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Iowa House Bill 174 seeks to form task force

By Jeff Sigmund
On March 22, 2017

Iowa House Bill HSB 174, a follow-up bill to HSB 138, has been introduced. 

HSB 138 was authored by Iowa Governor Terry Brandstad on Feb. 23 and was killed in committee on Feb. 27 by Representative Bobby Kaufmann of District 73. 

It aimed to cut the number of professions requiring a license in Iowa. The affected professions included respiratory therapists, massage therapists, barbers, funeral directors, interior design, mental health counselors, social workers, electrical workers and plumbers. 

The new bill, HSB 174, is a bill for an act relating to certain state regulations, including certificate of need requirements and the practice of certain professions. 

At a League of Women Voters of Johnson County forum on Feb. 25, Representative Mary Mascher of District 86 told the crowd there would be a bill to look at forming committees on this very subject. HSB 174 is the new bill of which she spoke.

The bill seeks to form a task force. Section 72 of the bill reads, “A professional licensing task force is established to review the requirements for each professional license in the state and make recommendations regarding each profession that is subject to state licensure requirements with the goals of protecting public health and safety, removing barriers to practice, streamlining application processes, reducing the size, scope, and cost of government, and reducing licensing fees.”

According to the bill, there will be a diverse group of people appointed to the task force. Politicians will make up some of those appointments but the task force must also include three members of the public with professional licenses and experience, who will be appointed by the governor. 

The bill also states, “The task force shall receive input and comments from members of every profession currently licensed by the state and provide notice to the professional associations for each licensed profession of the date and time of each meeting of the task force, no less than five business days before the date of the meeting.” 

Kaufmann said, “This new bill and the task force that it will have formed will allow people in their professions to have a say in how this is handled and what requirements are needed to do their job and how it will move forward.”

The League of Women Voters of Linn County held a Legislative Forum at Mercy Medical Center’s Hallagan Center in Cedar Rapids, March 18. 

After the forum, Senator Liz Mathis said of the new bill, “I think this is far better than the last bill the governor tried to pass through [HSB 138]. It gives the people who it would affect a say in what is or isn’t included.” 

She added, “Even with that, I will be watching very closely to make sure nothing is passed that could harm or cause the loss of jobs to Iowans.”

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