Month: July 2019

Oversight Committee should investigate Foxhoven allegations, resignation

Iowa Senate News release
July 22, 2019


Key Senators: Oversight Committee needs to investigate Foxhoven allegations, resignation

DES MOINES — Democratic Senators Tony Bisignano and Claire Celsi, members of the Senate Government Oversight Committee, are calling for an interim public meeting of the five-member committee to discuss the departure of Jerry Foxhoven, former Director of the Iowa Department of Human Services.

“Governor Reynolds has said that she wanted her Administration to be one of the most honest and transparent in history,” said Sen. Tony Bisignano, Ranking Member of the Senate Oversight Committee. “We are calling on her to be transparent, release all relevant information, and to clear up the real reasons for Jerry Foxhoven’s resignation.”

A 2017 state law requires that the reason for firing (or demanding the resignation of an employee) is made public. Reynolds has declined to explain why Foxhoven was asked to resign and claimed that there has been a group working towards “a new direction” for the Department. When asked to produce documents proving that the group had been meeting, or to produce documents related to Foxhoven’s termination, Reynolds claims that none exists.

“The need for a public meeting is more important because of recent allegations by Foxhoven that he was asked by Governor Reynolds to do something illegal and he declined,” said Sen. Claire Celsi. “Iowans deserve to know what is going on and we want to get to the bottom of it. We’re asking Senate Republican leaders Charles Schneider and Jack Whitver to authorize Senator Amy Sinclair, chair of the Senate Oversight committee, to convene a meeting so we can question those involved and get some answers.”


Statement on latest privatized Medicaid contracts

Iowa Senate News Release
For Immediate Release:  July 10, 2019


Statement from Senate Democratic Leader Janet Petersen on outrageous new contracts for privatized Medicaid 

“The outrageous contracts with two out-of-state corporations are more evidence that privatized Medicaid in Iowa is unsustainable, unaffordable and unpredictable.

“Governor Reynolds has once again agreed to give the MCOs the largest dollar increases for Medicaid in the last decade. The publicly managed Medicaid system grew at an average of 5% each year over a 10-year period before privatization. Last year, the increase was 8.4%. The increase announced today is a whopping 8.6%!

“Just imagine how much better off Iowans would be if K12 public schools, job training programs and family planning services received that kind of increased state support!

“The big cheerleaders for privatized Medicaid – Governor Reynolds and Republican legislators –cannot back up their claims that privatizing would save money and make people healthier. That’s because it hasn’t happened.

“Privatized Medicaid continues to be a bad, bad deal for Iowa Medicaid recipients, health care providers and taxpayers.”

  • end –

Legislative leaders to decide on medical cannabis special committee

For Immediate Release: July 9, 2019

Special committee would provide path for bipartisan agreement on medical cannabis

Decision to be made by legislative leaders this Thursday, July 11, at Iowa Statehouse

This Thursday, the leaders of the Iowa Legislature will be asked to create an interim committee to hammer out reforms of Iowa’s “worst in the nation” medical cannabis program.  

After several years without progress, a comprehensive bill was approved with overwhelming bipartisan support during the 2019 session.  A month later, Governor Reynolds vetoed the bill. An effort to override that veto fell short last month.

A study committee on medical cannabis reform offers the surest chance of success because it would allow input from advocates, medical experts and other interested Iowans, according to Sen. Joe Bolkcom of Iowa City and Rep. John Forbes of Urbandale.

“Year after year, Iowa families have traveled to the Statehouse pleading for help,” Bolkcom said.  “After listening to Iowans, we should hammer out a fix that is ready to go the day the 2020 session begins in January.” 

“All we need to do is focus on helping suffering families.  That’s it,” said Representative John Forbes, an Urbandale pharmacist.  “We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. All Iowa has to do is approve what’s working in other states and get the heck out of the way.”

The Legislative Council’s Studies Committee is scheduled to meet at 11:15 a.m. Thursday, July 11, 2019, in Room 22 of the Iowa State Capitol.


Interim committee request letter_FINAL


Contact the legislative council and encourage them to support an interim committee:

Breckenridge, Wes [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Deyoe, Dave [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Grassley, Pat [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Hagenow, Chris [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Hall, Chris [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Hein, Lee [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Oldson, Jo [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Prichard, Todd [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Steckman, Sharon [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Upmeyer, Linda [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Wills, John [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Windschitl, Matt [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Behn, Jerry [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Bolkcom, Joe [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Chapman, Jake [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Feenstra, Randy [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Jochum, Pam [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Lykam, Jim [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Petersen, Janet [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Ragan, Amanda [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Schneider, Charles [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Sinclair, Amy [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Whitver, Jack [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Zumbach, Dan [LEGIS] <[email protected]>

Fight for medical cannabis reforms continues

For Immediate Release: July 1, 2019


Legislative leaders announce next steps in the fight for Iowa medical cannabis reforms

News Conf Video:

Legislative advocates for reforming Iowa’s “worst in the nation” medical cannabis program say they will keep fighting for much needed reforms vetoed by Governor Reynolds.

“Representative Forbes and I called on our colleagues to join us in calling for a special session to overturn Governor Reynold misguided veto of modest improvements to Iowa medical cannabis program,” said Senator Joe Bolkcom of Iowa City.  “We are happy to report that every Democratic member of the Iowa Senate and Iowa House signed the call for a special session. Unfortunately, not a single Republican lawmaker acted to defend their votes.”

In April, House File 732 passed the Iowa House by a vote of 96 to 3 and the Iowa Senate by a vote of 40 to 7.

“We gave our Republican colleagues the opportunity to make a wrong by the governor into a right. They ignored us,” said Representative Forbes. “Now it is time to take action to make sure Iowa’s elected officials are advocates for people who are sick and not able to access and afford effective medicines.”

The two legislators said they would immediately press for a legislative interim committee to prepare legislation for passage early in the next session beginning in January, 2020.

“An interim committee would include public meetings and public input,” Bolkcom said.  “Secret meetings between the Governor and legislative Republicans failed to get the job done.  The Legislature needs to listen to patients and create a better program that meets their needs.”

The Legislative Council Committee is scheduled to meet Thursday, July 11, 2019, at 11:30 a.m. in Room 22, at the State Capitol.

“The July 11th meeting will be very important for Iowans who want to have the same access to effective medicines that most other Americans already have,” said Forbes.  “The goal now must be seeing the necessary medical cannabis reforms signed into law shortly after the January start of the 2020 session.”