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Session started five weeks ago, and since that time legislators have sponsored nearly 1,000 bills dealing with everything from human trafficking to turtle harvesting and snowmobiling with guns.  This “clutter” of bills can be as difficult to manage as a desk piled high with papers; at some point you have to take a look at each piece of paper and decide whether to keep it or drop it in the recycling bin.  That’s why legislators set deadlines for themselves - to clean out the clutter so they can focus on the bills that have a real chance of becoming law.  Friday (February 19) was the first of two legislative deadlines, called a "funnel." 

To beat the funnel deadline, bills had to be voted out of their first assigned committees by Friday, February 19.  Anything left behind in committee is now dead, and will no longer be discussed. There are a few exceptions - bills that spend money, include a tax, or come out of the Government Oversight Committee are exempt from this deadline.   Starting this week, legislators can now only work on House bills that have made it out of House committees (and Senate bills that have come out of Senate committees).

So as the outdoor temperatures increase this weekend, look at this deadline as the legislative version of spring cleaning.  You can see the entire list of active and inactive bills tracked for our readers here

Some of the bills that survived the first funnel deadline would:

  • End Medicaid managed care contracts (SF 2125).
  • Require greater government oversight of Medicaid managed care system (SF 2213).
  • Guarantee access to speech therapy for children in Medicaid managed care plans (SF 2145)
  • Roll out a children’s mental health crisis services system and pay for well-being learning labs (SF 2161)
  • Allow MH/DS regions to raise all of their money from local property taxes, so no state funds needed  (SF 2236)
  • Increase supported employment provider rates by 20% as was promised in last year's budget  (HF 2272 & SF 2101)
  • Mandate insurance coverage for eating disorder assessment and treatment (SF
  • Require private insurers pay for applied behavioral analysis (ABA) for people with autism (SF 2072).
  • Fully fund Medicaid for the current year with an $80 million additional appropriation (SF 2109)
  • Require athletic trainers be present at high school contact sport matches to assess potential head injuries (SF 2225)
  • Expand membership on the Commission for the Blind to include one member representing the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa and appointed by the Iowa Council of the United Blind (HF 2287)
  • Expand Iowa’s limited medical cannabidiol law to include all forms of epilepsy, MS, and terminal cancer, and authorize two dispensaries so people can purchase the oil in Iowa (HSB 607).

Bills that didn’t make the cut include legislation that would have:

  • Increased the minimum age of smoking to 21 (and included vaping in the definition of smoking).
  • Required legislative approval for all Medicaid waivers and state plan amendments.
  • Established an Iowa Health Workforce Center to coordinate health and long-term care workforce efforts in the state.
  • Prohibited insurers from requiring providers take all plans they offer, commercial and Medicaid.
  • Expanded access to telehealth services by eliminating reimbursement barriers.
  • Created lottery games to fund support for persons with MS.
  • Made it tougher to misuse accessible parking placards.
  • Added tax deductions to any size business that hires people with disabilities.

You can always find this list (updated daily) here.