Legislative Agenda & Updates 

LAI is the leader in advocating for non-profit aging service providers in Iowa. We strive to be the champion for advancement and innovation in aging services. LAI is a presence in public policy at the Iowa Capitol. Though member driven policy proposals, LAI works tirelessly to advocate for the biggest issues facing aging service provider today. Through direct lobbying at the Iowa Capitol, one-on-one meetings, phone calls, action alerts, and more, LAI is force for non-profit aging services providers in Iowa.

 

Legislative Agenda

Legislative Update, March 11 - 15, Week Eight

The week after the first legislative funnel saw a lot of floor action as legislators worked to get bills out of their chamber to keep the legislative process moving. In order to survive the second funnel in a few weeks, a bill must be through a committee in the chamber that it was not introduced in. That means a bill introduced in the Iowa House must be voted on the floor of the Iowa House, introduced on the Senate side, and get through a full committee. 

This also meant floor debate occurred on several hot button issues, such as the judicial nomination process for Iowa Supreme Court Justices and 2nd amendment gun rights. These debates lasted several hours as the minority party, Democrats, waged political battles to try and weaken the arguments and bills of the majority party, Republicans. For aging services, several bills being tracked by LAI were voted on and passed out of their respective chambers. 

Finally, a special election will occur next Tuesday, March 19, in Senate District 30 which covers portions of Waterloo/Cedar Falls. The special election was called to replace Senator Jeff Danielson (D) who resigned from his seat to take a regional position with the American Wind Energy Association. Cedar Falls Board of Education member Eric Giddens, Democrat, is running against former State Representative Walt Rodgers, Republican. The election will not shift the balance of power, as Republicans currently control the Iowa Senate 32 to 17 Democrats. LAI asks that all its members in Senate District 30 to remember to vote next Tuesday.

REC Committee

Tomorrow, March 15, the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) will project Iowa’s financial health for the remainder of this and next fiscal year. The REC is the definitive entity that dictates the state budget moving into the end of the Iowa legislative session. The Iowa Legislature uses the financial forecast as the basis for their budget.

LAI is hopeful there is good news in the financial report. While the Iowa House has stated their intent to appropriate $19 million for nursing facility rebasing, many HCBS provider types still need some financial relief. LAI will be developing a specific ask for HCBS and home health services after the release of the REC.

Action Alert

LAI sent out an action alert this week to ask Iowa Legislators to support funding the nursing facility rebase at $19 million to match the Iowa Republican proposed budget increase for FY2020.  House Republicans plan to appropriate $19 million of general funds in the FY2020 budget for the nursing facility rebase.  The $19 million, in addition to the $8.5 million from the QAAF rate increases, brings the total nursing facility rebase funding to $27.5 million, half of the overall $54.9 million shortfall.  

Iowa Senate has announced lower budget targets than the Iowa House.  While the Senate has not yet released exact plans and numbers for their key budget increases, LAI believes the Senate’s planned rebase appropriation will be lower than the $19 million in the House.

The Iowa House needs to hear from constituents in support of the planned rebase appropriation.  Perhaps even more important, all Iowa Senators need to hear from their districts about how they need to at least match the House appropriation of $19 million, especially when the shortfall is $54.9 million.  Grassroots advocacy on this issue is essential!   Please share this message with your Board of Directors, leadership teams, volunteers, and any other supporters of your organization.  Advocates can use the following link to easily send a letter, which is customizable, to their legislators: 

https://www.leadingageiowa.org/legislative-action-center 

Bill Tracking 

Senate File 153- Removes requirement of personal profit for caretaker financial exploitation – LAI position: Monitor

Senate File 152– Changes the definition of a “vulnerable elder” – LAI position: Monitor    

House File 304 - Technical fix to personal degradation law allowing for a variance in penalties – LAI position: Monitor

House File 291 – Increases the community spouse allowance for the Medicaid spend-down to align with federal law – LAI position: Monitor    

