News from Week 1 – 2018 Legislative Session
Here are some of the highlights of the first week of the 2018 legislative session. On Tuesday, Governor Reynolds gave her State of the State address. She discussed the new federal tax plan and is committed to simplifying Iowa’s tax code. She is also committed to helping Iowa become as competitive as possible in attracting new businesses.
The Governor also spoke about Future Ready Iowa, a new plan that lays out a number of goals to be obtained by the year 2025. One of the goals involves identifying and informing individuals of high demand jobs, these jobs typically pay at or above $16 an hour. These jobs require more than a high school education and have the highest percentage of growth projected over the next 10 years. Some of the positions that are considered to be high demand jobs are; wind turbine service technicians, occupational therapy assistants, information security analysts, physical therapy assistants and computer systems analysts. There are many careers where starting salaries between $40,000 and $50,000 a year are waiting to be filled. There are more than 55,000 job openings on the Iowa Workforce Development website, of which many of these are high demand, high paying jobs. Another aspect of Future Ready Iowa is a plan to increase the number of registered apprenticeship programs throughout the state. These programs are driven by employer needs and allow students to learn while they earn.
As a resident of rural Iowa, it was encouraging to hear the Governor talk about the challenges that the rural counties in our state face. One example, she mentioned, was to expand the broadband capabilities across the state of Iowa, especially the rural areas. In addition, she has begun a new initiative that focuses on rural Iowa that Lt. Gov. Gregg will lead. This initiative will bring together different leaders from across Iowa with different backgrounds. It will also include young professionals, successful business owners and residents of the rural areas. The goal is to keep and bring home Iowa’s sons and daughters.
In the past decade the Opioid epidemic has negatively affected society. Opioid deaths are climbing and families are being shattered. A study committee recently released conclusions and recommended these next steps: Patients and healthcare professionals should be educated on alternatives to pain medications. Iowa needs an effective prescription monitoring program or “PMP.” Various State agencies are looking at the opioid epidemic from their individual perspectives. They need to address common concerns and develop a policy they all can support. There is also a need for more affordable and accessible substance abuse disorder treatments. I am honored again to serve the great people of district 12 this year in the 87th General Assembly of the House of Representatives.
Iowa House of Representatives
Address: State Capitol, Des Moines, IA 50319