Legislative Agenda & Updates 

LAI is the leader in advocating for non-profit aging service providers in Iowa. We strive to be the champion for advancement and innovation in aging services. LAI is a presence in public policy at the Iowa Capitol. Though member driven policy proposals, LAI works tirelessly to advocate for the biggest issues facing aging service provider today. Through direct lobbying at the Iowa Capitol, one-on-one meetings, phone calls, action alerts, and more, LAI is force for non-profit aging services providers in Iowa.

 

Legislative Agenda

 

Legislative Update, January 14 - 18, Week One

The Iowa legislative session started this week at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, January 14.  The new Iowa General Assembly includes 31 new lawmakers and has Republican control of the House and Senate.  The session began with the typical fanfare of speeches, goal setting for the year, and calls of working together for the betterment of Iowa. 

The major highlights of the first week include Governor Reynold’s Condition of the State address and the release of the Governor’s budget. The Governor has tremendous power to set the policy direction for her office and party. Often the Governor’s proposals are the key initiatives passed and/or funded in a given year. 

Condition of the State 

Reynold’s Condition of the State covered a host of issues, including mental health care, the creation of a children’s mental health system, an amendment to the Iowa Constitution for restoration of felon voting rights, some criminal justice reform, expansion of broadband internet, among other initiatives. 

Of importance to LAI members is Gov. Reynolds ask of $20 million for her Future Ready Iowa program. The program seeks to tackle the skilled workforce shortage in the state of Iowa, such as manufacturing, health care, and technology jobs. The previous legislature created the program but did not give a large appropriation to the program. The call for $20 million will give the programs significant resources to tackle skilled workforce shortages. 

LAI and others have asked in the past to increase the scope of Future Ready Iowa to include the high needs jobs of Direct Care Workers (DCW), such as CNAs. Nurses are a prime target for the program, but the lower income level of a DCW often excludes them from consideration. The Governor’s office has signaled to several groups they are interested in listening to the DCW issue for Future Ready Iowa. 

To read the full speech of Governor, click here. 

Governor’s Budget 

The Governor’s Budget was released shortly after the Condition of the State address. Overall, the Governor’s budget prioritizes the limited surplus for several of her initiatives and state agencies. For the remainder of FY 2019, the Governor’s revised FY 2019 General Fund budget includes a carry-over fund of FY 2018 of $71.0 million. The Governor is also recommending supplemental appropriations for FY 2019 totaling $144.5 million for five State programs, which includes an MCO contract increase of $141.1 million. The Governor’s revised FY 2019 budget leaves an estimated surplus of $185.5 million. 

FY 2020 budget recommendations includes total General Fund resources of $7.959 billion. The Governor is recommending General Fund appropriations totaling $7.659 billion, which is $222.2 million below the Expenditure Limitation. The Governor’s FY 2020 General Fund appropriations budget represents an increase of $39.2 million (0.5%) compared to the Governor’s revised FY 2019 appropriations recommendations. The Governor’s FY 2020 budget results in an estimated surplus of $305.9 million. 

The Governor’s proposed budget has a welcome addition for LAI members. The Governor’s office recommended $8.5 million for nursing facility rebasing. The Governor does not have the power to appropriate money, but the Governor’s budget is often the blue print for negotiations moving forward. While IME has estimated a need of $55 million for bringing average reimbursements from Medicaid up to the cost of care, $8.5 million is a start and placeholder for further conversations with legislators. LAI has reached out to the Governor’s office thanking them for the inclusion of the $8.5 million in their budget proposal. 

Moving Forward 

Bills from Iowa legislators are just beginning to be released. Next week's legislative update should have a rundown of all the bills introduced thus far impacting LAI members. Additionally, LAI lobbyist, Matt Blake, is working diligently to get LAI’s proposed bill related to temporary staffing agencies introduced. It is still very early, and several legislators have expressed interest in tackling issues surrounding temporary staffing agencies. Further education and some negotiations are needed before a bill can be introduced. Finally, look for legislative action alert beginning next week to help move forward LAI’s advocacy agenda.