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District 72 Update

March 5, 2020
By State Rep. Dean Fisher - R-Montour , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

District 72 Newsletter

Week seven of the session was marked by debate. Most of the bills we are running at this time are non-controversial bills, most receive unanimous or near unanimous support and only take a few minutes to introduce and pass on the House Floor with little or no debate. But these bills are no less important. They contain critical updates to insurance law, updates to details of how our government operates, and much more. We are sending House bills over to the Senate for later action.

There has been a growing concern throughout Iowa's rural communities about access to emergency medical services. A common misconception is that emergency medical services are considered an essential service under the Iowa Code, however, they are not. Under current law, it is an option for counties to choose to make it an essential service. Also under current law, county supervisors may fund these services by voter approval through a local option income surtax or a form of property sales tax. Additionally, if it is considered an essential service, it has to be re-approved every five years.

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State Rep. Dean Fisher

House File 2434 makes significant changes to the emergency medical services code. The first change allows the county board of supervisors to declare EMS an essential service without calling for an election to approve this decision. EMS advocates believe that this will greatly reduce the burden and cost of declaring EMS an essential service.

This bill also gets rid of the five-year sunset that requires the voters to re-approve emergency medical services. Voters would still have the option to end EMS as an essential service by reverse referendum. EMS advocates have complained that they are uncomfortable making investments like purchasing equipment if after only five years the service could not be renewed.

A new requirement under this bill is that a county that adopts EMS as an essential service shall create an EMS Advisory Council to develop how the EMS program will be structured and work throughout the county. Current law only allows counties to enter into 28E agreements with other counties. This bill removes that barrier and allows counties to enter into 28E agreements with other entities .

Currently, in the Health and Human Services Budget there is $303,000 that is appropriated to the Emergency Medical Services Fund. The money is divided equally amongst the counties. Also, Iowa Code lays out an enumerated list of items that these funds could be spent on. This bill changes that to include any operational cost. In addition to the above-mentioned changes to emergency medical services, House File 2224 appropriates the revenue from sports wagering (estimated between $2-3 million) to the Emergency Medical Services Trust Fund.

House File 2339, a bill to ensure our freedom of speech, passed the House this week. In 2017, a small family-owned newspaper in western Iowa published a story about a local police officer's sexual relationship with a teenager and other previous questionable actions. This story ultimately led to the resignation of the police officer, who was under threat of termination. The ex-officer then sued the paper for libel. The newspaper ultimately won the lawsuit but was forced to incur thousands of dollars in legal fees, simply for exposing the truth. These types of lawsuits, known as Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP), are intended to silence bad press and suppress free speech by dragging people through costly and lengthy court fights. This bill provides individuals with a new avenue to have frivolous SLAPP lawsuits reviewed by a judge in a timely manner, so they can be dismissed early in the legal process. This legislation ensures that freedom of speech is protected and that when someone's bad actions or misdeeds are brought to light, they are held accountable.

Iowa faces a shortage of health care providers in many areas of the state. This includes primary care, specialty care, and mental health care. Easing this shortage and attracting health care providers, specifically to rural communities, has been one of House Republican's top priorities over the last several sessions. We can start to address a shortage of providers by keeping our best and brightest right here in the state. House File 2383 aims to do just that by requiring the University of Iowa Colleges of Medicine and Dentistry to prioritize Iowa students over out-of-state students. This legislation requires at least 75% of admitted students to be residents of Iowa or to have completed their undergrad here in the state. This bill will help Iowa retain health care professionals to practice here after graduation. Students with previous ties to the state are more likely to stay in Iowa, work in Iowa, pay taxes in Iowa, and raise their families in Iowa. There is no guarantee that students from New York or California will remain in the state following graduation. The University of Iowa is a taxpayer-funded institution and exists to serve the State of Iowa and the citizens of Iowa. Sadly, House Democrats voted to keep Iowans out of their own taxpayer-funded medical and dental schools.

The 2020 Census is approaching and it is important for every Iowan to participate. This year, for the first time, you can respond online, by paper or over the phone. The census equals money for states, cities and communities. Funds from the federal government will be distributed to the states to support all types of government services, including infrastructure, healthcare, social welfare and education. Census data will be used to redraw district lines to determine representation at the federal, state and local level. Businesses use census data to decide where to locate new facilities. Census Day is April 1, but online responses will start being accepted in March. Additionally, Iowa is still looking for census takers. These are good paying jobs with flexible hours. For more information, visit

It's always fun to greet my constituents down here in this beautiful building. On Thursday Sharon Scherrer from Traer and her group of six foreign students with the American Councils for International Education toured the capitol and visited with us legislators. This is always a fun group to host and talk with high school students from many different countries. By all means, please come visit the capitol!



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