by Charlotte Eby - Managing Director of Government Affairs, LS2group
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Trade deal praised as good for Iowa farmers and manufacturers
The North American trade deal inked this week known as USMCA earned praise from Gov. Kim Reynolds, who said it would expand markets for Iowa producers with Iowa’s top trading partners – Mexico and Canada.
“President Trump successfully negotiated a strong, balanced and reciprocal trade agreement that will benefit Iowa and the entire nation,” Reynolds said in a statement. “Years from now, USMCA will prove to be a major boost to Iowa’s economy, especially for families, farmers, manufacturers and small businesses.”
Gov. Reynolds makes appointment to the Iowa Supreme Court
Gov. Kim Reynolds this week appointed Swisher attorney Dana Oxley to serve as a new justice on the Iowa Supreme Court to fill a vacancy created by the death of Chief Justice Mark Cady last year. Oxley practices with a prominent Cedar Rapids law firm and serves as an adjunct law professor at the University of Iowa College of Law.
“Dana Oxley is an exceptional lawyer with a uniquely Iowa story,” Reynolds said in a statement announcing the appointment. “She will be a valuable new addition to the Iowa Supreme Court. I look forward to watching her serve Iowans in this important role for years to come.”
Telehealth bill advances in House
The House Human Resources Committee advanced HF2001, a bill that would require telehealth encounters with medical providers to be considered the same as in-person visits for insurance reimbursement purposes. A large coalition of health care providers and advocates is supporting the legislation, which met a crucial procedural deadline to remain alive for the session.
The measure is one of several meant to increase access to health care, particularly in rural areas of the state where fewer health care providers are available. Beyond tele-health, the state has made recent advancements in regulating teledentistry and telepharmacy to reach patients and make health care more accessible.
School funding debate begins
Leaders from the House and Senate have released their funding plans for Iowa’s K-12 schools and what is known as supplemental state aid for the next school year. The House version would increase state aid by 2.5 percent, or roughly $100 million next year. Senate Republicans are offering a more modest increase of 2.1 percent, or more than $91 million, including funding to ease the disparity of higher transportation costs for rural schools and to address violent student behavior in the classroom. Gov. Reynolds has already proposed more than $103 million in new funding for Iowa schools.
Life sentence means life sentence
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would require criminal defendants given life sentences to remain in prison – even if they were pronounced dead and revived. SF2007 was introduced after an Iowa inmate died but was revived. The inmate claimed he had technically served for his entire natural life and should be released from custody. The legislation clarifies that “life” means a defendant’s natural life, regardless of any life-sustaining measures, ensuring he remains in prison. With committee passage, the measure now moves to the full Senate for consideration.