Week five of the 2020 session is done. There is a quickening of activity as we near Friday’s deadline to get our bills out of committee in order to keep them alive for consideration. I appreciate the input from the district as you write and let me know which bills are important to you.

The headline this week is the abortion neutrality amendment. I wrote about this issue a couple of weeks ago, so I’ll just report SJR 2001 was approved by the Senate on a party line vote with all Republicans supporting the measure. The House has moved their equivalent resolution out of Rep. Holt’s Judiciary Committee, and I hope they will vote to approve it soon.

I moved my own project out of the Labor Committee last week. Senate Study Bill 3068 is a bill to expand my effort of the last two years to inject technology and efficiency into the verification of both applicants and recipients of Iowa’s welfare benefit programs.

The 2018 Farm Bill required states to join the National Accuracy Clearinghouse. This program had been run as a pilot program in five southern states to root out fraud by those seeking benefits in two states at one time. It worked so well the federal government decided every state who receives federal tax dollars for food assistance programs should use the NAC as well.

The first division of SSB 3068 requires the Iowa Department of Human Services to take the first step in joining NAC. They have since started this process, but hadn’t finished when I filed the bill.

The second division expands this use of data base algorithms to all other public assistance programs and authorizes the private vendor to search out information in both federal and state public data bases. While researching this subject, it was startling how much information was out there. I don’t like it, but everyday items, such as marriage and birth records, vehicle registrations, property ownership and transactions, and more are publicly available information. We may as well use it to minimize fraud in our welfare programs.

If you have questions or comments please email jason.schultz@legis.iowa.gov.

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