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Many citizens unhappy with HSB 138

By Jeff Sigmund & Michelle Lindsey
On March 8, 2017

Representative Bobby Kaufmann responds to a question from Kirkwood Alumna Dawn Richmond
during the League of Women Voters Legislator Forum on Feb. 25 in Coralville. PHOTO BY JEFF SIGMUND.

A new bill titled HSB 138 and authored by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has aimed to cut the number of professions requiring a license in Iowa. 

The affected professions include respiratory therapists, massage therapists, barbers, funeral directors, interior design, mental health counselors, social workers, electrical workers and plumbers. State registration would be required for many instead. 

Sarah Davis, wife of Kirkwood respiratory therapy student Jacob Davis, started an online petition against the bill.  In less than 24 hours it had gained over 3,000 signatures and as of date it has gained more than 16,494 signatures.

In an interview with KCRG, Tamara Alt, respiratory therapist and instructor at Kirkwood, said that if the bill is approved, it would place Iowa with Alaska-- the only other state not requiring respiratory therapists to have a license. “Not having regulation to ensure safety of the practitioner that is at the bedside is a significant concern,” she said. 

On Feb. 25, The League of Women Voters of Johnson County, presented a Legislator Forum at Coralville City Hall. Participants on the panel included representatives, Bobby Kaufmann (IA House 73) and Mary Mascher (IA House 86).                                                                                                                                           

During the forum Dawn Richmond, 1998 Kirkwood graduate of the Respiratory Therapy program, spoke to the panel and gave them a brief description on what a respiratory therapist does at their job. 

Richmond ended her description by saying, “I appreciate your effort to kill the bill. What is the likely hood for it to resurface?” 

Representative Kaufmann replied, “It won’t and I can guarantee that.” He added that, “It won’t pass and the bill will be dead by Monday at 3:00.” 

Davis,

said after the forum, “The possible passage of this bill is very frightening, patient safety could be compromised.” 

Just two days later on Feb. 27, Representative Kaufman drew applause from citizens as he said, “I wanted to publicly declare that when it comes to licensure reform and the taking away of all the things that you all have done and that you have dedicated your lives for, as far I’m concerned, my opinion is this,” he then ripped in half a cover sheet for House Study Bill 138.

In a follow-up interview, Sen. Liz Mathis said, “I am appalled at the lack of research and knowledge by the Governor’s staff before they asked the House to support this bill. We understand that the floor manager of HSB 138 indicates he will not advance the bill, but I made sure on the floor of the Senate this morning that senators will not try to move similar legislation through.”

For more on this story, log on to www.kirkwoodstudentmedia.com.

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