March 13, 2020
Greetings to you all,
Week nine has brought a lot of change to the Iowa Legislature. While we passed countless legislation this week, the developing situation around COVID-19 around Iowa and the nation has held our attention.
While there are very few diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in Iowa, social distancing is recommended by health officials to prevent the spread. This means avoiding large gatherings of people and cancelling or postponing events that are not immediately necessary. These measures will help slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our medical system from being overwhelmed.
Iowans should be taking steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but that does not mean that they should begin hoarding supplies. It is hard for high traffic areas and doctors’ offices to keep people safe if there is no cleaning supplies, soap, or toilet paper available.
Steps outside of social distancing include staying home if you are feeling unwell, practicing good respiratory hygiene by coughing and sneezing into a tissue or the crook of your arm, washing your hands often, and minimizing the amount of times you touch your eyes, mouth, and nose.
For more information, the Iowa Department of Public Health is providing daily updates on COVID-19. These can be found at their website: idph.iowa.gov
This week I had the chance to meet with some local constituents. The first group I had the chance to chat with was UNI’s student government delegation. We had the chance to discuss additional funding for UNI as well as issues facing Cedar Falls.
I had the pleasure of meeting William Heathershaw, the founder of Iowa Love. Iowa Love is a brand of clothing that has Heathershaw’s logo that looks like the word “Iowa” and “love” simultaneously. Iowa Love is sold by local retailers in communities across the state. Fifty percent of Iowa Love’s quarterly earnings are donated to local Iowa-based nonprofits.
Members of the Alzheimer’s Association came to visit Wednesday afternoon to discuss how to best prepare Iowa for a future influx of patients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
I was disappointed that the House passed legislation this week to change the cap for THC limits in the Iowa Medical Cannabis Program. The restriction of 4.5 grams for a 90 day supply that was passed will prevent almost 50% of patients from receiving the dose they need. Many patients may be able to have a full dose for a few days, but will not be able to sustain it for the full 90 days. A cap of 15 grams that was suggested by House Democrats would allow 88% of patients to have their full dose and the 25 gram cap proposed by the Iowa Senate would allow all patients except for 0.2% from receiving their full dose.
We need to keep Iowans safe and give them a chance to manage their pain with a safer alternative to highly addictive opioids. The current plan as well as the proposed plan by House Republicans will only jeopardize the Medical Cannabis Program and force Iowans to either illegally obtain unsafe cannabis or return to using opioids to manage their pain.
As your Representative, I hope to reflect your interests and concerns in my work at the Capitol, so please reach out at any time. 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 listen to or watch our debates live.
Please check out other information and pictures from the current session on my website www.bobkressig.com. In addition to listening posts, forums, and Black Hawk County Representatives’ weekly video update, you can also reach me by email 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!
13 Lunchtime Concert – UNI School of Music Voice and Opera students Hearst Center for the Arts, noon, 273-8641
13-14 Black Hawks Hockey vs Sioux Falls Young Arena, 7:05pm, 291-7680
13-15 Eastern Iowa Sportshow UNI-Dome, Fri 3pm; Sat 9:30am; Sun 10am, 240-3571
14 Mulligan Stew Lunch Cedar Falls Woman’s Club, 11am, 266-1431
16-20 R.J. McElroy Trust World’s Greatest Spring Break for Kids Downtown Waterloo, 287-9102
17 Black Hawks Hockey vs Des Moines Young Arena, 7:05pm, 291-7680
19 Harlem Globetrotters McLeod Center, 7pm, 273-2311
20-22 Antique Spectacular Vintage Market UNI-Dome, Fri 4pm; Sat & Sun 10am, 712-326-9964
20-22 Church Basement Ladies Hope Martin Theatre, Fri & Sat 7pm; Sun 2pm, 291-4494
21-22 Funky Junk-A-Loo 5 Sullivan Brothers Convention Center, 10am, 291-2038
26 CV Hospitality Partners Meeting Table 1912, 8:30am, 268-4266
State Officials Get Coronavirus Update: What You Need to Know
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) is recommending proactive measures to help delay the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Currently, there are 13 presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Iowa, as of March 10, 2020. Twelve of these cases are in Johnson County and one is in Pottawattamie County but more cases are expected to be discovered within the next few days.
How is the state responding?
Gov. Reynolds has proclaimed a disaster emergency. Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and its health care partners are working to protect Iowans and minimize the spread of COVID-19. Other details to note:
• State Hygienic Laboratory is equipped to test for cases of 2019 novel coronavirus in Iowa residents.
• State Emergency Operations Center is collaborating with state agencies to respond.
• Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management is prepared to step up response efforts as needed.
• The Iowa Board of Regents has instructed the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa to use virtual instruction, and are asking students to not return to classes after spring break. Many private Iowa colleges and universities are expected to do the same.
According to IDPH, relevant information is being provided to schools, child care centers, businesses, health providers, long-term care providers, emergency medical personnel, law enforcement, and local public health partners.
What is COVID-19?
Like the flu, COVID-19 is spread when infected people cough or sneeze and tiny droplets land nearby to another individual.
If during those 14 days the person experiences symptoms, they should see their health care professional immediately. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. These symptoms can appear in as little as two days after exposure for up to 14 days after exposure. People with the virus can show few symptoms, or they can become severely ill.
Prevent the Spread
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the IDPH recommends doing the following:
• Covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your upper arm/elbow.
• Clean your hands frequently with soap and water.
• Contain germs by staying home when you are sick.
• Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
• Disinfect and clean frequently used surfaces and objects.
The risk of the virus to the general public is low, so those simple precautions can make a big difference. In fact, Iowans are still far more likely to get the flu than COVID-19. To curb the spread of this virus, the IDPH requests that Iowans returning from certain countries voluntarily self-isolate for 14 days. These countries include China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, and South Korea.
A mandatory disease reporting order is in place for COVID-19. All providers must report positive results to IDPH for public health surveillance and monitoring. Case numbers are updated regularly and IDPH will release those details to the public. For more information related to COVID-19 in Iowa, please visit https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus.
Medical Cannabidiol Program Rolled Back in Iowa House
On a party line vote, majority party lawmakers passed legislation that replaces the THC cap from 3% to 4.5 grams over a 90-day period, which is significantly lower than most Iowans’ current dosage. As a result, some Iowans may return to increasing their opioid intake due to the inadequacy for pain relief. Additionally, the lawmakers added new language to the bill to allow employers to terminate employees who use medical cannabis for pain relief.
Last session, the Iowa House and Senate passed legislation that would have increased the THC cap from 3% to 25 grams over a 90-day period. Last year’s bill, House File 732 would have also allowed the mCBD Advisory Board to grant a waiver for terminally ill patients to receive more than the 25 grams dose if a health care practitioner determined the supply was inadequately alleviating the patient’s debilitating medical condition. HF 732 passed the House 96-3 and Senate 40-7, but the Governor vetoed the bill.
This year’s bill, House File 2589, now goes to the Senate for further consideration.
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