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 Statehouse News

Hi everyone back in House District 82!

As I write, week 5 is coming to an end at the Capitol in Des Moines. It is snowing outside and probably will be as I drive home tonight after a late afternoon Transportation Committee meeting. We are considering House File 513, it is about safe operation of bicycles on our roads. I will be voting yes to pass this out of committee. Also to be discussed today is House File 2248 about transporting or operating newly manufactured aircraft.

Earlier today I voted yes on an amendment to the State Supplemental Aid Bill, House File 2230. It would have directed $11 million dollars towards school transportation equity. The amendment failed. I gave my first floor speech on Wednesday, supporting 3% growth, new money to public schools. I told my fellow representatives about the continued financial stress our rural school districts experience. Three percent new money would help keep our education standards where we want them. The House Majority decided 1% was all the state could afford. I disagree. State revenue is projected to go up 4% in fiscal 19. We need to change priorities. You can watch my speech at:

I continue to work very hard for you, lots of reading and studying of the bills that are brought to my committees and subcommittees. I have told you before when I vote it’s not as a Democrat or as a Republican, but as somebody who has lived his entire life in Southeast Iowa. I will always do what is right for the citizens of my district.

EMS Day was on Thursday, February 8. Representative Phil Miller met with Cindy Gilbert Hewitt who lives in Agency (but grew up in Stockport). She is now an EMS Director in Ottumwa. Cindy had a buckskin horse that Phil treated his first year out of Vet School!

Representative Phil Miller met with folks from 1st Credit Union, Marian Holmes of Albia and Greg Hanshaw of Fairfield at the Statehouse this week.

News from the Statehouse

Record Low Funding for Public Schools Again

With another year of low funding on the way for public schools, students in K-12 schools will likely see higher class sizes and fewer opportunities next year.

Because Republican lawmakers have mismanaged the state budget and handed out hundreds of millions in corporate tax giveaways, they approved a public school funding plan this week that won’t even keep up with rising costs in schools next year.  

At the same time the Majority Party was approving the plan to underfund public schools, new data was released that found 105 public school buildings have closed their doors over the last several years.  Iowans already know that closing public schools is not the best approach to improving public education.

When adjusted for inflation, public schools have received just a $33 per student increase over eight years, which is less than 1% each year. Iowa’s per pupil funding is now $1,111 below the national average.

Some lawmakers offered a fiscally responsible alternative to prioritize public school funding and avoid shortchanging public schools, but it was rejected on a party line vote.  

The Iowa Senate also debated the bill this week.  It now goes to the Governor.

Amerigroup Now Taking New Medicaid Members

Amerigroup, one of the two remaining MCOs (Managed Care Organizations) involved in the privatization of Medicaid in Iowa, announced last week they would begin taking new members.

In October 2017, AmeriHealth Caritas, one of the three original MCOs, declared they were leaving the state due to financial losses.  This left only Amerigroup and UnitedHealthCare as the remaining organizations.  In the next month, Amerigroup announced it would not accept any more patients, further reducing member choice to just UnitedHealthCare. This was especially problematic given that it is against federal regulations to only have one option available to members, and the Governor stated the move to Medicaid privatization would result in more choice for Iowans on Medicaid.

Those members who initially selected Amerigroup and were transitioned back to fee-for-service, will now be assigned to Amerigroup effective March 1, 2018.  New Medicaid members can begin to choose Amerigroup on May 1, 2018. 

Upcoming Events

February 17--Fairfield Legislative Forum, 7:30am-9:00am, @Best Western, 2200 W Burlington 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

Home Foreclosure Timelines Could Be Shortened
Water Quality Improving with Local Efforts
School Districts Could be Allowed to Share Social Worker Positions
Supreme Court Holds Evening Session
Condition of Iowa’s Education Released

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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