IPHA Advocacy Committee and the 88th Iowa General Assembly – Legislative Recap
By: Chris Espersen & Brandon Rohrig, IPHA Advocacy Committee Co-chairs
The IPHA Advocacy committee meets year-round, with a particular focus while the Iowa legislature is in session. Our role is to monitor bills making their way through the legislature that significantly impact public health and inform the membership. The IPHA 2019 Policy Priorities focused on increasing support for Health in All Policies and public health investment.
Major events this year:
Public Health Day on the Hill was successful despite occurring the day after the worst blizzard of the year. There were 14 public health advocates present at the capitol speaking with different legislators. Messages were focused on the American Public Health Association’s #SpeakForHealth campaign as well as the “Know Public Health” versus No Public Health posters
HF 766 completed the budget for public health that saw funds remain the same from the year before, including a permanent loss of $300,000 to IDPH. These funds were transferred in 2016 from LPHS to the medical cannabinoid to start its funding. Now that the cannabinoid program is self-sustaining, Governor Reynolds supported transferring the funds back, however this was not included in the final bill. The Governor signed the legislation and the Department now considers this to be a permanent cut.
SF 438 sought, among other things, to remove the mandate for schools to perform vision and dental screenings and put the onus of reporting the lead screening on the parents. IPHA members Delaney Bounds and Lynh Patterson put together an amazing informational sheet on SF 438 which was sent to the committee and legislators.
Despite the tremendous loss with regards to House File 766, the session was a quiet one without too much disturbance on the public health front. There were multiple bills that were introduced and some moved forward without making it to a vote. Looking ahead to 2020, we will be watching for issues ranging from immunizations to funding and more. Watch your inbox for Action Alerts outlining ways you can #SpeakForHealth in Iowa.
The advocacy committee recently transferred the co-chair reigns from long time leaders Susan Pohl and Julie McMahon to Chris Espersen and Brandon Rohrig. Susan and Julie led the committee for many years – no one can seem to recall when they actually started. Their leadership is much appreciated and evident from the breadth of the current committee.
Upcoming Advocacy Events:
Thursday, December 5, 2019 - Legislative Forum Register here
Monday, February 10, 2020 - Public Health Day on the HIll Register here