House File 295 - Removes the Hospice room and board pass through and allows the MCOs to pay nursing facilities directly – LAI position: For    

Senate File 344 - Allow an excuse from jury service for persons at least seventy-two years of age – LAI Position: Monitor

Senate File 426 – Creates personal degradation of a dependent adult as a form of dependent adult abuse by a caretaker regulated by DHS – LAI Position: Monitor  

Senate File 335 – New carbon monoxide standards for new construction of most aging services providers – LAI Position: Monitor   

Senate File 481 – Provides an individual tax credit for community college students pursing a credential leading to a high-demand occupation – LAI Position: Monitor  

Senate File 525 – Allows qualified entities to request national criminal history checks of certain covered individuals – LAI Position: Monitor  

House File 538 – Relates to changes of mandatory training for child abuse and dependent adult abuse reporter training requirements – LAI Position: Monitor 


Legislative Update, March 4 - 8, Week Seven

One of the most crucial deadlines of the Iowa legislative year was this week as the first legislative funnel ended with hundreds of bills not advancing.  The first legislative funnel is a procedural rule that allows only bills that have made it out of a legislative committee in either chamber to continue to be viable, except for appropriations and tax bills.  Bills that clear this first hurdle are “alive” and can continue through the legislative process.  Not getting through a committee means the bill, in its current form, is “dead” for the legislative session.  

The first funnel causes a flurry of action as lobbyist, advocates, and legislators frantically try to get their priority bills through committee.  This amounts to hundreds of subcommittee and committee hearings held over the week.  

For aging services, there are still a number of bills alive that have some impact on providers. Look through the bill tracking below for further information.  

House File 298 – Temporary Staffing Bill  

The Temporary Staffing bill, House File 298, did not clear the legislative funnel.  LAI was able to secure strong support from some key legislators to get House File 298 through subcommittee, but the legislation was blocked for debate in the House Human Resources Committee.  The chair of a committee has the power to set the committee agenda, including the power to not add items to the agenda.  The Chair of House Human Resources Committee, Representative Shannon Lundgren (R-Peosta), did not support the Temporary Staffing bill viewing it as an undue restriction on the free-market and used her prerogative as chair to not add House File 298 to the agenda for committee consideration.  

LAI finds this unfortunate as we truly believe House File 298 would have tackled some issues with workforce, protected workers’ freedom to choose their workplace setting, improved quality, and helped reduce some costs related to Medicaid.  LAI will seek opportunities to get pieces of policy language from House File 298 into other bills, but House File 298 in its current form is no longer viable 2019.   

Thank you to all our members who communicated to legislators on behalf of this bill.   

Nursing Facility Rebase Funding 

Iowa House Republicans released details on their plans for key FY2020 budget increases late last week.  House Republicans plan to appropriate $19 million dollars of general funds in the FY2020 budget for the nursing facility rebase.  The $19 million, in addition to the $8.5 million from the QAAF rate increases, bring the total nursing facility rebase funding to $27.5 million, half of the overall $54.9 million shortfall!  This would be the largest general fund appropriation made to nursing facilities in decades (if not ever).   

While the House announcement is an exciting first step, there is still much work to be done.  The Iowa Senate has announced lower budget targets than the Iowa House.  While the Senate has not yet released exact plans and numbers for their key budget increases, LAI believes the Senate’s planned rebase appropriation will be lower than the $19 million in the House.  

