Editor's Note; This is a new legislative column submitterd by State Senator Jeff Edler (R-State?Center) who was elected in November, 2106, to Iowa Senate Seat 36 representing Tama, Marshall and a portion of southeastern Black Hawk counties.
In the Legislature:
We passed three bills out of the Senate this week: SF2 expanding healthcare choices for women; SF 32 private sector employee drug testing; and F 166 - setting supplemental state aid for FY 18
Senator Edler (R-State Center) met with some students from GMG this week, as a part of FFA Day on the Hill.
Senate File 130, the deappropriations bill, was signed by the Governor on Wednesday.
This was a bill to fix a budget shortfall. It was passed out of the Senate last week and the House of Representatives passed it on Monday.
Education remains a priority- As I promised in the campaign, I would do everything I could to ensure schools knew, in a timely manner, what their funding would be. The Senate Republicans have put forward $40 million of new spending for Iowa schools. This is just one piece of a multi-faceted funding plan for FY18 education funding. We did change one facet of the law, so we will no longer set the funding two years prior, as it was not being followed. It is irresponsible to set that number before we know what our revenues are.
We feel we are providing responsible and sustainable funding for local school districts. Our schools have been disappointed in the past to be promised a certain amount of money, only for the Legislature to under-deliver. We cannot and will not do that to our schools. We want to set supplemental state aid (SSA) early in the session to help our school districts budget and plan. We want to promise them an amount we know we can sustain, so they can effectively plan their budget.
It's time to move forward so schools can create their budgets and conduct their primary business educating our children.
Senate File 2 Passes the Senate- This week, Senate File 2 cleared the full Senate Judiciary Committee and passed during floor debate with overwhelming support, 30-20. Since this bill was introduced on the first day of the legislative session, I have received numerous emails, phone calls and visits from constituents, on both sides of the issue.
SF2 would create a new state family planning program, eliminating the current family planning waiver that currently goes to abortion providers. The new program opens up a host of new opportunities for people to receive all their primary health care needs from more than 200 Medicaid waiver eligible clinics. The only clinics excluded in this bill are those who perform abortions.
One of the reasons I supported this legislation is because it creates more access for women to receive their health care needs. These new providers are federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics. This would equate to more than 800 providers billed for services and medications including hospitals, medical centers, clinics, gynecologists, primary care physicians, Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners and pharmacies, according to the Department of Human Services.
Senate Republicans are a pro-life caucus, and this has been our long-standing position. Senate File 2 offers many Iowans the confidence that their tax dollars are not being spent in a way that violates their conscience, while providing more healthcare choices for more women. I was proud to support this bill.
I am the vice chair of the Education Committee, and serve on the Agriculture, Judiciary, Veterans Affairs, and Ways and Means Committees. Additionally, I serve on the Health and Human Services Appopriations Subcommittee.