Iowa Politics Today: Bill for expanded medical use of cannabis oil stalls day after it was introduced to committee

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A roundup of legislative and Capitol news items of interest for Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017:

CANNABIS BILL STALLS: A bill that could have expanded the use of cannabis oil for Iowans dealing with a number of debilitating medical conditions stalled in the House Public Safety Committee Thursday. One day earlier a three-person panel of state legislators advanced a bill that would extend the current program, which permits the use of a medicinal byproduct of the marijuana plant for treatment of intractable epilepsy but is set to expire in July. It also would have expanded it to permit the product to be grown and sold in Iowa and create a process by which more ailments would be covered. Committee chairman Rep. Clel Baudler, R-Greenfield, said he pulled House Study Bill 132 Thursday because he could only muster support from three of the 11 GOP committee members. “At this time, if it isn’t dead, it sure as hell is shot through with holes,” he told reporters after the meeting. Baudler and House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, R-Clear Lake, said Thursday they expect another bill will pass this session to simply lift the expiration date so Iowans using cannabis oil to reduce their seizures may continue with the treatment.

SMALLER BIRTH CERTIFICATES: The Iowa Department of Public Health is taking steps to exchange any newborn birth certificate issued from May 1993 to October 2009 where the birth certificate is a small wallet-size card. The newborn birth certificate wallet cards issued during this time period did not contain enough vital record information to be used for identification purposes, state officials say, essentially making them less useful for the purpose they are intended to be used for. The birth certificate wallet card was printed as a perforated attachment to a larger document. The newborn birth cards may be exchanged by mail or in person with the Bureau of Health Statistics, 321 E. 12th St., Lucas State Office Building, Des Moines, Iowa 50319. Parents of many children have already exchanged the wallet-sized certificates, but the Iowa Department of Public Health is now offering the exchange at no charge. The application can be filed online through the Iowa Department of Public Health’s website, but officials said processing time may take four to six weeks per application due to the volume of requests.

UNSEARCHABLE WARRANTS: A House Public Safety subcommittee advanced HF 323 that would expunge search warrant information in cases when no charge is filed, the charge is dismissed or the case ends in acquittal. Legislation approved by the Iowa Legislature last year allows people to have the record of charges expunged if there is an acquittal or dismissal, and Rep. Rick Olson, D-Des Moines, said this bill builds on that. People encounter problems in housing, credit ratings and job searches if the information remains on Iowa Courts Online, Olson said. His bill would not affect the use and execution of search warrants, Olson said. Under current law, search warrant information is a confidential record until the warrant has been executed and a return of service is filed. Judges often seal the record for 90 days before they become public. Olson said that would not change.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “If you wanted me to get down in the weeds, you’d have to bleep me a whole bunch of times and we’re not going to go there. It’s shot up good, bleeding bad, damn near dead.” – House Public Safety Committee chairman Rep. Clel Baudler, R-Greenfield, describing a medical cannabis bill that he pulled from consideration Thursday due to a lack of affirmative GOP votes.


--Compiled by the Des Moines Bureau

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