The Iowa House needs to hear from constituents in support of the planned rebase appropriation.  Perhaps even more important, all Iowa Senators need to hear from their districts about how they need to at least match the House appropriation of $19 million, especially when the shortfall is $54.9 million.   Grassroots advocacy on this issue is essential!   Please share this message with your Board of Directors, leadership teams, volunteers, and any other supporters of your organization.   Advocates can use the following link to easily send a letter, which is customizable, to their legislators: 

https://www.votervoice.net/LEADINGAGEIA/campaigns/63872/respond  

Bill Tracking  

Please note, the following bills survived funnel and will continue moving forward: 

Senate File 153- Removes requirement of personal profit for caretaker financial exploitation – LAI position: Monitor      

Senate File 152– Changes the definition of a “vulnerable elder” – LAI position: Monitor    

House File 304 - Technical fix to personal degradation law allowing for a variance in penalties – LAI position: Monitor    

House File 291 – Increases the community spouse allowance for the Medicaid spend-down to align with federal law – LAI position: Monitor    

House File 295 - Removes the Hospice room and board pass through and allows the MCOs to pay nursing facilities directly – LAI position: For    

Senate File 344 - Allow an excuse from jury service for persons at least seventy-two years of age – LAI Position: Monitor  

Senate File 426 – Creates personal degradation of a dependent adult as a form of dependent adult abuse by a caretaker regulated by DHS – LAI Position: Monitor  

Senate File 335 – New carbon monoxide standards for new construction of most aging services providers – LAI Position: Monitor   

Senate File 481 – Provides an individual tax credit for community college students pursing a credential leading to a high-demand occupation – LAI Position: Monitor  

Senate File 525 – Allows qualified entities to request national criminal history checks of certain covered individuals – LAI Position: Monitor  

House File 538 – Relates to changes of mandatory training for child abuse and dependent adult abuse reporter training requirements – LAI Position: Monitor   

On a Lighter Note… 

As part of a more recent funnel week tradition, LAI’s Director of Government Relations, Matt Blake, wore his “Silly Suit” up to the Iowa Capitol this week for his third annual fundraiser for Variety – The Children’s Charity.  If Matt reaches his fundraising goal from lobbyists and friends, Matt wears an outrageous suit to the Iowa Capitol during funnel week.  Supporters of the fundraiser vote by their donations among three potential suits, and Matt must wear whichever crazy suit gets the most donations.   

This year, Matt raised $2,650 dollars in a week for charity.  Please enjoy Matt’s “Silly Suit”:


 

 

 

 

 


Legislative Update, February 25 - March 1, Week Six

This was an extremely busy week for LAI and the Iowa legislature. LAI members presented to the Health and Human Services (HHS) budget subcommittee, and several members headed to the Iowa Capitol for the LAI Day on the Hill. These one-on-one interactions with legislators were vital for advancing the interests of aging services. 

With the first funnel deadline next week, debate will slowly shift from policy debate to appropriations. The First Funnel deadline is where a bill must have committee approval to remain viable unless it is an appropriations or tax-related matter.  Therefore, many policy bills will be off the table after next week.  

It is essential that all LAI members contact their local legislators about the financial issues facing nursing facilities and aging services.  Grassroots involvement from organizational leaders, team members, board members, and even residents when possible is essential to help legislators understand the importance of the funding and make it a priority this session.  LAI is asking for $54.9 million from the legislature for nursing facility rebase, which is far greater than any other previous appropriation for the rebase in past years. Only tremendous grassroots advocacy will get legislators to consider such a tremendous ask. 

To support these efforts, LAI will be sending an action alert about the nursing facility rebase for you to share with your Board of Directors, leadership staff, and anyone else who wants to advocate for fully funding nursing facilities and aging resources.  The action alerts are an easy way to lend a voice to the issue, but we also encourage personal conversations when possible.  It will take the efforts of many to help legislators understand the importance of this funding.  

PACE Legislative Presentation

On Tuesday, LAI and the PACE (Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) members, Immanuel Pathways and Siouxland PACE, presented to the Health and Human Services (HHS) budget subcommittee at the Iowa Capitol. The HHS budget subcommittee is the committee charged with allocating the funding for the state of Iowa for health-related appropriations, such as Iowa Medicaid funding. 

