Reynolds Signs History Agenda, Behavioral Health System Measures Into Law – Iowa Capital Dispatch

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed several bills into law Wednesday, including a measure requiring social studies and civics classes in Iowa schools to focus more on U.S. and Western history .

The governor signed Beit Shalom Jewish Community Docket 2545 in Davenport on Wednesday. The measure directs the Iowa Board of Education to conduct a review and revision of the state’s social studies standards to include topics such as “exemplary people and significant events” from Iowa, United States and Western Civilization, as well as covering the model of the American state and federal government in relation to other forms of government, including “crimes against humanity committed under the communist regimes since 1917. Social studies standards created by the board for grades 1-12 must be adopted by December 31, 2025.

In a press release on the bill signing, Reynolds said the bill – which requires teaching topics such as the two world wars, 9/11 and American historical documents including the Declaration of independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Emancipation Proclamation – will help Iowa students. learn to be more engaged citizens.

The governor highlighted the fact that the bill specifically requires teaching about the Holocaust, World War II and “the importance of ancient Israel.” The signing of the bill comes as protests and encampments opposing Israeli military action in Gaza have intensified across the country, particularly on college campuses like Columbia University. In Iowa, the University of Iowa’s Palestine Action established an encampment as part of a pro-Palestinian action that was soon after dismantled by police in early May .

“At a time when so many young people are failing to learn the lessons of history, this legislation will help keep Iowa on a different and better path,” Reynolds said in a statement. “It will also ensure that we provide our students with the foundation needed to actively participate in our democracy – the best form of government in the world.” »

The law also directs the director of the Iowa Department of Education to conduct a review of Iowa’s curriculum, educational standards, and high school graduation rates, and to make recommendations to the governor and legislature by July 1, 2025.

Other signed invoices include:

Behavioral health

House File 2673, which establishes the Behavioral Health Services System (BHSS) to provide mental health and substance abuse services in the state. The new system would combine Mental Health and Disability Services (MHDS) benefits with the state’s drug and addiction treatment services, creating seven care districts to take over from the current 13 health regions mental health and 19 drug addiction regions.

Disability care provided through MHDS would be transferred to the Division of Disability and Aging Services of the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services. The new system is expected to be implemented by July 1, 2025.

Reynolds said in a statement that the new system creates a unified system for related services in a way that “will enable better coordination of care promoting the best possible outcomes for each individual,” praising lawmakers for passing the measure with the bipartisan support.

“The new system will be made up of seven districts, each with a governing agency and advisory board to maintain strong local ties,” Reynolds said. “Additionally, each district will be required to provide a standard set of core services, ensuring consistent care system-wide. Finally, the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services, under the exceptional leadership of Director Kelly Garcia, will define district boundaries and required services, implement performance measures, and provide necessary system oversight.

Reynolds joined Iowa Health and Human Services Director Kelly Garcia and service providers from Foundation 2 Crisis Services in Cedar Rapids to sign the bill Wednesday. Garcia said the “intentionally planned” new system will make prevention, treatment and recovery services more accessible and effective for Iowans in need.

“The success of this overhaul depends on our unity in our approach to a new national plan for behavioral health – shared goals, shared responsibilities,” Garcia said.

Fake meat, food labeling

Senate File 2391, which creates fines for companies that create and label non-meat products with terms used for butchered meat without including words like “fake” or “vegetarian” to indicate that the substances are not products made from animal meat.

“This legislation prohibits companies from exploiting the trust consumers place in our breeders and deceiving consumers into purchasing products they do not want,” Reynolds said in a statement. “It’s a question of transparency. This is the common sense idea that a product labeled chicken, beef or pork should actually come from an animal.

The law also adds labeling requirements and fines for mislabeling “manufactured egg products” as eggs, a provision added as an amendment in the House. During the floor debate, Democrats came out against the “manufactured egg” provision to add purchasing restrictions on these products for Iowans using food benefit programs such as the Food Benefits Program. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) or the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

If egg substitutes are approved through these programs, the law directs Iowa HHS to request waivers or exemptions for the eligibility of these products for purchase through SNAP or WIC.

While Democrats have argued that the provision is unfair to food benefits for Iowans with egg allergies, Republicans have argued that foods used as egg substitutes could still likely be purchased through SNAP and WIC, because the measure would only apply if they are labeled as eggs. substitutes.