Yesterday the Iowa House State Government Committee met to discuss pending legislation for the final time before their self-imposed “funnel deadline”. The “funnel deadline” is an arbitrary date by which individual pieces of legislation must have met certain benchmarks in order to remain eligible for debate moving forward. In this case, SF364’s (O&P State Licensure) benchmarks were passage out of one chamber and at least one committee in another chamber by the end of this week. As I’ve written previously, SF364 passed out of the Senate with a strong bipartisan vote of 37-12 earlier this month and was on track for another bipartisan vote this week in the House State Government Committee, but a final committee vote was blocked yesterday.
After receiving a unanimous, bipartisan subcommittee vote of 3-0 earlier this week, the House Republican State Government caucus decided SF364 needed additional work before they would bring it up for debate. At issue was the $40,000 cost associated with the initial start up of the board and supposedly adding another layer of government bureaucracy. Although we worked hard to educate State Government Committee members on the anticipated fraud/abuse reimbursement savings to Medicaid/Iowa Cares programs and compromised to combine our board with the State Board of Podiatry to save costs, this was not enough to sway the State Government Chair, Rep. Peter Cownie, to allow a vote on SF364, effectively killing the bill’s chances for 2011.
We’ve worked hard and made tremendous advances on O&P State Licensure this year, but we have more work to do. With SF364 now dead for 2011, we must continue educating members of the House State Government Committee as we continue our efforts in the 2012 Legislative Session.
Be sure to watch the next issue of the OPGA Connection for a full break down of the legislative process, contentious issues and where we go from here.