Washington Evening Journal
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The Driscoll Dispatch
By State Sen. Dawn Driscoll
May. 2, 2023 9:48 am
April 28 is the scheduled end day of the 2023 legislative session. While we still have more work to do, the Senate took several large steps towards adjournment this week, passing several budget bills off the Senate floor. The House and Senate have come to an agreement on the overall budget for the next fiscal year. Our budget for next year is $8.516 billion. This amount represents 88.25 percent of ongoing revenue and continues our tradition of passing responsible, conservative and sustainable budgets. By spending only 88.25 percent of ongoing revenue, we are controlling government spending and ensuring we can focus on implementing income tax relief for Iowans every year. This amount of spending also includes funding for K-12 education, including the increase of $107 million this year, and additional spending for health care and public safety. I am proud we continue passing budgets that focus on important priorities for Iowans and continue to provide real tax relief measures for Iowans.
The State of Iowa insures tens of thousands of employees and the insurance portion of those prescriptions is operated by a pharmacy benefits manager (PBM), a contractor for a health insurance plan. This week the Senate passed SF 554, a bill to hold a reverse auction for the state’s PBM services. This bill directs the Department of Administrative Services to hold a reverse auction, similar to a bid process, to identify the most cost-effective provider for prescription services. Similar efforts have been done in a few other states and the savings have been substantial. Actual savings will not be determined until after the auction is completed but estimates range from $22 - $32 million. This bill is another in the long list of efforts by the Senate to reform government, control spending, and lower taxes so Iowans can keep more of what they earn.
Another bill I want to discuss is SF 84. We have heard of this bill a number of times this session, but I am happy to announce SF 84 was passed out of the Senate on Monday and is now making its way to Governor Reynolds's desk. This bill was brought to my attention by Washington County Attorney, John Gish, and it increases penalties for sexual exploitation of a minor:
•728.12(1) makes it unlawful to employ, use, persuade, induce, entice, coerce, solicit, knowingly permit, or otherwise cause or attempt to cause a minor to engage in sex. The current penalty is a class “C” felony, the bill raises this to a class “B”
•728.12(2) makes it unlawful to knowingly promote any material visually depicting a minor engaged in sex. The current penalty is class “D” felony, the bill raises this to a class “C”
•728.12(3) makes it unlawful to knowingly purchase or possess child porn. The current penalty is an aggravated misdemeanor and a class “D” felony for a second or subsequent offense, the bill raises this to a class “D” felony and a class “C” for a second or subsequent offense
The bill also creates a mandatory minimum for 728.12(1) of 50%-70% of the sentence as determined by the court. Representative Hora, John Gish, and I had a interview with KCII on this bill on Tuesday afternoon to speak more on this topic!
Wednesday was filled with floor debate but I was also happy to spend some time with the 3rd graders from Williamsburg. They received a tour of the Capitol and were even lucky enough to meet Governor Reynolds! I also explained to them what happens in the Senate and what my role as a senator is. I love this time of year when students come to visit our beautiful Capitol.
Day in the District
I spent last Friday visiting the schools in District 46 to deliver congratulations letters to the Class of 2023. This is something I have done since I was elected to be a senator and I love being able to recognize the seniors in my district for all their hard work and let them know an exciting new chapter in their life is about to start. Congratulations to the Class of 2023!
As always, feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you have about any piece of legislation in the Senate.
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