A roundup of legislative and Capitol news items of interest for Wednesday:

IOWA CARE: On Valentine’s Day, members of AARP came to the Capitol to press lawmakers to pass HF 2289 and SSB 3123, which they call the Iowa CARE (Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable) Act. At no cost to the state or taxpayers, it would provide support for Iowa’s more than 317,000 family caregivers who help their older parents, spouses and other loved ones live safely and independently at home.

It includes three steps that will help family caregivers when their loved ones go into the hospital and as they transition home. It requires that a family caregiver’s name be recorded when their loved one is admitted to a hospital, the caregiver be informed when their loved one is to be moved or discharged and the caregiver is provided instruction of the medical tasks they will need to perform at home.

“Right now, family caregivers across Iowa are performing medical and nursing tasks for their loved ones; most have no training,” said Kent Sovern, state director of AARP Iowa, which serves more than 370,000 members 50 and older in Iowa. “More disturbing, half of all family caregivers whose loved ones were hospitalized did not receive instruction on medical tasks before discharge. We can fix this.”

Iowa is one of 14 states that does not have a law similar to the 2018 Iowa CARE Act. No federal laws, rules or regulations — including those for Medicare — define the steps hospitals must take so family caregivers are engaged in their loved ones’ care.

CHAIRWOMAN UPMEYER: Iowa House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, R-Clear Lake, will chair the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee for the 2018 campaign cycle.

“In an election environment that has invigorated female candidates and voters, I’m proud to serve as the first chairwoman for the RLCC,” Upmeyer said. “With Republican majorities in 67 legislatures, the RLCC will have a lot of territory to defend in 2018, but I’m confident with the right message and resources we can maintain and grow these majorities.”

Upmeyer, first elected to the Legislature in 2002, became the first female speaker in Iowa history when she was elected to lead her legislative caucus in 2015. She presides over a Republican House caucus of 59 Republicans.

The Executive Committee includes state legislative leaders from 23 states.

SILENT BELL: A bell from the World War II-era USS Iowa was removed from the first floor rotunda of the Capitol on Wednesday where it had been on display. It will be transported to the Port of Los Angeles, where the retired battleship is permanently moored as a floating museum.

STEM DAY: Gov. Kim Reynolds visited with students, educators and business people who participated in STEM Day at the Capitol on Wednesday.

Sponsored by the STEM Council, it is an effort to update lawmakers on science, technology, engineering and math education and careers as well as showcase hands-on, interactive and student-focused learning innovations.

The governor also spoke to participants about the importance of STEM education.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I scheduled this on Valentine’s Day because I thought you were going to give me more love than that, Rep. Hall.” — House Appropriations Committee Chairman Pat Grassley, R-New Hartford, who presented a deappropriation package Wednesday.

 Times Bureau

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