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 Statehouse News

 
Dear %%First Name%%,

Week number 3 is coming to a close in Des Moines and I have been very busy working for you.  Some very important decisions were made this week.
 
Our state budget for last year and this year still has not been addressed before making decisions for fiscal 2019.  We have to balance our checkbook before moving ahead and I think this is a priority.  Last spring millions of dollars were taken from cash reserve and this fall more millions of dollars were taken from an emergency fund.  We now are still faced with an immediate need to reduce our current year spending by another 35 million dollars!  

I voted no on the Senate Water bill, not because it was a bad bill, but it is a new program that spends money out of next year’s budget before we’ve repaired last years and this years.  I want everyone to also realize that the money that goes towards funding the new water bill reduces money that would be going to public schools, the judiciary, mental health care and law enforcement.  I look forward to the potential for the new bill to do some good and help Iowan’s improve our water.  I make decisions not as a democrat or as a republican but as a lifelong citizen of Southeast Iowa.  I always vote for what I feel is right for all in our community.

The House Education committee met on Wednesday afternoon and the meeting went into the evening.  There was a long discussion on the topic of online learning and the effect it has on public schools in our state.  I voted against a bill that would allow open enrollment into online schools.  I feel they lack accountability.  The data shows low graduation rates and low year to year return.

I will be heading home on Friday and may see some of you in Keosauqua or Bloomfield on Saturday.

Stay in touch.


Representative Phil Miller was happy to meet Batavia native Mitch Bloomquist who was at the Statehouse representing Des Moines University.


Larry Severidt, MD  with Broadlawns Hospital in Des Moines visited with Representative Phil Miller during a morning reception at the Statehouse.  


Representative Phil Miller was pleased to speak with Terri Kness, Jefferson County Treasurer who was visiting the Statehouse for a statewide meeting for County Treasurers.


Every year the Iowa House chooses Iowa High School students to serve as Legislative Pages. This year Representative Phil Miller is pleased to have Bailey Veatch from Ottumwa serve on the Iowa House Floor.


Nurse Anesthetists Melissa Mahon of Keosauqua and Jill Ferrell of Fairfield met with Representative Mary Gaskill and Phil Miller at a legislative reception on Tuesday, January 23rd.


On Wednesday, January 24, pharmacists and pharmacy students from across Iowa visited the Statehouse. Representative Phil Miller met with Mylo Wells from Bloomfield, who is currently a pharmacy student at the University of Iowa.


Karla Steward, Counselor at Fairfield Community School District met with Representative Phil Miller at Decoding Dyslexia Iowa’s Day on the Hill.


News from the Statehouse


Lawmakers Push to End Medicaid Privatization

A group of Iowa lawmakers are pushing a new bill to end Iowa’s Medicaid privatization experiment.  The move comes after another year of turmoil and confusion for Iowans on Medicaid.  

Since it was privatized nearly two years ago, lawmakers have heard countless stories from Iowans who are still struggling to get the health care services they need from the out-of-state, for-profit companies now running Medicaid, called Managed Care Organizations (MCO).  Last fall, a man from Northwest Iowa died after the care he received in his home for 20 years was cut off by one of the MCO’s and he was forced into a facility.

Many Iowans have also raised concerns about the high cost of Medicaid privatization.  In addition to getting an additional $60 million this year from the Reynolds Administration, the for-profit MCO’s can keep up to 15% of taxpayer dollars to administer the program.  Before privatization, just 4% of Medicaid dollars were spent on administration.

Just last week, lawmakers learned from an investigative report that over 200 Iowa families have been denied critical health care from the private companies and are stuck trying to get the care they need in a long appeals process.  Privatization has also reduced care options for Iowans after one of the MCO’s left Iowa last fall and another stopped taking new patients.

Medicaid is a federal and state partnership that provides health care to 600,000 Iowans, including nursing homes.  According to recent estimates, about 70% of Medicaid dollars are used for the elderly, severely disabled, and poor.

The bill to end Medicaid privatization, Senate File 2058, is currently in the Senate Human Resources Committee. Another bill ending Medicaid privatization, HF 2104, has also been introduced in the House.

Sign the Petition
 
In an effort to work together, Democratic lawmakers are calling on Iowans to sign a petition to join them in pushing Governor Kim Reynolds and Republican lawmakers to end Iowa’s failed Medicaid privatization.


Water Quality Bill Headed to Governor

Legislation that directs existing money to the state’s ongoing water quality efforts will be heading to the Governor.

First approved by the Iowa Senate last year, the bill creates a new water excise tax. The new excise tax diverts funds from the state’s general fund, which currently pays for expenses such as schools and Medicaid, into a new Water Quality Financial Assistance Fund.   Additionally, $15 million from the state’s Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund will be used beginning in 2021.

Crafted behind closed doors last year without input from the Minority Party, many lawmakers believe the bill is inadequate.  The bill does not provide enough resources, has no accountability of taxpayer dollars, and does not use a watershed approach that involves local communities.  The bill also has no monitoring structure to measure if any progress is being made to improve water quality.

The money from the excise tax will flow to the Water Quality Assistance Fund and will help support drinking water and source water protection projects as well as create a new loan program designed to provide financial assistance to enhance surface and groundwater.  Money will also be used for conservation practices such as terraces, grass waterways, buffer strips and cover crops.

The legislation passed the Iowa House 59-41 and now awaits the Governor’s signature.


Upcoming Events


January 20--Fairfield Legislative Forum, 7:30am-9:00am, @Fairfield Public Library, 104 W. Adams Ave

January 27-- Keosauqua Legislative Listening Post, 9:00am @Keosauqua Great Day Café, 202 Main St
January 27-- Bloomfield Legislative Listening Post, 12:00 pm @Rancho Centinela, 102 South Madison

February 17--Fairfield Legislative Forum, 7:30am-9:00am, @Fairfield Public Library, 104 W. Adams Ave

February 24-- Keosauqua Legislative Listening Post, 9:00am @Keosauqua Great Day Café, 202 Main St
February 24-- Bloomfield Legislative Listening Post, 12:00 pm @Rancho Centinela, 102 South Madison

March 17--Fairfield Legislative Forum, 7:30am-9:00am, @Fairfield Public Library, 104 W. Adams Ave

March 24-- Keosauqua Legislative Listening Post, 9:00am @Keosauqua Great Day Café, 202 Main St
March 24-- Bloomfield Legislative Listening Post, 12:00 pm @Rancho Centinela, 102 South Madison

April 21-- Fairfield Legislative Forum, 7:30am-9:00am, @Fairfield Public Library, 104 W. Adams 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


Traffic Camera Ban Clears First Hurdle
“Bottle Bill” Recycling Return Rate Down
New Legislation to Protect Bald Eagles in Iowa
Medical Cannabidiol Adopts Forms and Quantity of Medicine
Child Abuse and Welfare in Iowa; Reynolds Recommends More Cuts
Iowa Chosen for Study to Improve Early Childhood Care Workforce



Contact Representative Phil Miller

Capitol
1009 Grand Ave
Iowa House of Representatives
Des Moines, IA 50319
515-281-3221
Home      
902 S. Suncrest Drive
Fairfield, IA 52556
641-472-2511
                        
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