Iowa legislators funnel through more than 100 bills

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DES MOINES -- Iowa legislators are coming together to decide the fate of more than 100 proposed laws. In this 2017 legislative session, cuts have been made.

A bill that would increase interstate speed limits to 75 mph, for example, is not moving on.

And neither is a bill that would get rid of licensing requirements for professions like dietitians and social workers.

It was a different part of that bill not going through that has Iowa Governor Terry Branstad fired up. The governor was a big advocate of the portion of the bill that would have gotten rid of the state's certificate of need process for new health facilities.

"We're up against very powerful special interests that have a lot of money. But they protect their interest. We have a need especially in the area of mental health," says Branstad.

Right now in Iowa, all health facilities have to go in front of the certificate of need board to be approved before they can build.

Last year an out of state mental health facility was blocked twice from building in Bettendorf, Iowa. The two main groups who testified against that project were UnityPoint Health Trinity and Genesis Health System. Both are in favor of keeping the certificate of need process.

"If you eliminate that process, it pretty much creates chaos in the market. You could put together a hospital group anywhere," says Craig Cooper of Genesis Health System.

But Governor Branstad wants to see certificate of need gone for good.

"We have a need for more mental health facilities in the state, and this is a way to do it. It's more important to provide quality mental health services to people of Iowa than to protect the incumbent hospitals from competition," says Branstad.

Other bills that have advanced, the gun bill that would get rid of the age requirement to teach kids how to use a hand gun. Another bill that's moving through, one that would allow distilleries to sell by the glass. Right now they are limited to giving free samples.

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