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Bergan Report

Greetings from the State House, The House worked through the first funnel of the session, limiting the bills to be considered. Committees were scheduled for extended timeframes to allow for consideration of bills and amendments. Bills will still be subject to further consideration and amendment in Appropriations committee, Ways and Means Committee or on the House floor. The government streamlining bill passed out of State Government shortly after midnight early Friday morning. The committee met over a period of eleven hours to work through 39 amendments and some other pending bills. Review and work on the reorganization bill will continue over the coming weeks with further changes expected through floor debate. House Labor Committee Passes Paid Leave for State Workers. On Tuesday, House Republicans passed HSB 201. This bill is a portion of the Governor’s larger initiative on supporting parents and families before, during, and after birth. This bill states that a state employee that is entitled to leave under FMLA shall be provided paid leave for the birth or adoption of a child if the leave is taken within 12 months following the birth or adoption. In the bill, the birth parent is allowed up to four weeks of paid leave and the parent who did not give birth is allowed up to one week of leave. For the placement of the adoption of a child, a state employee parent is entitled to up to four weeks of paid leave. This bill supports parents as they care for the newest additions to their families. This week the State Government Committee reported a bill to create the licensure of midwifery as a licensed health-related profession. The bill received bipartisan support and if enacted, the bill would expand access for women in Iowa to maternal care options and provide expanded options for how and where a birth takes place. Iowa, along with the rest of the country has seen rising maternal mortality rates and declining access to obstetric services the last 20 years. House File 265 will provide expanded options for individuals who want to become licensed in midwifery and mothers who wish to receive maternal care from a midwife. The bill creates the Board of Midwifery which would consist of seven members, four members who are professional midwives eligible for licensure, one member who is a licensed OB-GYN and experienced professionally consulting with midwives, one member would be a nurse midwife, and a member representing the general public who is not a licensed midwife or health care provider who has received midwifery services. This newly formed licensure board would adopt administrative rules to establish the rules and requirements for licensure. Additionally, the board would define professional and unprofessional conduct, permit licensees to obtain the appropriate and relevant screening and testing for midwife clients, and permit the administration of midwife specific medicine for child birth. With more maternity wards closing across Iowa and increases in maternal mortality rates, it is crucial that the legislature look for alternatives to expand both availability to maternal care and variety in options. Passing House File 265 is a step in that direction. The bill will move to the House floor for further consideration. Celebrate Iowa History Month during March. The Montauk National History Day in Iowa District Contest will be held at Northeast Iowa Community College in Calmar on Wednesday, March 22 (includes Winneshiek and Fayette Counties). The Sullivan Brothers District will be held at Central Rivers AEA Building in Cedar Falls on Tuesday, March 28 (includes Howard County). The National History Day in Iowa contest is part of a program that challenges junior high and high school students to become historians as they investigate primary sources, craft historical arguments, and create projects about historical topics they're passionate about. The State Historical Society of Iowa is looking for people to serve as District Contest judges. If you’re interested, simply select a contest near you and sign up. The annual National Change of Address process to update Iowa’s voter registration records is underway. Notices are being mailed to 90,948 registered voters in Iowa who filed a change of address with the U.S. Postal Service during the past 12 months. Voters that receive these cards should follow the instructions on the return postcard to verify or correct their voting address, sign and return it to their county auditor’s office as soon as possible. Postage is prepaid. NICC Students with Dr. Herb Reidel were at the Capitol to showcase programs in Iowa’s Community Colleges on February 28. The students shared information about their field of study and the opportunities that NICC offer them for career development. Rod Marlatt and Mallory Hanson of Fayette County were at the Capitol with the Iowa Cultural Coalition. Last year, my House District 55 received the second highest amount of cultural grants, $447,665, a testament to the local investment in historical preservation and the arts throughout Clayton, Fayette and Winneshiek Counties. I appreciate visits from constituents and learning about the issues that are of concern. Kindly contact me ahead of time if you are planning a trip to the Capitol, it helps me plan my schedule to meet with you. I am scheduled to attend town hall forums hosted by Farm Bureau on March 18, 9 AM in Arlington, Iowa and 11:30 AM at the Monona Community Center. I can be reached at Very truly yours, Rep. Michael Bergan

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