Governor Terry Branstad finished signing bills from the 2015 legislative session into law this Thursday.
Below is a release from the Governor's office about his actions today:
The following bills were signed into law in their entirety:
House File 632: an Act relating to various matters involving insurance and the insurance division of the Department of Commerce and including effective date provisions.
House File 658: an Act relating to the funding of, the operation of, and the appropriation of moneys in the college student aid commission, the Department for the Blind, the Department of Education, and the state board of regents, providing for related matters, and providing effective date and retroactive and other applicability provisions.
House File 659: an Act relating to and making appropriations to certain state departments, agencies, funds, and certain other entities, providing for regulatory authority, and other properly related matters and including effective and retroactive applicability date provisions.
Senate File 171: an Act establishing the state percent of growth and including effective date provisions
Senate File 172: an Act establishing the categorical state percent growth and including effective date provisions.
Senate File 496: an Act relating to appropriations to the judicial branch and including effective date and retroactive applicability provisions.
The following bills were signed into law with item vetoes:
House File 650: an Act relating to and making appropriations to state departments and agencies from the rebuild Iowa infrastructure fund and the revenue bonds capitols II fund, providing for related matters, and including effective date provisions. – Read Gov. Branstad’s veto message here.
House File 651: an Act relating to expenditures of moneys from the E911 emergency communications fund, other duties of the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and other properly related matters. – Read Gov. Branstad’s veto message here.
House File 666: an Act relating to state and local finances by making transfers and appropriations, providing for properly related matters, and including effective date and retroactive applicability provisions. – Read Gov. Branstad’s veto message here.
Gov. Branstad’s item veto message read in part:
“I am unable to approve the item designated as Section 11, in its entirety. I recommended a two-year budget on the second day of this legislative session including an increase in supplemental state aid for both years. Throughout the session, I encouraged the legislature to provide supplemental state aid for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade for the next two years as required by law. By using one-time money and not providing supplemental state aid for the second fiscal year, the legislature compounded the uncertainty that school districts faced this entire legislative session.
“My administration’s commitment to giving Iowa students a world-class education is demonstrated by significant, targeted growth in funding for initiatives to raise achievement. Iowa’s new Teacher Leadership System is the single largest reform measure, with an investment of more than $150 million when fully phased in during the 2016-2017 school year. With many of our best teachers serving in leadership roles, such as instructional coaches and mentors, Iowa can better support the more demanding work teachers must do today to prepare all students for a knowledge-driven economy.
“Other targeted education reform measures my administration proposed for the next fiscal year at a cost of more than $18 million include: an initiative to ensure children are able to read by the end of third grade, ongoing expansion of Iowa Learning Online program to offer more course options to high school students, and the Teach Iowa Scholars Program which provides up to $20,000 to top graduates of Iowa teacher preparation programs who teach hard-to-fill subjects in Iowa schools for five years.
“With any budget, it is important to look at the entire picture. For fiscal year 2016, Iowa schools will receive over $3 billion, by far the biggest item in the state budget.”
“As the Chief Executive of this state, it is my responsibility to have a long term vision that maintains stability and predictability in our state’s budget. I made the decisions today in order to prevent across the board cuts that occurred under the previous administration. Maintaining the fiscal health of Iowa over the long term is my top budgeting priority.”
Senate File 499: an Act making appropriations to the Department of Cultural Affairs, the Economic Development Authority, the Iowa Finance Authority, the Public Employment Relations Board, the Department of Workforce Development, the State Board of Regents and certain regents institutions, modifying programs and duties of the Economic Development Authority, providing for other properly related matters, and including effective date and retroactive applicability provisions. – Read Gov. Branstad’s veto message here.
Senate File 505: an Act relating to appropriations for health and human services and veterans and including other related provisions and appropriations, and including effective date and retroactive and other applicability date provisions. – Read Gov. Branstad’s veto message here.
