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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

The Anderson Report

Monday, November 7, 2011

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It was a summer and fall full of parades, fairs, community festivals and meetings with constituents. I took time to introduce myself to my new constituents in what will be Senate District 3 (Plymouth County and portions of Woodbury County). We are beginning to plan legislative forums for the upcoming session and will release January's schedule shortly, which will include meetings in both District 27 and 3. I look forward to hearing from you on important issues such as property taxes, transportation, education and mental health.

On Monday the Department of Human Services Director, Chuck Palmer, reported that the Technical Assistance Collaborative had submitted the preliminary recommendations on the redesign of Iowa's Mental Health system to lawmakers.

Some of the key recommendations include:

Development of a crisis intervention system to bring immediate evaluation and assistance to people in crisis situations. The intervention would prevent inappropriate criminal charges or unnecessary and expensive institutional commitments.

Development of peer-to-peer services that provide a more effective bond between the person and provider and creates employment opportunities for some people with mental health or disability needs.

Development of a "system of care" for children with serious mental health needs. Pilot projects have been successful in providing effective service at home or in the child's community.

Details on how counties should group themselves to form fewer regional administrative bodies to more efficiently oversee local services for people with mental health and disability needs.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) will set up workgroups to deal with several key areas - they are:

1. Adult Mental Health

2. Brain Injury

3. Children's Disability

4. Intellectual Disability (ID)

5. Regional

6. Judicial/DHS

7. Psychiatric Medical Institutions for Children (PMIC) Transition Committee

DHS is working with the preliminary recommendations to develop implementation plans as well as put together cost estimates on each item. The final report is due in December and will allow legislators to finalize legislation which will be submitted to the full Legislature this January.

In the arena of budget projections and appropriations the Legislative Fiscal Committee met on October 18th in Iowa City. The Committee received an analysis of the upcoming FY 2013 budget based on the Revenue Estimating Conference's October estimates. During the previous Legislative Session money was appropriated to partially fund departments for FY 2013. All department budgets were funded at 50% of the FY 2012 appropriation for FY 2013. The General Fund appropriations to state departments were $1.060 billion. Several appropriations were also made last year for FY 2013 at or above 100% of the FY 2012 level. As we move forward it will be legislative Republicans' focus to continue to reduce the size and cost of government. It is our job to be good stewards of your tax dollars and guard against dangerous budgeting gimmicks that put our state at risk. Rest assured I will be looking out for you.

If you have questions, comments or ideas please feel free to call on me at 712-898-2505 or by email at bill.anderson@legis.state.ia.us.