Hite Capitol Update: 02/06/20

by Dustin Hite

This week of session was a bit shortened because we took Monday off to be in our home districts for the caucuses. It really is a privilege that we as Iowans hold first in the nation status for our caucuses. This gives us a seat at the table and allows us to vet presidential hopefuls up close. In turn, the people of our state take this responsibility seriously, and many of us make sure to make informed decisions on caucus night. I encourage all Iowans to support this wonderful tradition and responsibility our state gets to enjoy.

The week may have been shorter, but it was still just as busy. I want to mention a couple of subcommittees I sat on this week. The first was House Study Bill 584. This bill creates a length of service award program for volunteer firefighters and EMS providers, where the state, city, and individual contribute. This should help with the shortage of volunteer firefighters and EMS providers in the state by providing a financial incentive to those that agree to serve in those positions. I am happy to say it passed through the subcommittee and is now ready for consideration by the full Local Government Committee.

I also had the chance to sit on the subcommittee for House File 2011. This bill would help those that have received a deferred judgement either get a job or keep their job if it requires an occupational license. When granting a deferred judgement, the court has determined that a person deserves a second chance. This bill ensures licensing agencies do not try to undo that second chance. It passed through our subcommittee and is now on to consideration by the full Judiciary Committee.

This week House Republicans advanced two bills out of committee to increase child care provider rates and introduced legislation to address the “cliff effect” in the child care assistance program. These are just three of the priority bills that we have introduced this session to address access and affordability of child care.

House File 2067 unanimously passed the Human Resources Committee to increase child care provider rates in the Child Care Assistance Program below the 50th percentile of the 2017 Market Rate Survey up to the 50th percentile, and also increases rates to child care providers under the quality rating system bonuses to reflect the increased rates as appropriate. This amounts to a $7.2 million increase to child care providers accepting CCA. This legislation is important because between FY2018 and FY2019, there was a reduction of 18 child care centers, 140 child development homes, and 99 unregistered homes accepting CCA in the state.

House File 2128 also passed the Human Resources Committee with bipartisan votes to expand the definition of “infant and toddler” to include children age two weeks to three years. Currently the “infant and toddler” pay class only goes up to the age of two years. The Governor recommended this change in definition to increase rates to providers by $2.3 million.

House File 2203 was introduced this week and assigned a subcommittee to address the “cliff effect” in the child care assistance program. Currently, Iowans are limited in their ability to be successful. Parents receiving Child Care Assistance are actually discouraged to increase take home pay and encouraged to remain on welfare. The state places a significant child care financial barrier in their way. House Republicans are committed to help Iowans stuck in welfare dependency by allowing them to accept raises or promotions at work due instead being pushed over the welfare cliff. Our proposal extends the financial eligibility to those families receiving Child Care Assistance with a staggered increase in payment from the family to begin preparing them to pay for child care costs.

Finally, I would like to mention the visitors from the district I had the opportunity to meet with this week. Ann Frost from the Oskaloosa Area Chamber and Development Group and Deann DeGroot of Mahaska County Agricultural and Rural Development visited. I also got to meet with students from Oskaloosa High School and Indian Hills Community College for Career and Technical Education Day on the Hill. And, my cousin Blaine Vos visited as well. As always, if you are visiting the Capitol and would like to meet with me, I encourage you to reach out to me at dustin.hite@legis.iowa.gov to set up a meeting. Lastly, I would like to remind everyone I will be at Eggs and Issues this Saturday, February 8, at 8:30 AM at Smokey Row. Please come out if you would like to ask me questions about legislation this session.

Posted by on Feb 6 2020. Filed under Local News, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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