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 Statehouse News

Week 8 is in the books!  And what a busy week it was. This week marked an important milestone of the session – the first “funnel” deadline.  Hundreds of bills are introduced each year and in order to narrow the focus, legislation has to get through a series of funnels for continued consideration.  The first funnel requires a bill to be voted out of a committee in either chamber.  I plan to highlight many of the “funnel-proof” bills through social media in the coming days as well as in my next newsletter.  If you aren’t following me on Facebook and Twitter yet, I hope you’ll do that!  

There seemed to be fewer citizen lobbyists at the Capitol this week so I didn’t get to visit with as many folks as I usually do (hence fewer photos below).  I’m also sorry that I missed a couple constituents due to being in extra-long committee meetings.  But thanks as always to all of you who take the time to visit us in the Capitol!  

I want to use part of my newsletter this week to address a particular funnel-proof bill that I think most of you will find of interest. HSB 214 is the Governor’s bill to provide and dispense certain forms of self-administered birth control “over the counter” (OTC) or “behind the counter” (BTC) in pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription. The bill passed out of the Human Resources Committee on Wednesday with strong bipartisan support.  While imperfect, I was pleased to vote for this bill because affordable access to family planning is critical for Iowa women.

I’ll be honest – I was worried when I first heard about the Governor’s proposal because typically medications that are moved from prescription to OTC are not covered by insurance.  Many women who have ever attempted to fill a birth control prescription without insurance will tell you that the cost can be prohibitive!  Fortunately, the bill included insurance coverage, alleviating that concern.

HSB 214 allows pharmacists, after receiving training and continued education, to dispense up to a three month supply for the first visit. After that initial three months, the pharmacist can assess that the medication is working well and may dispense up to a 12 month supply.  Patients must complete a self-screening risk assessment and a blood pressure test as part of the process for ensuring safety.  The bill states that pharmacists cannot dispense birth control for more than 27 months without the patient seeing a primary care or women’s health care practitioner.  This is a good, common sense approach.  

Much of Iowa has become a women’s health care desert. It is increasingly difficult for women in rural Iowa to receive reproductive health care and this bill will rightly help address that problem of accessibility.

However, we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge part of reason we find ourselves with this problem was the majority party’s decision to defund Planned Parenthood in 2017.  

Defunding Planned Parenthood led to the closure of four women’s health clinics across the state.  The political attacks against Planned Parenthood, a trusted health care provider, only exacerbated our provider shortage.  We could do so much better for Iowa women by allowing Planned Parenthood to receive family planning dollars and also offer OTC access to birth control. That would be the responsible way to ensure Iowans receive the care they need.

I appreciate that Governor Reynolds put forward a bill to address a critical need for Iowa women and I am pleased that it has received bipartisan support.  I hope that she may consider the repercussions of past legislation as we work together toward a better future.

As a reminder, my office hours are every Friday from 9-10:30am at Main Street Café in Ankeny.  My next weekend listening post will be on Saturday, March 30 from 9:30-10:30 at Woodside Middle School – 5810 NE 14th Street, Des Moines.  It’s important to me to get around HD38 as much as possible and I am excited this meeting will be in Saylor Township.  Please mark your calendar and I hope to see you there!

Representative Matson speaks with DMACC President Rob Denson and Pathway Navigator Silas Hanneman at Community College’s Day on the Hill at the Capitol on Tuesday, March 5, 2019. A new cyber security program is being offered at DMACC, the first of its kind in Iowa.  Rep. Matson is very proud to have DMACC in her district! 

Representative Matson meets with Larry Weber, an engineer with the Iowa Flood Center at the Capitol on Tuesday, March 6, 2019. Representative Matson really enjoyed learning more about their work on flood management and water quality.  The most important take away: it’s not about an urban agenda or a rural agenda; it’s about a science agenda.

Representative Matson meets with staff from the Greater Des Moines Community Foundation on Thursday, March 7, 2019 to discuss the Endow Iowa Tax Credit and the County Endowment Fund Program. 

Representative Matson gets a chance to visit with Ankeny resident Randy Munson in the House Chamber on Thursday, March 7, 2019. Randy visits the Capitol often on a host of issues he is passionate about. This week he was excited to bring his grandson Tristan to see the Capitol for the first time! 

Thursday, March 7, 2019 was Iowa Biodiesel Board’s Day on the Hill.  Representative Matson was pleased to visit with Ankeny resident Kelsey Blanshan of Renewable Energy Group to discuss the important role of biodiesel and renewable energy in  Iowa. 

News from the Statehouse

Democrats Release New Plan to Put Iowans First

Democratic lawmakers outlined their agenda called Putting Iowans First at the State Capitol this week.  After hearing from Iowans frustrated by the growing influence of special interests in the Legislature, lawmakers developed the agenda for the legislative session to put everyday Iowans back at the front of the line again.

The agenda is centered around the idea that every Iowan deserves a decent paying job, affordable health care, and the chance to lead a good life.  The Putting Iowans First plan has four key priorities; bringing better jobs to your community; affordable, accessible health care for all Iowans; making Iowa schools #1 again; and revitalizing small towns and rural areas.  Lawmakers will be working on legislation throughout the year to enact the agenda.

In recent years, majority party lawmakers have imposed policies that don’t reflect Iowa values and aren’t in the best interest of everyday Iowans. At the same time, they have moved millionaires, corporations, and other special interests to the front of the line — at the expense of working Iowans. This includes stagnant wages, rising health care costs, and more Iowans living paycheck to paycheck.

For more information on the Putting Iowans First plan, go to

Protect Conservation & Recreation in Iowa

Iowa has one of the lowest numbers of acres of land available for public use and currently is ranked 47th in the nation.  Two bills under consideration in the Legislature this year would put the future of Iowa’s state parks, recreational trails, conservation and wildlife areas in jeopardy.

House File 542 would prohibit the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and county conservation boards from using state money to acquire land which will severely limit conservation and new recreational opportunities in Iowa.  Land for bike trails and expanding land for public use would be difficult because state funds couldn’t be used.  The bill also eliminates tax credits for people and corporations that either donate land or use their land for public good, including water quality projects.  

After hundreds of Iowans showed up to oppose the bill this week, HF 542 missed the deadline to advance in the House Natural Resources Committee.  However, a similar bill is also being considered in the Iowa Senate, Senate Study Bill 1221.  The bill prohibits the state from acquiring land for water pollution control projects and it limits what kinds of land the state can purchase. The bill passed out of the Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee this week and can be debated in the Senate.  

Iowans concerned about protecting conservation and recreation in Iowa can visit to learn more or leave a comment.

Read More News from the Statehouse

New MCO Joining Iowa’s Medicaid Network
Iowa Utilities Board Schedules Public Meetings for Alliant Energy’s Proposed Rate Increases  
Schools Could Be Required to Test for Radon
Sports Betting and Fantasy Sports Pass Committee
Secretary Naig Stresses Need for Water Quality; Disease Protections

Contact Representative Heather Matson

1009 Grand Ave
Iowa House of Representatives
Des Moines, IA 50319
1802 SW Prairie Trail Parkway
Ankeny, IA 50023
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