Ashley’s Angle: Week Seven 2/25/17

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Trusted. Proven. Leader

Thank you so much for entrusting me to represent Iowa House District 67. I am proud to represent people from Marion, Robins, Hiawatha, and Cedar Rapids.

Jaelin and Lynn visited me on Wednesday. When I meet Jaelin a few weeks ago, she expressed an interest in politics. I invited her to come visit and shadow me in Des Moines. I hope she had an exciting and insightful day.

A calmer, but still eventful week

House Business
Earlier this week, the Governor’s Office released House Study Bill 138, which would change some state regulations like the certificate of need and the licensing practice of some professions. I have received a lot of correspondence and feedback at my forum last night about this bill (from constituents and from those in various professions). I want to let everyone know that I am in process of reviewing the bill (it’s over 80 pages) and understanding the implications and impacts it would have on our community. This bill has many areas of contention and after a conversation with the representative assigned the bill, I doubt it will go anywhere (it will likely “die” in the funnel week). Although I do not have any direct involvement with the legislation at this time, I will be keeping a very close eye on it and cannot support it as it is written now.

On Wednesday, I presented House File 313 on the floor of the House. This is the “It steers, it clears” bill that I have discussed previously.  Representative Ourth (D), who served on the subcommittee with me, stood with me in support of the bill, calling it “good policy”. The bill passed with 99 ayes, 0 nays, and 1 absent. I look forward to seeing this bill go into effect and the roads of Iowa becoming a safer place because of it.

Another policy that I campaigned on was brought before the House floor as HF 217. I believe that teachers and staff who violate the drug and alcohol policy of their school district should be held accountable. HF 217 adds to the list of disciplinary actions that must be reported to the board of educational examiners. The addition reads: “Being on school premises or at a school-sponsored activity involving students while under the influence of, possessing, using, or consuming illegal drugs, unauthorized drugs, or alcohol.”
I proudly voted in favor of this bill and it passed 94 to 5.

Other Business
Late last week, I was assigned HSB 105 which would make changes to medical malpractice lawsuits in Iowa. This has turned out to be a very contentious issue between doctors and lawyers. I have spent much of this past week attending meetings, speaking to lawyers and doctors on both sides, and working with my other subcommittee members to craft a workable bill. I knew I would have much to learn when I came to work in Des Moines, but this has certainly been a beast to tackle. Even thought I still have a lot of work to do, I have thoroughly enjoyed this process and look forward to running this through committee before the funnel deadline next week.

Thursday morning I, and several other legislators, meet with Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds. We discussed upcoming legislation and had an open dialogue about our concerns and the concerns of constituents. I would like for all my constituents to know that there is an open channel of communication that reaches from you, all the way to the Lieutenant Governor’s desk. I specifically brought up the need for better process in pre-authorizations for Medicaid patients with our MCO structure.

I am looking to create a Constituent Advisory Committee that I could email or call to ask questions about specific policy questions. If you would like to join, please email my legislature email ( and let me know what your area of expertise is and how I could get in touch with you. From Education, Judicial issues, Medical, Energy, and Tax policy, I want your input in the process.
Bill of the Week
The bill of the week is…House File 379 (HF 379)

HF 379 is being co-sponsored by myself, Representative Anderson (D), and Representative Gaskill (D). The bill relates to the health and resilience outreach (HERO) project. The bill, which asks for an appropriation of $250,000, would provide a grant to an Iowan nonprofit organization that is a leader in voluntary health organizations, Alzheimer’s care/ support or research and provides services, education, and support to people living with Alzheimer’s and their families. The funds would be used to for volunteer recruitment, training, and respite scholarships for to maintain caregiver resilience.

Many of you may recall some of my mailings during the campaign where I said I would advocate for the health and well-being of elderly Iowans, their families, and those who care for them. This bill is a great opportunity to do just that; however, HF 379 is dependent upon the appropriation. Representatives Gaskill, Anderson, and myself will be working hard to move this bi-partisan piece of legislation along before the funnel deadline.

Capitol Visitors
Dr. Ken Paulsen, my vet, and Judy were at the Statehouse for the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association’s Day on the Hill.
I meet and spoke with students from Marion High School about some issues that are affecting the youth of Iowa.