August 2, 2019
Greeting to you all,
I just finished up my 32nd RAGBRAI this year. We had some challenging days with heat and some big hills. The ride this year was a southern route from Council Bluffs to Keokuk. It was very enjoyable to see Iowa and all that it has to offer. Many of the towns small and large benefited from the numbers of people who purchased food and beverage on the ride. The crops looked good except with some areas that experienced flooding this past year. Hopefully I’m able to ride another RAGBRAI next year.
After being ousted from his position in June, former Director of the Dept. of Human Services Jerry Foxhoven said he is filing a whistleblower protection lawsuit against Governor Reynolds this week. He claims he was dismissed from his job because he refused to comply with the Reynolds’ Administration “illegal” order to use state tax dollars dedicated to health care to pay for salaries in the Governor’s Office. According to reports, Governor Reynolds asked the former director to continue to pay the salary of two employees from the Department of Human Services after they had moved jobs into the governor’s office. The Governor’s request came after Republican lawmakers gave Reynolds an additional $200,000 this year to fund her office.
While the Governor has disputed the claims, the Reynolds Administration has still refused to provide any details or reasons for pushing out Foxhoven. Democratic lawmakers have made a formal request that the House Oversight Committee open an investigation into this latest health care scandal. With billions of tax dollars and the health care for hundreds of thousands of Iowans on the line, the Iowa Legislature should provide oversight and hold the executive branch accountable.
The latest controversy is just another sign of the turmoil Iowans are facing in our health care system, especially in Medicaid privatization. Last month, the Reynolds Administration signed new contracts and gave huge raises to the out-of-state, for-profit companies (MCO’s) managing the state’s Medicaid program. The new contracts include a raise of 8.6% and will cost Iowa taxpayers another $115 million this year without any guarantees the additional money will go to improve care for patients or pay Iowa providers what they are already owed by the MCO’s.
Iowa’s tax-free weekend falls on August 2 and 3 for back-to-school shopping. During that time, shoppers do not have to pay Iowa’s 6% sales tax on clothing and footwear less than $100. After a data breach last year by Equifax, the company has agreed to divvy out $700 million to consumers who may have been affected. Consumers should sign up at www.ftc.gov/Equifax or call 1-833-759-2982 for more information.
As always, the Iowa Legislature’s webpage, www.legis.iowa.gov, has a great amount of information for you to read. In addition to reading bills and finding out what’s happening in the House or Senate on any given day, you can now listen to or watch our debates live, when we are in session. I currently serve on five committees for this session: Commerce, Local Government, Public Safety, Environmental Protection, and the Economic Development Budget Sub Committee.
Please check out all my other information and pictures from the current session on my website www.bobkressig.com. In addition to listening posts and forums, you can also reach me by email anytime or call me at home at 319-266-9021. We can also stay connected through social media, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. I appreciate hearing from you and I thank you for your continued support.
Thank you for taking the time to read the Statehouse News. Please keep in touch and enjoy the weather!
Upcoming Community Events
8/2-4 Iowa Irish Fest Lincoln Park, 234-9029
8/3 CVSC/Irish Fest Leprechaun Cup Cedar Valley Soccer Complex, 9am, 830-4292
8/3-4 Waterloo Bucks vs. Mankato MoonDogs Riverfront Stadium, 232-0500
8/3-4 School of Rock Oster Regent Theatre, Sat 7:30pm; Sun 2pm, 277-5283
8/5 Waterloo Bucks vs. Thunder Bay Border Cats Riverfront Stadium, 232-0500
8/6 August Ensembles Overman Park, 7pm, 266- 1253
8/7 Waterloo Bucks vs. Thunder Bay Border Cats Riverfront Stadium, 232-0500
8/9 Friday’Loo – Laurie Morvan Band Lincoln Park, 5:30pm, 291-2038
8/9 Movies Under the Moon – Iron Man Overman Park, 6:30pm, 277-0213
8/9 Family Movie Night: Incredibles 2 Riverfront Stadium, 7pm, 232-0500
8/9-10 School of Rock Oster Regent Theatre, 7:30pm, 277-5283
8/10 Stem & Stein RiverLoop Expo Plaza, 4pm, 291-4490
8/10-11 Waterloo Bucks vs. Eau Claire Express Riverfront Stadium, 232-0500
8/13 August Ensembles Overman Park, 7pm, 266- 1253
8/14 Gladys Knight *GBPAC, 7pm, 273-7469
8/16 RiverLoop Rhythms – Avey/Grouws Band RiverLoop Amphitheater, 5:30-9:30pm, 291- 4490
8/16-18 55th Annual Old Time Power Show Antique Acres, 987-2380
8/17 Fondo Cedar Valley Overman Park, 10am, 493-5371
|News from the Statehouse|
Opioid Deaths in Iowa Down by 33%
Deaths due to opioids have sharply decreased in Iowa. In 2016, there were 180 opioid-related deaths in our state. This amount rose to 207 opioid-related deaths in 2017, but dropped to 133 people in 2018, which is a decrease of 33%.
Some of the success has been credited to legislation passed in 2018 that required pharmacies to use the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) which decreased the number of opioid prescriptions and the amount prescribed. The PMP became operational in 2009 and allows authorized prescribers and pharmacists to view information about their patients’ use of controlled substances. This is a tool used in determining appropriate prescribing and treatment of patients without fear of contributing to a patient’s abuse or dependence on addictive drugs or diversion to illegal drugs.
The bill also directed the Board of Pharmacy to issue a report to each prescribing practitioner that has the summary of the practitioner’s history of prescribing controlled substances; a comparison to other practitioner’s prescribing activities, and educational updates. This helps the Board identify patients who are at risk for potentially abusing or misusing prescription controlled substances and notify the practitioners of the risk.
Expanded access to Narcan, an overdose reversal drug, has also had an impact on the decreasing amount of opioid-related deaths in Iowa. When family members, friends, or emergency personnel have access to this reversal drug, it gives them time to take the overdose victim to the hospital to receive life-saving care.
Overall, Iowa has one of the lowest rates of opioid-related deaths in the country. To learn more about opioid use in Iowa, please visit https://idph.iowa.gov/substance-abuse/opioid-update.
Sports Betting Coming to Iowa
As the summer winds down, the state of Iowa will be gearing up for the start of a favorite past time of many, college football season. On average more than 135,000 people each weekend pack the stands of the four division one schools in Iowa to cheer on their team and starting this year they may have more than bragging rights on the line for the game.
The Iowa Racing and Gaming commission will have sports betting available starting in the middle of August before the start of the football season. This will allow Iowans to make bets on sporting events across the country. Legalized sports wagering was passed last legislative session, and now that the administrative rules have been adopted, there will be an option for Iowans who choose this form of entertainment.
Iowans will be allowed to bet on college and professional athletic events; however they will not be allowed to bet on an event where any of the participants are under the age of 18. They are also are not allowed to place a wager on the individual performance of an athlete, where a college or university from Iowa is involved in the contest.
Participants will be allowed to place a wager from their phone but must first register an account with a licensed casino that offers sports betting.
|Read More News from the Statehouse|
Results of the 2018 Iowa Angler Survey
Iowa Schools Receive Computer Science Awards
Recent Fish Kills Attributed to Heat and Spills