Work continues here at the Statehouse. We have passed significant legislation to provide greater access to mental health care, work continues to protect private property rights, and members of the Iowa Pork Producers Association shared their perspectives on current issues surrounding agriculture.
This week, we passed three pieces of legislation to increase Iowans’ access to mental health care. In past years, we’ve taken meaningful steps forward to increase Iowans’ access to care. House File 2529 appropriates funding for 12 new psychiatry residencies at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC), and will prioritize Iowans in the application process. House File 2549establishes a mental health practitioner loan repayment program for Iowans that agree to practice in Iowa for at least five years. House File 2546 requires Iowa Medicaid to establish a rate for psychiatric intensive care in Iowa. This will ensure that the health care professionals providing care for the most difficult mental health patients are being compensated appropriately. Increasing access to mental health care is a huge priority for Iowans and these bills will help more Iowans get the care they deserve.
This week, the State Government Committee passed legislation to provide protections for landowners negotiating with CO2 pipeline projects in Iowa. I mentioned previously that I introduced legislation to prevent the pipeline project from utilizing any eminent domain. This legislation presents a workable compromise to ensure private property rights remain protected.
Current language states that pipelines cannot seek or use eminent domain before March 1, 2023. At this time, the Legislature will be back in session and prepared to take further action if necessary. The goal of this legislation is not to interfere or stop any pipeline projects in Iowa. The goal is to allow landowners and pipeline builders to negotiate on a level playing field, without the threat of eminent domain being abused. Private property rights work both ways – for landowners who want to do business with pipelines and for those that don’t. We believe this compromise respects the rights of both sides. This bill would allow negotiations with landowners and pipelines to go on without interference, but on a level playing field.
This Friday marks the end of the second and final legislative funnel. Funnel is designed to be ensure legislators are focused on bills that can actually be passed this session. For a bill to be eligible for consideration it must be approved by a committee in the House and the Senate.
I was also visited by members of the Iowa Pork Producers Association this week. We discussed their concerns surrounding funding for the diagnostic lab at Iowa State Veterinary College. As Vice Chair of the Natural Resources Committee, I have been able to talk with various doctors working in that lab. This lab is among the best in the nation regarding the research that is completed here. It has capacity to do what most labs are unable to accomplish. Funding for that lab will certainly continue.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. I can be reached at my email: firstname.lastname@example.org.