Republicans in the legislature are proposing new income thresholds for who qualifies for government food and health care assistance. Committees in the House and Senate have approved bills that say households with more than 15-thousand dollars in checking accounts or other liquid assets would not be eligible for SNAP benefits — commonly called food stamps — or for Medicaid. The value of a home or a vehicle would not be included in that calculation. Current rules for Medicaid and food stamps do not have an asset test, but are restricted based on income. The bills also call for a new system to check the finances and verify the identities of Iowans receiving food or health care assistance. Republicans say the changes would make distributing benefits more efficient and help prevent fraud. Democrats say if the bill becomes law, many low income and disasbled Iowans currently receiving SNAP benefits or health care coverage through Medicaid will lose that safety net.
JENEARY – TEACHER EMPOWERMENT
A bill which helps Iowa teachers cope with behavioral issues in their classrooms, has moved out of the House Education Committee. State Representative Tom Jeneary of Le Mars says behavioral issues in the classroom are a part of a bigger picture.
The bill will help teachers deal with disruptive students.
Jeneary says this bill will face more amendments before its final form is considered in the House.
TAYLOR – PIPELINES
None of the five carbon capture pipeline bills introduced by an Iowa Senator from Sioux Center has survived the first legislative funnel deadline. But State Senator Jeff Taylor is following a House bill that has moved out of committee to the floor.
Taylor doubts that carbon capture pipelines are the best solution to new government regulations on CO2 reductions. He says there are other, more market-based alternatives.
Finding new uses for carbon produced by ethanol plants is part of investment in these facilities. And there is a profit to be made in them.
CLAY COUNTY FAIR MANAGER
The Clay County Fair Board has hired the general manager of the Alaska State Fair as its new C-E-O. Jerome Hertel replaces former Clay County Fair C-E-O Jeremy Parsons, who was hired earlier this year to lead the Iowa State Fair. Hertel grew up in Parker, South Dakota, across the street from the Turner County Fairgrounds. It’s the oldest county fair in South Dakota.
Hertel has worked in fair management since 1999 and had been the Alaska State Fair’s general manager since 2014.
Hertel’s first day on the job in Spencer is April 17th. The Clay County Fair starts September 9th.
Walgreens has announced it will not distribute abortion pills in 20 U.S. states, including Iowa. The move comes after Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird and other Republican attorneys general around the country threatened to sue Walgreens if the company sold abortion pills in their states. Medication abortion now accounts for more than half of all U.S. abortions. According to a Politico story, Walgreens has notified Bird and other attorneys general that it will not sell abortion pills from its stores in their states or mail them into Iowa and those states either. Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration announced it would allow pharmacies to apply to fill prescriptions for abortion pills.