Photo Credit: Martin aka Maha via Flickr (CC-By-SA 2.0)

Week 6 of the 2018 Iowa Legislative Session saw the advancement of Opioid legislation in the House, the unveiling of Governor Kim Reynolds’ tax reform package and a bill to begin moving Iowa toward entitlement reform that reduces fraud and encourages a return to the private sector.

HF2299 addresses the growing opioid addiction crisis in Iowa. It would prevent doctor shopping, reduce overprescribing, and provide support to Iowans addicted to opioids. The bill’s initiatives include:

  • Funding the new state of the art Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), which will have the ability to integrate with electronic health records and provide immediate access to information;
  • Requiring prescribers to register with the PMP and use the PMP when prescribing controlled substances;
  • Requiring electronic prescribing to eliminate fraud;
  • Allowing proactive notification to recognize patients at a high risk for opioid abuse and addiction;
  • Allowing penalties to be assessed by licensing boards for providers overprescribing;
  • Providing prescriber education on opioids;
  • Requiring First Responders to report to the PMP if they administer an opioid antagonist.

Opioid legislation is of extreme importance in keeping our citizens safe, with many of the policy solutions the result of months of consultation between legislators, substance abuse experts, law enforcement personnel and medical professionals.

Governor Kim Reynolds unveiled a bold plan for tax reform, this week, which seeks to cut the income taxes of Iowans by $1.7 billion over 6 years. It would change the rate structure by reducing rates and lowering the number of tax brackets, bring equity to sales tax collection by treating brick and mortar stores the same as online retailers, and coupling with Section 179 in the tax code, so important for farmers and small businesses, would increase immediately from $25,000 to $100,000.

Under the Governor’s plan, middle-class Iowans will pay lower taxes — a typical single mother with one child making $30,000 will see a 28 percent tax cut next year. A family of four making $55,000 will see a 10 percent tax cut next year, which will grow to 23 percent by 2023. The Governor’s plan will include triggers that will act as safeguard in the event of an economic downturn. If economic growth is significant, the triggers will accelerate the tax cuts and return even greater savings to Iowa taxpayers. The Governor’s tax plan is in keeping with her promise in the Condition of the State address to deliver tax relief to the middle class in Iowa, while ensuring we maintain a balanced budget and meet the state’s priorities.

In Human Resources, we have begun the long overdue process of entitlement reform.  We are working on legislation that work require the Department of Health & Human Services to apply for a Medicaid waiver from the federal government to allow Iowa to establish work requirements in Medicaid for able-bodied adults. We are also working to establish more effective protocols in identifying and stopping entitlement fraud. These measures are needed in order to protect Iowa taxpayers, reduce the cycle of dependency on government welfare, and reinforce the work ethic by encouraging a speedy return to the private sector.

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