Category Archives: View Point

View Point – Healthy Conversations: Are You Getting the Nutrients You Need?

Vitamins are the essential nutrients that your body needs to thrive and function. By eating a well-balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, you’ll take in most of the vitamins you need. But, sometimes, we fall short. Certain illnesses and conditions can also keep us from getting the proper levels of nutrients. So, how do you know if a multivitamin supplement is right for you?
When to use a multivitamin — and how to choose one
While a balanced, nutrient-rich diet is the best way to get vitamins and minerals, people with dietary restrictions or food allergies might fill in the gaps with a multivitamin. Because the recommended daily intake for nutrients varies by age, gender, and health condition, talk to your doctor about what you should look for in a vitamin supplement.
Those who should consider using a multivitamin:
•Women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Consume adequate amounts of folic acid (found in fortified breads, cereals, pastas and other grains, and in supplement form) to prevent spina bifida and other birth defects.
•Premenopausal women, vegetarians and vegans. Monitor iron intake (red meat, beans, lentils and spinach contain iron), as many people fall short of this nutrient.
•Vegans and adults over the age of 50. You might be deficient in vitamin B-12. That nutrient comes from dairy, eggs, seafood and poultry, which vegans avoid, and some older adults don’t easily absorb the vitamin from food.
•Older adults and people not exposed to enough sunlight. You may need supplemental vitamin D. The body’s ability to get the vitamin from the sun’s rays decreases with age.
•Individuals who have conditions affecting how the body digest food (such as food allergies, gastrointestinal diseases or lactose intolerance). Those who have had gastric bypass surgery for weight loss, may need to enhance their diets with supplements.
Other considerations
When considering multivitamins, watch out for potential interactions with medications and lifestyle habits. Too much iron, for instance, builds up in the body and can damage organs and tissue. Extra folic acid might boost cancer risk. Supplements containing vitamin K can lower the effectiveness of blood-thinning medications like Warfarin (including Coumadin and other brand names). Research also links multivitamins containing large amounts of beta-carotene and vitamin A to increased lung cancer risk among smokers and former smokers.
To avoid taking in too much of certain nutrients, consider multivitamin formulas created for specific ages and genders. Multivitamins for older adults tend to include extra vitamin D and calcium, for example, while men’s formulas tend to contain lower levels of iron.

ViewPoint: Work Continues on State Budget

By Dean Fisher, Iowa House of Representatives, District 72

The Legislature has now passed the 110 day milestone; our clerks are all released and our per diem has ended. However, the work continues as we work on the budget. My clerk for this session, Collin Brecher of La Porte City, did an excellent job and I miss him as we continue the session. I relied on Collin heavily for research activities along with the other more clerical tasks that go with the job. Collin is a Political Science major at UNI so his work here was beneficial to his studies. Collin will now be going back to his full time studies at UNI.
I have nearly completed the round of donations from my unused legislative expenses to the fire departments in the district for the 2014 session; I have one department left to visit to complete the year. For 2014 I will have donated $13,000 for the year, $26,500 total since I made this commitment beginning with the 2013 session. I have also begun the donations for the 2015 session with a simultaneous contribution for 2014 and 2015 to the Clemons Fire Department.
The budget bills have been moved off the House floor and have been sent to Conference Committee where the Senate and House versions will be negotiated.
The Appropriations bills that started in the House consist of the following:
House File 637 – Deals with the Department of Transportation infrastructure, maintenance programs, planning and other needs before the rest of the Road Use Tax Fund is distributed to the state, counties and cities. This bill does not use General Fund Revenue; it distributes only money from the Road Use Tax Fund which is supplied by fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees.
House File 650 – Is the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund bill that distributes the Casino money that the state receives for infrastructure projects such as buildings at our Regents schools, water quality and nutrient reduction initiatives, etc.
House File 659 – Is the Administration and Regulation Appropriations which funds our governor’s office, other executive functions and the state regulatory agencies.
House File 658 – Is the Education Appropriations which funds our community colleges, Regents universities, grants for students at private colleges, and many other education related agencies (but not K-12 funding, that is in a different bill).
As always, feel free to contact me at dean.fisher@legis.iowa.gov with your thoughts and concerns about our state government.

