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 Statehouse News

Dear %%First Name%%,

On Wednesday, April 18th I attended an Iowa House Government Oversight Committee meeting about third party administrators charging state and local governments far more for prescription drugs than the third party administrators are paying local pharmacies to fill them.  County governments often contract with third party administrators to standardize and reduce prescription drug costs for jail inmates.  These groups are called “Pharmacy Benefit Managers” or PBM’s.  Wapello County officials had used CVS Caremark as their third party PBM.  Prescriptions for inmates were being filled for as little as $2.69, paid to the local pharmacy by the PBM, but the PBM was billing the county $124.00!  Wapello County Jail officials are now billing inmate prescriptions directly through local pharmacies and bypassing PBM’s.  Thousands of dollars are now being saved each month according to Wapello County Supervisors.  Previously tax dollars were going to national corporations (PBM’s) that claim to reduce prescription drug costs.  We law makers need to further investigate unfair practices that are going largely unregulated.  I’m encouraging our three counties in House District 82 to review current practice on prescription drug purchases.

Also this week I learned about the Iowa Finance Authority.  This agency’s mission is to make affordable financing possible for homes and communities.  The Iowa Housing Finance Authority was created in 1975.
Several programs have been added to it since, the Senior Living Revolving Fund, Home and Community-based Rent Subsidy and the Iowa Agricultural Development Division.  Core program areas are affordable home ownership, affordable rental, water quality, Iowa Title guarantee and Iowa Agricultural Development Division.  The IFA helps approximately 2000 Iowa home buyers each year.  This includes military home ownership assistance.  The IFA through Homeless Assistance includes emergency solutions, grants, shelter assistance funds and housing opportunities for persons in need.  Twelve thousand low-income families in 70 counties are served by the IFA project-based affordable rental.  The IFA also provides low interest loans for public water and waste water infrastructure in more than 600 Iowa communities.  Finally, the Beginning Farmer Loan Program is also under the IFA.  Local Iowa banks and local Iowa credit unions use the Iowa Finance Authority to borrow funds that they loan to the public to finance the programs above.

There is still no word about the 2019 budget or changes in Iowa tax law from the majority party.  At some point the majority party will let all of us know about their decisions.  Thanks for letting me serve you.

News from the Statehouse

State Budget Remains Uncertain

The scheduled date of adjournment has come and gone for the Iowa Legislature, but there is still a lot of work that remains on the state’s budget. The Iowa House took the first step in getting the budget completed by passing five budgets out of the House Appropriations Committee this week.  

While the sign of moving budgets out of committee is a positive first step, uncertainty remains as Republican leaders in the Capitol have not agreed to a budget or tax plan this year.  Whatever ultimately happens in closed door negotiations among the leaders, it is clear that working Iowans will be left out of the process.

While five of the ten budgets have been started in the House, Senate leaders just released their budget outline this week and have yet to start work on any budget bills.

As the session winds down, House Democrats will work to keep the state budget balanced, restore fiscal discipline, and support a budget that puts the needs of everyday Iowans first.

Additional Protections for Consumer Data Breaches Becomes Law

A bill that provides more protections for consumers that have their credit stolen became law recently.  Senate File 2177 expanded options for consumers to get a security freeze, which is a notice placed in the consumer’s credit report that prohibits releasing the consumer credit report or score for the opening of new credit.

The new law comes after hundreds of thousands of Iowans had their private financial information compromised in security breaches at Equifax, Home Depot, Target, and more. The bill prohibits fees for placing, removing, suspending, or reinstating any security freeze.  The bill also requires any consumer reporting agency that receives a request for a security freeze to do their best to inform the consumer of the contact information and method to receive a similar freeze from any other consumer reporting agency.  There are also procedures to expedite the receipt and processing of security freezes.

The bill was supported by the Attorney General’s Department of Justice, AARP Iowa, League of Women Voters of Iowa, Iowa Organization of Victim Assistance, and the Iowa Credit Union League.

Upcoming Events

April 21-- Fairfield Legislative Forum, 7:30am-9:00am, @Best Western, 2200 W Burlington Ave

April 28th-- Keosauqua Legislative Listening Post, 9:00am @Keosauqua Great Day Café, 202 Main St
April 28th-- Bloomfield Legislative Listening Post, 12:00 pm @Rancho Centinela, 102 South Madison

More News from the Statehouse

Protecting Iowa’s Veterans from Fraud
Free Fishing Weekend in June
Governor Privately Signs Anti-Immigration “Sanctuary Cities” into Law
Prevention of School Lunch Food Shaming Becomes Law

Contact Representative Phil Miller

1009 Grand Ave
Iowa House of Representatives
Des Moines, IA 50319
902 S. Suncrest Drive
Fairfield, IA 52556
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