 

Due to the state budgeting process typically occurring near the end of legislative session, the first few months of HHS budget meetings are educational in nature. This year, the HHS subcommittee chose to hear about PACE. As a unique provider type that offers comprehensive care for the people they serve, the presentation was educational and enlightening. Dr. Adam Vosson from Immanuel Pathways and Randy Ehlers from Siouxland PACE provided a complete overview of who PACE serves, the funding structure, how they care for their patients, and challenges for expanding PACE in the future. 

Legislators were very interested in the care model and even asked for follow up conversations after the presentation. Congratulations to Immanuel Pathways and Siouxland PACE on their great work and advocacy!

 

LAI Day on the Hill

LAI hosted a dozen LAI members at the Iowa Capitol on Wednesday to advocate in person for nursing facility rebase, HCBS and LUPA funding, and the Temp Agency Legislation (House File 298). 

LAI members pulled their legislators from the floor of the Iowa House and Iowa Senate and met in person. Legislators are always excited to meet with constituents from their home district, especially ones that are a large employer who care for some of Iowa’s most vulnerable populations. 

 

 

 

Hearing from aging services leaders from their community had tremendous persuasive impact. Members sharing their stories helps legislators connect better than any email or phone call. LAI hopes the one on one contacts will be critical for helping for large appropriation asks late in the Iowa legislative session.  A special thanks to those members who were able to travel to Des Moines and visit with their legislators this week. 

 

 

Nursing Facility Rebase

Mixed messages came from the Iowa legislature regarding the nursing facility rebase. LAI had positive news from Iowa House Republicans, but Senate budget targets, which are $48 million less than the House, make it even more difficult to reach the $54.9 million nursing facility rebase ask. 

During LAI’s Day on the Hill, many House Republican legislators were eager to tell their LAI members that the nursing facility rebase was discussed on Wednesday morning among their caucus. Many stated this will be a top issue for the caucus moving forward. However, no one was willing to disclose the exact number for the rebase funding.  

The Iowa Senate released budget targets this week, and they are $48 million lower than the Iowa House’s from last week. Additionally, the Senate HHS budget target is $34,536,535 less than last year. This news does not seem promising, but in the press release with the budget targets, it states the HHS budget would account for $106 million in new funding for health care. While it is uncertain where that money will go, it does provide hope and affirm the need for grassroots advocacy on this issue.  

Bill Tracking

Senate File 153- Changes the definition of a “vulnerable elder” – LAI position: Monitor   

Senate File 152– Removes requirement of personal profit for caretaker financial exploitation – LAI position: Monitor    

Senate File 18 – Eliminates the CON process – LAI position: Against    

House Study Bill 74 - Technical fix to personal degradation law allowing for a variance in penalties – LAI position: Monitor    

House Study Bill 70 – Attorney General elder abuse law changes – LAI position: Monitor    

House File 291 – Increases the community spouse allowance for the Medicaid spend-down to align with federal law– LAI position: Monitor    

House File 295 - Removes the Hospice room and board pass through and allows the MCOs to pay nursing facilities directly – LAI position: For   

House File 296 - Changes enrollment screening standards for HCBS by requiring pre-screening, financial review, and level of care assessment prior to being placed on the waiver waiting list– LAI position: Monitor    

Senate Study Bill 1138 - Allow an excuse from jury service for persons at least seventy-two years of age – LAI Position: Monitor 

Senate Study Bill 1062 – Creates personal degradation of a dependent adult as a form of dependent adult abuse by a caretaker regulated by DHS – LAI Position: Monitor 

Senate File 335 – New carbon monoxide standards for new construction of most aging services providers – LAI Position: Monitor  

Senate File 297 – Provides and individual tax credit for community college students pursing a credential leading to a high-demand occupation – LAI Position: Monitor 

House Study Bill 208 – Allows qualified entities to request national criminal history checks of certain covered individuals – LAI Position: Monitor 

House File 538 – Relates to changes of mandatory training for child abuse and dependent adult abuse reporter training requirements. – LAI Position: Monitor 

House Study Bill 215 – Encumbrance of real property held by a recipient of medical assistance.