Newsletter | March 11, 2021

To the People of House District 54

One highlight of Week 9 was helping pass our seventh and eighth bills to help remedy Iowa’s child care crisis. As a working mom and a small business owner, I understand the great need we have for affordable and reliable child care. I also was glad to help expand access to mental health in Iowa by passing two related bills.

 

Child Care

Iowa faces a shortage of child care providers, and our state also has one of the highest rates of both parents in the workforce. The ongoing pandemic exacerbated our need for affordable, reliable, and high-quality child care. That’s why House Republicans put together a package of bills to help increase the child care workforce, increase provider rates to maintain existing child care facilities, provide incentives to develop new child care facilities, and help hard-working families afford the high cost of child care. 

The child care-related bills we passed this week include:

  • HF 606 creates additional tax incentives for employers to invest in an onsite daycare option for employees. 

  • HF 712 creates a child care incentive for developers to construct more child care centers. 

 

Mental Health

This week Iowa House members passed two bills related to expanding access to mental health services:

  • HF 294 requires health insurers to reimburse for mental health services provided through telehealth at the same rate as services provided in-person. This will be a huge help to all Iowans, especially those of us who live in rural communities. 

  • HF 773 provides for a statewide study of Iowa's mental health services. This information will help identify opportunities to better serve Iowans suffering from mental illness. This is also the first step in requesting an 1115 Waiver from the federal government which would provide additional funds for services to treat mental illness. 

Beginning Farmer Tax Credits

House File 694 proposes adjustments to the Beginning Farmer Ag Asset Transfer Tax credit program. The most notable changes to this program proposed by HF 694 include:

  • Lifting cap on the number of times an agreement to transfer agricultural assets may be renewed from once to unlimited; increasing the cumulative lengths of agreements may be to no more than 15 years.

  • Removing the cap on the number of years an eligible taxpayer may participate in the program and limiting the number of tax credit certificates for the program to 10. This would allow a taxpayer to receive a tax credit certificate for up to 15 years and with multiple agreements with different parties.

  • Removing the annual $50,000 cumulative cap of tax credit payment that anyone participating eligible taxpayer may receive. Instead, anyone’s agreement may not exceed $50,000 in one year.

 

Iowa Ranks #1 in Opportunity

 

 

Iowa ranks #1 in opportunity nationwide, according to a rankings report released March 9 by “U.S. News and World Report.” Iowa received this ranking based largely on the strength of its performance in two of the opportunity subcategories: affordability (at No. 4) and economic opportunity (at No. 12). Our state also ranks number one in housing affordability, plus Iowa has the third-lowest level of food insecurity. 

 

Stay in Touch

 

Feel free to contact me with questions or concerns about bills and issues. You’re welcome to send an email to Shannon.Latham@legis.iowa.gov or message me on my political Facebook page (@ShannonLathamIA). 
 

 

 

“Front Row News” is distributed to local newspapers and interested constituents at the end of each week throughout the legislative session. “Looking Ahead with Latham” is a video update posted each Monday on my political Facebook page. 

 

Sincerely,  
Rep. Shannon Latham 
Iowa House District 54
 

You’re always welcome to contact me about issues that are of interest to you. Feel free to send me a message via my political Facebook page or my legislative email, which is shannon.latham@legis.iowa.gov.
 

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