Fall Legislative Update - Prepping for 2020 Session

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Iowa Department of Public Health - Protecting and Improving the Health of Iowans

Fall Interim Update

Legislative Update

In this edition: 

  • Developing Policy Proposals for 2020
  • Tracking Bills
  • Inside State Government: 2020 Session Timeline
  • Inside IDPH: Health Equity
  • IDPH Policy and Best Practices Opportunities 
  • Reminder: Boards and Commissions
  • Upcoming: Resources on Working with Elected Officials

Capitol rotunda

Developing Policy Proposals for 2020

The IDPH executive team has been meeting with legislators and governor's office representatives, and reviewing actions the department has carried out related to legislation passed in the 2019 session. The team is also beginning discussions on policy proposals for the 2020 session. 

Policy proposals which impact IDPH come from the governor's office and other state agencies, legislative leadership, legislative committees, individual legislators, lobbyists, advocates and members of the public.  

IDPH anticipates being active on policy proposals related to maternal health, behind-the-counter hormonal contraceptives, tobacco and vaping, medical cannabidiol program updates, children's mental health and more. 

In addition to new bills that will be introduced this session, a number of bills from last session are still eligible as part of the two-year 88th General Assembly. Those bills can be found at this link.     

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Tracking Bills 

During meetings with local public health we've been asking for input on what's helpful in tracking legislation.

This upcoming session in our newsletter we will: 

  • Provide an Excel spreadsheet of bills we are tracking, including the past three most recent actions by the legislature.
  • Highlight bills that the department will register for/against. (While registered to lobby, executive branch agencies often do not advocate for or against particular bills, but instead provide opportunities for lawmakers and others to learn more about potential impacts of policy proposals, including community and population health impact, as well as fiscal impact. 
  • Include more environmental health bills such as legislation regarding animal feeding operations, and clean water and air issues.
  • Continue to provide resources on how you can best use the Legislative Services Agency's many bill tracking tools to tailor your bill tracking needs to your agency or organization. (Hint: Get a jump on learning these tools with this video.)
  • Work with stakeholders and other public health partners to share important information as it's happening at the Statehouse.
  • Ask for your input on continuing to improve this process.

Inside State Government: Session Timeline

The 2020 Session Calendar is available here

  • Jan. 13 - First day of session 
  • Jan. 24 - Final day for individual Senator and Representative requests for bill and joint resolution drafts to the Legislative Services Agency 
  • Feb. 21 - Final date for Senate bills and joint resolutions to be reported out of Senate committees and House bills and joint resolutions out of House committees
  • Feb. 24 - 28 Senate considers only Senate bills, joint resolutions, and unfinished business. House considers only House bills, joint resolutions, and unfinished business
  • March 2 - March 13 Debate not limited by rule
  • March 20 - Final date for Senate bills and joint resolutions to be reported out of House committees and House bills and joint resolutions out of Senate committees
  • March 23 - 27 - Senate considers only House bills, joint resolutions, and unfinished business - House considers only Senate bills, joint resolutions, and unfinished business
  • March 30 - Only certain bills and resolutions are eligible for consideration
  • April 6 - Amendments need not be filed on the day preceding floor debate 
  • April 21 - 100th calendar day of the session (Per diem expenses end)

Equity Equality Image

Inside IDPH: Health Equity

IDPH continues to examine health equity and how to incorporate this concept in to the work with do on behalf of Iowans. 

At IDPH, health equity means working toward the highest possible level of health for all people. That means achieving the environmental, social, economic and other conditions in which all people have the opportunity to attain their highest possible level of health.

IDPH has initiated a forum to allow staff to explore the concepts of health equity and incorporate this in to the functions of the department. By viewing public health through a health equity lens, we can reach the people and communities most in need of our support.

State Board of Health Update 

The State Board of Health met in early September, and among its business was finalizing a letter that supports Iowa's Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. You can find that letter at this link. 

The board meets again on Nov. 13. 

Policy and Best Practices Opportunities 

As the department develops policy proposals, we look toward other states and national organizations for their expertise and collaboration. One of those groups is the National Governors Association (NGA). 

Iowa recently participated in an NGA Learning Lab in Albuquerque on harm reduction strategies including a review of sterile needle exchange programs. A team traveled to the two-day conference and continues to examine policies and programs that can impact the spread of infectious disease. 

Iowa also plans for a team to attend an NGA Best Practices Summit on Addressing the Spread of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases this December in Washington DC. 

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Reminder: Boards and Commissions

IDPH has many opportunities to serve on boards and commissions. Please check out the types of opportunities here

If you're interested in applying, please go to: https://openup.iowa.gov/

Upcoming: Working With Elected Officials 

In the next edition, we'll post a presentation with tools and resources for working with local, state and federal elected officials, and review the difference between advocacy and lobbying.