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The Trump Administration reverses course on international student rule; the ultra-rich keep getting richer; and rental costs are burdens for low-wage workers.

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Biden follows up on a climate policy plan from his task force, made up of his and Sen. Bernie Sanders' supporters. Alabama, Maine and Texas had elections; new data from California's March presidential primary show 1.5% of returned absentee ballots rejected.

Disability Advocates, IA Lawmakers Optimistic Over New DHS Leader

In addition to a federal investigation, Iowa lawmakers might soon be looking into issues surrounding the Department of Human Services. In the meantime, the new DHS director is getting praise over her response. (Adobe Services)
In addition to a federal investigation, Iowa lawmakers might soon be looking into issues surrounding the Department of Human Services. In the meantime, the new DHS director is getting praise over her response. (Adobe Services)
February 28, 2020

DES MOINES, Iowa - Iowa lawmakers say they like the job the interim Department of Human Services director has been doing, and have confirmed her permanent appointment to the post. Advocates for people with disabilities are expressing optimism as well.

Kelly Garcia was named interim director last fall amid a major controversy surrounding the department. Federal investigators began looking into questionable practices at the state-run Glenwood Resource Center for people with disabilities.

In voting yes on the confirmation, State Sen. Liz Mathis - D-Hiawatha - noted that Garcia has been responsive on many fronts.

"She arrived at a very critical time," says Mathis. "She was open, informative and proactive."

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle voiced support for Garcia in the light of the situation she inherited. The investigation is looking into whether patients with disabilities were inappropriately used for various studies.

The Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council says it's concerned over the investigation, but expressed hope over how Garcia has responded.

Council Executive Director Brooke Lovelace says they're encouraged by the fact that Garcia reached out to them and requested to attend an upcoming council meeting.

"We're hoping that we could also be a support to the director as she moves forward to make some changes that are needed in our service system here in Iowa," says Lovelace.

Lovelace says they plan to convey to Garcia what they've been asking lawmakers - which is more funding for community-based services.

Disclosure: Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council contributes to our fund for reporting on Disabilities, Health Issues, Mental Health. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Mike Moen, Public News Service - IA