The Rozenboom Report – April 8th, 2022

by Senator Ken Rozenboom

As we moved towards the scheduled adjournment of April 19, this week the Senate passed a number of policy bills. The final weeks of session are also the time for state budgets for the next fiscal year to be developed, negotiated, and adopted. Senate Republicans have been and remain committed to passing conservative, sustainable budgets, carefully providing funding to areas like mental health, public safety, and education, while ensuring the largest income tax cuts in Iowa history remain sustainable.

The Senate advanced a bill this week to create more options for maternal support programs in Iowa and utilize a nonprofit organization to promote healthy pregnancies and childbirth. Under this bill, Senate File 2381, the Department of Human Services would create the More Options for Maternal Support program, or the MOMS program. It is a statewide program to promote healthy pregnancies and childbirth and personalized support to pregnant women. It also provides stability, promotes improved pregnancy outcomes, improves child health and development, and family economic self-sufficiency.

The program will provide a number of support services for pregnant women, including nutritional services, housing assistance, adoption education and services, child care assistance, parenting education and support, health tests and screenings, and counseling. It would also include items that help women after childbirth, like cribs, car seats, diapers, and formula.

Additionally, the bill also extends postpartum coverage for women under Medicaid from 60 days to 12 months. This extension gives more support to women after the birth of their child and as they are adjusting to life as a parent. It’s my hope that the House will take this bill up soon and send it to the Governor.

Last year the House passed House File 604, a bill that was designed to improve Iowa’s services to children who are born deaf or hard of hearing. This bill was assigned to me in the Senate and, while I believed HF 604 was good legislation, I also thought it could be improved. Over the interim and into this session I worked closely with families of deaf and hard of hearing children, with the Dept. of Education (DOE) and the Area Education Agencies (AEAs), and with hearing, speech, and language specialists.

The Senate amended the original bill and this week the Senate unanimously passed the amended version and sent it back to the House. In turn the House passed the bill and sent it down to the governor for her signature.

This legislation requires the DOE and the AEAs to provide services like American Sign Language and other communication methods to help these children communicate effectively so when they begin their school years they can better communicate with their peers and be successful in school. Currently, many of these children start behind their peers, and never catch up. Additionally, the bill also requires that the DOE create a family support mentoring program to help families cope with and learn how to support their deaf or hard of hearing child.

On Tuesday the Senate passed Senate File 2383, another proposal from Governor Reynolds to address the workforce shortage. It addresses our workforce needs by eliminating regulations, reducing barriers to licensure, and promoting career opportunities. The bill amends current healthcare loan forgiveness and recruitment programs to cover more professionals, giving greater opportunity to those in rural areas and professions of need in the medical community. Another provision ensures that work-based learning is properly structured by school districts to provide exposure to high-paying careers outside of post-secondary education.

SF 2383 builds upon Iowa’s existing quality of life programs for our active-duty military members, veterans, and their spouses. It fast-tracks professional and occupational licenses for military spouses and veterans and eliminates entry hurdles by waiving the application and first renewal fees. This bill also eliminates costly hurdles and regulations for workers and housing projects by prohibiting a county or city from requiring an inspection of a manufactured home that was already inspected by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

As we wrap up the final days and weeks of the legislative session I encourage you to reach out to me on issues and bills of interest. It has been an historic session. I am eager to do all I can to continue to make Iowa a better place and to grow our state.

Posted by on Apr 8 2022. 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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