Rep. Brian Best (Iowa House District 12)

Representative Brian Best

Tuesday, February 18 , 2019

2019 Week Five Legislative Newsletter

Rural Nursing Home Issues
Rural nursing homes in Iowa are facing financial challenges. The reason is that they are taking on more Medicaid recipients as a percentage of the total number of residents. Secondly, as assisted living services come to smaller towns, fewer people are going into the traditional skilled nursing facilities (SNF). We see fewer overall residents filling the rural beds and by taking on a higher percentage of Medicaid patients, it is problematic because Medicaid payment is low. I am meeting with DHS this week to tell them our nursing homes are in desperate need of higher reimbursement rates. Some of the issues, such as the competition from assisted living, is driven by the market place and will continue. However, I believe the state has the responsibility of reimbursing at a rate that is equal to the cost of care.

Tanning Beds
I’ll be serving on the subcommittee next week considering a bill that would require that a person be at least 16 years of age to use a tanning bed. Excess tanning bed use is linked to Melanoma which is a very deadly and fast spreading cancer. As of now, there currently is not an age limit for a person to use a tanning bed. This law would prevent anyone 15 years of age and younger from using a tanning bed. There is general agreement amongst the industry that this is a reasonable bill. This does not affect spray tanning.

Governor’s Budget
When it comes to budgeting, there are always three parts of government that have ideas. The Governor’s budget called for $7.653 million dollars in spending. The House’s version spends a few million dollars more in total. We are trying to be thoughtful to increase a few budgets that were either flat lined or decreased over the last couple of years due to stagnant revenue. I am thankful that our revenue projections for the 2020 fiscal year are coming in higher than expected. I am hopeful that we can put much needed revenue increases into public safety, community college funding, judicial services, and skilled nursing home rebasing.

In service,

Brian Best
Iowa House of Representatives
State Representative
Address: State Capitol, Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: 515–281-3221; Home: 712-830-1844

E-Mail: brian.best@legis.iowa.gov

Committees: Appropriations, Commerce, Human Resources, Transportation
Appropriations Subcommittee: Economic Development, Chair 

Tuesday, February 5 , 2019

News from Week 3 – 2019 Legislative Session

Soybeans/European Union (EU)
The European Union has agreed to purchase American soybeans through at least July 1, 2021. With Iowa being the second largest agriculture exporting state in the country, this is great news as there are high hopes to expand the sales for the biodiesel market. Agreements like this will add jobs and economic growth to our state.

Good News for Iowans
Last year, Iowa won the #1 State Award by U.S. News and World Report. The report was based on data such as infrastructure, education, healthcare, cost of living, etc. This past week, we received another honor: job search site, Zippia, ranked Iowa as the best state for jobs based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The following criterion was considered:

1) Improvement in unemployment over the past year
2) The state’s current unemployment rate
3) How home prices compared with median income
4) How resident’s income improved year over year

This just goes to prove that Iowa is a great place to live and work! Now we have to do our job at the state level to fill the skills gap that we have and retain some of our kids to consider staying in their community. We also need to promote our state through tourism and advertising in order to attract hardworking Americans to come to Iowa.

Creighton University Survey
A monthly report on the economy in Iowa (and eight other Midwestern states) shows the leading economic indicator rose to its highest level since September. Creighton professor, Ernie Goss, expects to see solid growth for the region over the next six months. His survey found that in the past twelve months non-durable goods manufacturers have expanded jobs by 2.8 percent while durable goods manufacturers have added 3.9 percent to their workforce. Iowa has the lowest unemployment rate of any state. That is good news! The bad news is that we have many jobs that are unfulfilled because we don’t have the workforce.

There are no forums scheduled for this week. Thank you for the honor of representing you in the Iowa House of Representatives.

In service,

Brian Best
Iowa House of Representatives
State Representative
Address: State Capitol, Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: 515–281-3221; Home: 712-830-1844

E-Mail: brian.best@legis.iowa.gov

Committees: Appropriations, Commerce, Human Resources, Transportation
Appropriations Subcommittee: Economic Development, Chair 

Tuesday, January 29 , 2019

News from Week 2 – 2019 Legislative Session

Radon
I will be sponsoring a bill this week that addresses radon in our schools. This bill will require radon testing and mitigation. Radon is known to be a silent killer causing lung cancer. I am concerned with the harmful effects for students if they are sitting in classrooms with high radon levels. I introduced this bill last year and hope that it picks up more interest this year.

Access to CDL (Commercial Driver’s License)
There is a need across the state of Iowa to make CDL testing more convenient for our businesses and potential employees who are seeking CDL licenses. I know that the unavailability in our area causes long waits and long drives for a potential employee to be tested. This is not business friendly and it creates delays in the hiring process. I will be talking with the DOT this week to see if there is anything we can do to create easier access for these services in rural Iowa.

Medicaid MCO’s (Managed Care Organizations)
Since the inception of the MCO’s in 2017, there have been problems in getting services that should be covered for their subscribers. In addition, payers have been forced to accept low allowables, and often times, long delays or no payment for legitimate charges. We need more transparency than what we currently have from the MCOs. The philosophy behind MCOs should be to make efficient decisions regarding healthcare. It is not good policy to deny legitimate coverages to subscribers in need or to force providers to provide vital services at a loss.

It is an honor to serve District Twelve. The forum on Saturday February 2nd will be held at the Memorial Hall in Audubon at 10 a.m.

In service,

Brian Best
Iowa House of Representatives
State Representative
Address: State Capitol, Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: 515–281-3221; Home: 712-830-1844

E-Mail: brian.best@legis.iowa.gov

Committees: Appropriations, Commerce, Human Resources, Transportation
Appropriations Subcommittee: Economic Development, Chair 

Tuesday, January 22 , 2019

News from Week 1
Here are some of the highlights from the first week of the 2019 legislative session. On Tuesday, January 15th, Governor Reynolds gave her Condition of the State address. I am pleased and encouraged with the attention that Governor Reynolds gave in regards to the issues in rural Iowa.

Governor Reynolds mentioned supporting funding for Future Iowa Ready. The biggest worker shortages that we have are in high paying positions. Funding for this program will provide financial aid for future workers to become skilled in areas of need.

Broadband needs to be brought to rural Iowa. Individuals who own small businesses or that work from home need to have access to fast services. Having broadband will allow individuals to stay in business.

Governor Reynolds addressed the importance of bringing attention to mental health in the state of Iowa. The issues of mental health have gotten away from us in years past. The needs of Iowans have outweighed the services provided. Children’s mental health specifically has been ignored for years. The governor’s act to put emphasis on these mental health needs will help us get to a point to find appropriate placement for those with mental health needs.

Lastly, it was discussed how using prison industries can be used to build low cost, modular homes. There are two benefits to this. One being that it would bring affordable housing to rural Iowa towns. Secondly, this would provide skills to prison inmates as well as give them the ability to have dignity in the workplace and it would cut back on recidivism.

The next forum will be held on Saturday, January 26th at 10 a.m. This will be held at New Hope Village in Carroll.

I am honored, once again, to serve the great people of district 12 this year in the 88th General Assembly of the House of Representatives.

In service,

Brian Best
Iowa House of Representatives
State Representative
Address: State Capitol, Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: 515–281-3221; Home: 712-830-1844

E-Mail: brian.best@legis.iowa.gov

Committees: Appropriations, Commerce, Human Resources, Transportation
Appropriations Subcommittee: Economic Development, Chair 

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