Gov. Branstad’s item veto message for Senate File 505 read in part:
“Senate File 505 as passed by the Iowa Legislature gives counties the ability to increase property taxes, enlarges entitlement programs and fails to take critical steps in modernizing Iowa’s mental health system. It is even more concerning to me and to the thousands of Iowans who depend on Medicaid that it appears the Iowa Legislature may have underfunded Medicaid. The budget I proposed in January 2015 fully funded Medicaid. We have embarked on efforts to modernize our administration of Medicaid. It is my hope that these efforts will not only improve the quality of health care outcomes our Medicaid patients receive but also provide much needed budget predictability and stability for taxpayers who make the program possible.”
“I am unable to approve the designated portion of the item designated as Section 23, subsection 3. Today, more Iowans than ever before have access to mental health treatment. Through the bi-partisan Mental Health Redesign signed into law in 2012, Iowans are accessing care locally through mental health regions. The mental health regions are investing substantial resources into increased access to home and community based substance abuse and mental health services. In the 1800s, Iowa opened four mental health institutions. At their peak, they served more than 6,600 people on any given day combined. However, modern mental health care has come a long way and best practices rightfully no longer include the warehousing of mental health patients. In fact, the average daily bed census at the Mount Pleasant Mental Health Institute over the past four years is only 61 patients. In fiscal year 2014, this came at the high cost to state taxpayers of $126,791 per patient. These resources can best be used to provide better, more modern mental health services to more Iowans. Other states have already gone down this path by closing their outdated institutions and offering innovative mental healthcare options. Minnesota once operated eleven mental health institutes. Today they operate one. Wisconsin operates two. Over the past 18 years, states adjacent to Iowa have closed 13 institutes like Mount Pleasant and Clarinda (Illinois closed four state psychiatric hospitals, Minnesota closed four, Missouri closed three, and Nebraska closed two). Like Iowa, these neighboring states have modernized their mental health systems and reduced their use of institutionalization. In 2009, a Department of Human Services report and Governor Culver recommended closure of the Mount Pleasant Mental Health Institute. The Legislature has taken the first steps and closed the Clarinda Mental Health Institute. We can keep moving forward and serve Iowans with two mental health institutions rather than four. Therefore, in keeping with modern best practices and the utilization of our system, it is not in the best interests of our patients, the taxpayers or the mental health system to continue operating an aging, antiquated mental health institution lacking key clinical staff, particularly a psychiatrist.”
“I am unable to approve of the item designated as Section 159 in its entirety. This item calls for Iowa, after closure of the Clarinda Mental Health Institute by the Iowa Legislature, to request proposals to operate a private, specialized nursing facility on the grounds at Clarinda. As I stated above, more Iowans are receiving mental health care than ever before. And increasingly, they are receiving it locally through mental health regions throughout our state. This holds true for adult in-patient psychiatry as well as geriatric psychiatric patients. Geriatric psychiatric patients are best served in nursing facilities with special services rather than being warehoused in costly and outmoded 19th century mental health institutes. Facilities exist today to provide these services, delivering higher quality for patients at lower costs to taxpayers. The Department of Human Services recommends allowing our mental health system to continue moving forward and giving facilities the flexibility to develop their own settings for care rather than restricting them to the campus at Clarinda. In Southwest Iowa, mental health regions are on track to open residential and community crisis services as well as jail diversion services. However, I recognize the importance of the Clarinda and Mount Pleasant facilities to their communities. It is important to note that the prisons located at Mount Pleasant and Clarinda will continue in full operation. Additionally, Clarinda will continue hosting the Clarinda Youth Academy and private substance abuse services on the campus without interruption. I am committed to working with these communities to repurpose and redevelop the campuses formerly occupied by the mental health institutes. To that end, I am convening a workgroup consisting of members from the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the Department of Corrections (who control the campuses), and the Department of Human Services to work with communities and allow for the easiest most efficient transition of the campuses into new development and jobs.”
Senate File 510: an Act relating to state and local finances by making appropriations, providing for fees, providing for legal responsibilities, providing for certain employee benefits, and providing for regulatory, taxation, and properly related matters, and including penalties, and effective date and retroactive and other applicability provisions. – Read Gov. Branstad’s veto message here.
The following bill was vetoed in its entirety:
House File 652: an Act relating to underground storage tanks, including by establishing an underground storage tank cost share grants program and fund and making an appropriation. – Read Gov. Branstad’s veto message here.
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