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Speaker Upmeyer’s Weekly Newsletter

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Unprecedented Oversight

We started this week off with a demonstration of new lighting for the State Capitol Building.  Musco Sports Lighting, based out of Oskaloosa, has graciously donated this new lighting to replace the decades old equipment that the Capitol currently uses.  The state will only have to pay for installation of the new lighting system which is more energy efficient and will save the state money on energy costs.  The new lights make the Capitol look more beautiful than it did before!

This week, the House released our oversight plan for Medicaid Modernization.  Our approach will require an unprecedented amount of data and reporting, from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS), and the three managed care organizations (MCOs), to be submitted to the legislature for review.  This will provide legislators with a wide assortment of figures and information on the Medicaid program that has never been available in the past.

This plan ensures that consumers are protected, patient health and financial outcomes are monitored and transparent, and the integrity of our health care system remains. Read more »

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Speaker Upmeyer’s Weekly Newsletter

UTGD

Medicaid Modernization Launches

The pieces are slowly coming together as we begin to wind down this year’s session.  Talks continue on the state budget and the number of bills on the debate calendar continue to drop off as we complete our work.

Today, the state’s new Medicaid Modernization plan starts and managed care organizations (MCOs) will begin managing the care of Iowa’s 560,000 Medicaid recipients.  This is a big change for the state as we move from a fee-for-service model to a coordinated one, but I’m optimistic that this change will be a benefit to the patients that rely on high quality healthcare from Medicaid.
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Speaker Upmeyer’s Weekly Newsletter

UTGD

Resolution on Education Funding

This week’s weather has really kept us on our toes.  Bright and sunny one day, rain another, and winter storms in various parts of the state.  Spring in Iowa continues to keep us guessing.  It’s been great to see so many folks from home visiting the Capitol over spring break or coming in for meetings.  Thanks to those who have stopped by.  I have listened and learned about many topics in our discussions. Read more »

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Speaker Upmeyer’s Weekly Newsletter

UTGD

Living within our means

Another productive week in the Iowa House is under our belts. We continue to work hard on behalf of Iowans as we move various pieces of policy forward that will make Iowa a better place to live and work.

Since session began, I have written nearly every week about how important coupling with the federal tax code is to the taxpayers of Iowa.  This week the House and Senate both passed House File 2433, which includes coupling and a provision related to sales tax on manufacturers.  This bill provides immediate and direct tax relief to more than 177,000 Iowans by coupling, as well as permanent tax relief and clarity to Iowa manufacturers. Read more »

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Speaker Upmeyer’s Weekly Newsletter

UTGD

A win for taxpayers

The second funnel deadline is behind us and with much of our policy work complete, attention will now turn to the state budget.  House Republicans will continue to practice fiscal discipline by spending less than the state collects and not using one-time funding to pay for ongoing expenses.  These common sense principles have served the state well and put Iowa in solid financial footing.

This week finally brings some good news for taxpayers.  The House and Senate have an agreement in place to halt a $95 million tax increase by coupling with the federal tax code.  Coupling benefits thousands upon thousands of Iowa taxpayers, 177,000 in 2014 alone.  In addition, it keeps more money in the pockets of people that we all know like farmers, teachers, small businesses, homeowners, and college students, just to name a few.  House Republicans have pressed for this since the beginning of this year’s session. Read more »

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Speaker Upmeyer’s Weekly Newsletter

UTGD

Preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s jobs

There was plenty of debate this week in the House chamber as the next funnel deadline approaches.  Next week brings us the second funnel which means that all Senate bills must be voted out of at least one House committee, and vice versa in the Senate, to remain eligible this session.  In order for House bills to continue being considered, we must get those over to the Senate before next week’s deadline so that they have a chance to vet each bill. Read more »

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Speaker Upmeyer’s Weekly Newsletter

UTGD

 

177,000 Iowa Taxpayers

With funnel week behind us, the House turned its attention to debate this week.  We spent many hours on the floor working through bills and getting them over to the Senate so they can go through the committee process and make their way to the Governor for his signature.

This week I’m disappointed that we still haven’t passed coupling to provide some certainty for our farmers, small businesses, families and many others.  We’ve coupled with the federal tax code each of the last five year, so this is something that taxpayers have come to expect, and at a time when the state’s economy is slowing, this really pulls the rug out from under folks when they’re already hurting.  Failure to couple is a tax increase on people who were not anticipating it. Read more »

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Speaker Upmeyer’s Weekly Newsletter

UTGD

Funnel week

This week was the first funnel deadline which means that for any House bill to remain eligible for consideration, it needed to have passed at least one House committee, and vice versa for the Senate.  In a few weeks we’ll reach the second funnel, where Senate bills must pass at least one House committee, and again, vice versa in the Senate.  Subcommittee and committee work consumed our time as members made sure priority bills would move forward.  The funnels exist to narrow the Legislature’s focus as session moves along so that more attention can be put on bills that receive wide support. Read more »

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Speaker Upmeyer’s Weekly Newsletter

UTGD

Next week brings the Legislature’s first “funnel” deadline, where House bills must pass at least one House committee, and Senate bills must pass at least one Senate committee, to remain eligible for debate.  With that deadline fast approaching, House members are working hard in subcommittees and committees to make sure that priority bills remain eligible for discussion this session.

This week, House Republicans released their budget targets for the upcoming fiscal year.  Our budget plan is realistic and responsible in setting funding amounts for Iowa’s priorities.  Our budget fits within the projected ongoing revenue and does not rely on one-time funding sources like the Ending Balance, Cash Reserve, or Economic Emergency funds.  Iowa families and businesses budget in this common sense way, and government should do no different. Read more »

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Speaker Upmeyer’s Weekly Newsletter

UTGD

Putting the pieces together

Some of the big pieces of this year’s session are beginning to fall into place and the Legislature is moving along efficiently.  Committees and subcommittees are hard at work doing their business with the Iowans they represent in their minds.  The Capitol has been full of Iowans each week and I’ve had many opportunities to speak with people from back home in while they’re visiting Des Moines.

This week, the House continued to move forward on an education funding proposal, by passing an increased investment for our K-12 schools.  The bill passed by the House provides schools with an additional $81 million in funding, so that they can invest in technology and curriculum needed to improve the classroom experience for their students.  When you combine this with an additional $53 million in funding for the Teacher Leadership Compensation system passed as a part of education reform in 2013, 84% of new available revenue will be going towards education in Iowa this session.  Schools in north Iowa with TLC Read more »

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