Mark Lofgren – District 48 Update

This Week in the Senate

As we approach the second legislative deadline next week, we’ve been focusing efforts this week on getting bills received from the House of Representatives through subcommittee and committee. This is an important part of the legislative process as we work through bills and determine which proposals have the necessary support to continue advancing through the lawmaking process.

It is somewhat satisfying to watch an idea move through this process. Starting with the drafting process, then onto a subcommittee of three and through committee, each step being thought about, questioned, refined, and perhaps made better, until it reaches the chamber floor for final debate and approval or denial, with the opportunity for all to voice their concerns and/or their support. The best part of the process for me is when this system works like it should with people voicing their concerns in nonthreatening and nonpunitive ways and when we’re able to come to legislation that the majority of legislators and stakeholders can agree on. We can never make all of the people happy all of the time, but when people are able to agree to just disagree on some issues but still be civil to each other, it brings a whole different tone to the chamber and to the lawmaking process itself.

Patient’s Right to Save Act

Senate File 2381 passed this week. It is known as the Patient’s Right to Save Act. This bill has three key elements. First, it requires all health care providers to establish and disclose a discounted cash price it will accept for specific health care services. This price would be available to both insured and uninsured individuals and posted on their website. Second, it permits an individual to apply the cash payment towards their deductible as a credit. Third, the bill establishes a savings incentive program for covered individuals who met their deductible to receive cash back in an amount up to half the difference between the discounted cash price and the average insurance rate for that covered health care service. By incentivizing cost-sharing with cash payment options that are cheaper than the insurance negotiated prices, it will reduce unnecessary, expensive treatments that have no guarantee of high-quality care. This bill is one way we can help patients, especially those with chronic conditions, have more dollars in their pockets and not tied up in rising healthcare bills.

This legislation received bipartisan support in the Senate


Reviewing What We Do Seems Common Sense

This week the Iowa Senate also passed a bill, SF 2370, to require a rolling five-year review of all administrative rules. Additionally, the bill requires a jobs impact statement for any rule an agency proposes that may have an impact on private sector jobs.

This was a bill proposed by the Governor to ensure state government is reviewing its rules and considering the impact rules have on job creation. Although these requirements seem like common-sense provisions, all Democrats chose to vote against the bill, with claims that the bill would be too much work for government to comply with the expectations. Senate Republicans have consistently advanced legislation to protect jobs and create new opportunities for Iowans. Claiming it is too much work for government to review its rules goes against the ideals of a free society. It is the duty of government to evaluate its rules and ensure they are not overly burdensome on the private sector. The real challenge for Iowans is to make a living while complying with these rules and it is reasonable for government to take a regular review of the regulations on Iowa small businesses and ensure those regulations are reasonable and not overly burdensome.

Civil Service Commissions to Implement More Objective Standards

Senate File 2325, which passed the Senate this week, reforms the process for disciplining police, fire, and other civil service employees. This legislation implements more objective standards regarding disciplinary decisions, removes any conflicts of interest, and clarifies the role of civil service commissions. It also prohibits the use of citizen review boards to oversee police officer conduct.

In 2021, the Senate passed several measures to help protect our brave law enforcement officers and support them while they do their jobs. We codified protections for law enforcement officers on the job because they must make tough, split-second decisions. We voted to hold cities accountable for allowing rioting, and increased penalties for rioters causing property damage and harm. The bill passed by the Senate this week adds more protections and support for officers trying to do their job.

Civil service commissions are appointed by a mayor to review complaints and disciplinary decisions regarding officers and other civil service employees. Commissions are required for cities with a population of at least 8,000 and have a paid fire or police department. Senate File 2325 protects police officers from woke political actors and ensures they can only be fired if they actually break a state law, violate city policies and department rules, or, in the case of a preemptive termination, if the officer’s conduct can be considered reasonably detrimental to the public. It also removes politically-motivated citizen review boards that may act on public opinion instead of facts and without giving due process to the officer involved.

Public safety and backing the blue has been a top priority for Senate Republicans. In addition to the legislation passed several years ago to protect Iowa’s law enforcement, Senate File 2325 is another step we can take to show law enforcement we support them while they work to keep us safe.

Making Iowa Taxpayers the Priority

You may remember that I shared in a past newsletter about a recent poll conducted by Iowans for Tax Relief. This poll showed broad and strong public support for an amendment to the Iowa Constitution requiring a supermajority to raise taxes or pass a new tax on Iowans. The poll also showed support for putting into the Constitution a requirement for a single income tax rate, commonly referred to as a flat tax. This week the Senate Ways and Means Committee advanced those policies as amendments to the Iowa Constitution.

It is no small or inconsequential thing for the government to demand a portion of the income of working families. Too often the debate over tax rates describes taxes in terms of money available for the government to spend, the impact of tax rates on government, or how the government will be able to afford a reduction in income or property taxes.

The focus for every discussion on taxes must be on the taxpayer. Iowans work diligently to provide for their families. Every dollar the government demands from them is one less dollar to provide for necessities and an impediment to their ability to live the American Dream.

Best regards,