Washington Evening Journal
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The Driscoll Dispatch
By State Sen. Dawn Driscoll
Mar. 28, 2023 11:53 am
The eleventh week of the legislative session focused on floor debate before another major legislative deadline next week. One bill debated this week was Senate File 547, known as the “hands free” bill. This bill is designed to keep Iowa roads safer from the dangers of cell phone usage while driving. Current Iowa law prohibits sending and viewing of text messages while driving. SF 547 would update the law, making it illegal to use electronic devices while driving unless it is used in a voice-activated/hands free mode. The bill passed in the Senate on Wednesday with bipartisan support. Hands-free legislation is supported by law enforcement and has been shown to reduce traffic deaths and injuries in states with similar legislation.
Senate File 315 also passed the Senate this week with bipartisan support. Senate File 315 allows for the sale of fresh, or unpasteurized, milk and dairy products for small producers with 10 dairy animals or less directly to consumers. The bill would allow for the legal selling of fresh milk but establishes regulations to ensure consumer safety. Products with fresh milk will be required to be labeled as such and fresh milk producers must have animals examined by a veterinarian annually. Fresh milk may only be distributed directly to consumers through individual orders and cannot be distributed in areas such as restaurants or grocery stores. This kind of dairy market is growing, and this bill allows for small producers to safely produce in this niche market.
On Tuesday we celebrated National Agriculture Day. As a farmer myself and as the chair of the Agriculture Committee, this is one of my favorite days to celebrate. This is a great time to recognize the hard work the farmers in Iowa put in to feed the world. Iowa has over 80,000 farms and is a leader in corn, soybean, livestock, and ethanol production. We are proud to have many farmers in our caucus and have been working to strengthen agriculture in our state for the past several years. Last year we passed the biofuels bill to help support Iowa’s ethanol industry, we’ve passed bills to help protect farms and agricultural operations from vandalism and disease, and passed a bill to help support small butcheries in our communities. Thank you to all Iowa farmers and their families for the work you do not just for Iowa, but people all around the world.
Day in the District
Representative Hora and I spent Friday morning visiting Balance Autism. We met with the clients and heard from their director. Representative Hora and I were happy to show them we care about the same people and issues that they do. Julia Freeman also shared a very heart-warming story regarding her experience in the field.
I also had a very informative meeting with representatives from Compass Memorial Healthcare (Jillissa Chvala, Director of Ambulatory Clinics and EPIC Administrator, Kathryn Upah, Physician’s Assistant, and Madelyn Kussman, Physician’s Assistant). I ran a physician assistant bill (HF 424) out of State Government this week and I wanted their input and feedback on how it would affect our rural hospitals. HF 424 eliminates the requirement a physician assistant be directly supervised by a physician. The bill states a physician assistant is responsible for the care provided by the physician assistant. We discussed in depth about PAs, their education, and how this bill would impact them. They expressed how important it will be to be collaborative with the physicians. I also received input from the hospital administration side of the bill and how it would positively impact them.
We spent Saturday morning serving breakfast at the Johnson County Fairgrounds Ag Breakfast. I was happy to help serve breakfast in order to promote and support agriculture in Johnson County. I always love getting to bring my family to these events and have us all help serve and interact with the community!
It was a great week in the Senate and I am excited to get back next week to tackle another busy week!
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