Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Tackling school security, volunteer EMS and firefighter issues
State Rep. Taylor Collins
Feb. 8, 2023 12:15 am
To the People of House District 95
We are officially a month into the 90th General Assembly and some big items continue to be tackled by House Republicans. The biggest news this week though is that my first bill as a state legislator has officially been introduced, House File 152.
Establishing a Rural School Security Fund
On Monday it was an exciting moment as I introduced my first bill which establishes a Rural School Security Fund within the State Treasury, creating a dedicated funding stream to support school resource officer positions in some of our most rural parts of the state.
The fund works by creating a cost sharing agreement between the state and any school district with 1,000 or less K-12 students by supporting 20% of the costs associated with one School Resource Officer position.
With counties and cities oftentimes covering part of the costs associated with these positions, due to the fact that the deputy or officer is rolled out onto summer patrol outside of the school year, not only does the school district benefit, but also the community as a whole.
No parent should have to worry about whether their child is safe after dropping them off at school, and that’s 17 of my Republican colleagues have joined me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation. Creating the Rural School Security Fund is just one step, but a giant one in protecting our state's greatest asset — our children.
Volunteer EMS and Firefighter Legislation
Across Iowa we have seen an increased need for volunteer emergency medical care providers and firefighters. Rural communities in Iowa have for years seen a rise in need for volunteers. As Iowans have faced the challenges of natural disasters and the pandemic.
Iowans have sacrificed and volunteered to ensure that fellow Iowans are taken care of. Volunteer emergency medical care providers, firefighters, and reserve peace officers work diligently to assist their communities in time of needs.
These volunteers are often first on the scene to provide medical care, fight fires, and during the pandemic to help distribute PPE supplies in their communities.
One way to commit to improving Emergency Medical Services throughout the state is to authorize municipalities, counties, townships, or agencies to implement length of service agreement awards as described in 457(e) (11) of the Internal Revenue Code for volunteer firefighters and emergency medical care providers.
The Local Government Committee has reintroduced House Study Bill 19 to create a grant program to allow municipalities to provide an award to volunteer firefighters, emergency medical care providers, and reserve peace officers. The grant would provide up to $1 for $1 match in funding for municipalities that have established the award.
Authorizing local governments to establish these programs if they chose to, can give control to local governments to provide incentives for volunteers in communities in need of emergency services.
HHS Committee Advances Mental Health Legislation
This week, the House Health and Human Services Committee heard a presentation from the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services on mental health.
This included progress with the Mental Health and Disability Services Regions, a department bill to come for consideration, and regular reviews of Iowa’s Medicaid reimbursement rates to health care providers, including mental health providers. The legislature looks forward to reviewing these targeted reimbursement rate reviews later this month.
Additionally, the committee passed House File 23, a bill to expand the number of prescribing psychologists in Iowa. This bill removes barriers to them practicing in the state and will help recruit additional psychologists to Iowa.
The Iowa House has also unanimously passed House File 93, to prohibit non-compete agreements for mental health providers. This bill ensures that patients who have a good standing relationship with a therapist or other mental health provider can stay with that provider.
As many of you know, this last year we went through legislative redistricting where the district boundaries changed and your representative may have as well. As a result, if you received this newsletter electronically, you may be reading it even though I am not your Representative.
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