjoy a corn on the cob, or a bacon wrapped filet, remember to thank the farmers that brought them from their fields to your table.
It is an honor to be your senator. There is a forum Saturday at Kuemper Cafeteria in Carroll at 10 a.m.
It is an honor to be your senator.