View Point – Safe at Home Act Vital

Safe at Home Act Vital

By Paul D. Pate
Iowa Secretary of State
Paul.Pate@sos.iowa.gov

April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month and that made it the perfect time for the Iowa Legislature to approve the Safe at Home Act. The bill’s purpose is simple. It is designed to prevent victims from being physically located through a public records search.
The incidents of sexual assault and domestic violence in Iowa are much more frequent than most people realize. The statewide numbers are staggering. According to the Attorney General’s Crime Victim Assistance Division, almost 21,000 Iowans receive victim assistance services at any given time because of domestic violence. Almost 3,500 domestic violence convictions are handed down to criminals every year in Iowa courts. Domestic violence affects men, women and innocent children in our state.
The Safe at Home Act will provide an alternate address for participants to utilize as their new legal address after they have moved away from their abuser to start a new life. In order to become certified in the Safe at Home confidential address program, participants must take action against their abusers, such as protective orders, criminal complaints or police reports. Participants may enroll in the program before an abuser is convicted. That is part of the success of the program – it enables victims of these crimes to be proactive toward getting their lives back on track.
This legislation cannot replace other legislative initiatives that might keep offenders in prison longer, nor does it expedite the legal procedures that might incarcerate offenders sooner. However, this program helps victims of violence start over by taking back the power and control from their offenders.
My office has worked closely with legislators on both sides of the aisle, state agencies, SAH programs in other states and public records interest groups to work out complicated arrangements related to public records and public disclosure. The fact that both chambers of the Iowa Legislature passed the bill unanimously is an indication not only of its widespread support, but also reflects that interested groups are satisfied that their concerns are addressed.
More importantly, saving the lives of Iowans currently living in fear is a worthwhile and meaningful plan. According to data from the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, an average of 13 deaths occur every year in our state due to domestic violence. This bill will reduce that number by making it easier for victims to leave their abusers and to prevent being found by them. The Safe at Home Act is real progress in this battle. It will help victims become survivors.

Questions and Answers About the Iowa Public Information Board

Question: What are the powers and duties of the Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB)?

Answer: The IPIB is an independent agent authorized by statute (Iowa Code chapter 23) to issue advice, or declaratory orders with the force of law, regarding the applicability of the open meetings (Chapter 21) and open records (Chapter 22) laws.
It can receive and investigate complaints alleging violations of the laws and seek resolution through an informal process. If a complaint cannot be resolved informally, and the IPIB has probable cause to believe the law has been violated, the board may prosecute the government body or official in a contested-case proceeding under the Administrative Procedures Act (Chapter 17A). The IPIB can issue subpoenas to investigate complaints and prosecute cases, and it can also issue orders with the force of law to require compliance with the sunshine laws.
The IPIB also offers training in Chapters 21 and 22 to government bodies, disseminates information to the public, submits an annual report to the Governor and Legislature and makes recommendations relating to access to government information.

Question: What are the limits of the IPIB jurisdiction?

Answer: The IPIB does not have jurisdiction over the judicial or legislative branches, or over the Governor and Governor’s office. A complaint must be filed with 60 days from the time the alleged violation occurred or the complainant could have become aware of the violation with reasonable diligence.

Question: Do I have to file a public meetings or records complaint with the IPIB instead of going to court? If I file a complaint with the board and am dissatisfied with the result, can I appeal?

Answer: Any person, the Attorney General or a County Attorney seeking to enforce open meetings and records laws can bring the complaint before the IPIB, or the individual can bring an action in state district court, as under current law. If more than one party simultaneously brings an action before the IPIB and in court, the court shall stay the case pending resolution of the complaint by the IPIB. A final IPIB order is subject to judicial review.

Question: Where can I find out more information about the IPIB?

Answer: The IPIB has a website: www.ipib.iowa.gov. You can also contact the IPIB staff by phone at 515.725.1781, by fax at 515.725.1789 or by email at IPIB@iowa.gov.

View Point: Rural America – March 4, 2015

Rural America: It’s Complicated, Really Complicated

By Brian Depew, briand@cfra.org, Center for Rural Affairs

There are two closely held, widely believed, narratives about rural America. The national media narrative, with roots in the 1980’s farm crisis, is fatalistic. Rural places are dying. It lives on at the Brookings Institute and the New York Times, fueled by demographics that show decades of population decline across much of rural America.
The other narrative is woven by small town boosters. They point to new demographic data showing 30-49 year olds returning to small towns. They talk with passion about new businesses and housing shortages.
The challenge is, neither narrative is wholly accurate. The truth is far more complex. The fatalists, caught in a crisis mind frame, are wrong. Rural America will not return to a vast buffalo commons anytime soon. Meanwhile, the boosters lead with great local successes while brushing over underlying trends.
To build a vibrant small town future in America, we must understand clearly what challenges we face and where emerging opportunities exist.
Many small towns are losing population, yet young families moving in often cannot find housing. Much small town infrastructure is in decline, but contractors, plumbers and electricians have more work than they can handle, often with new construction. Small town grocery stores are under pressure but community-led efforts to retain grocery stores have seen dramatic success.
America’s small town reality is complex. Some places thrive, others struggle. And in every small town there is a mix of success and challenge. Understanding these dynamics is the only path to a vibrant future.