There’s a bit of uncertainty at the statehouse as lawmakers quibble over a bill that would limit Iowans’ access to cold and allergy pills that contain pseudoephedrine. More and more meth labs are being found in Iowa. and the idea behind the bill is to restrict access to pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient for meth that’s found in common cold remedies. On Wednesday night, the House unanimously passed a tough version of the bill that would put all those medications behind a pharmacy counter. The Senate on Thursday voted to insist on its own version which would restrict access to most, but let Iowans buy a couple of doses of cold or allergy pills. Now, the question is which 10 legislators will be picked to write the final version of the bill. A retired trooper (Rep. Clel Baudler of Greenfield) and a retired cop (Rep. Jim Van Fossen of Davenport) who have been in on the bill’s development from the beginning may be shut out because they favor a version their House republican leaders do not. House Democrat Leader Pat Murphy of Dubuque says those two men have a combined 50 years of experience in law enforcement. Murphy says he’d be “shocked” if House leaders fail to let the two lawmen be in on drafting the final version of the bill. G-O-P leaders in the House refuse to comment on that controversy, and simply say the final version of the meth bill will be tougher than what’s on the books in any other state. House Republican Leader Chuck Gipp of Decorah says it’s important to let Iowans have access to at least a couple of doses of the cold medications the bill targets. “You still have citizens in a large part of the state (who) want to have access, minimal access, to these products,” Gipp says. Governor Tom Vilsack weighed in yesterday, too, saying he wants a law that puts cold and allergy pills behind the counter, but not necessarily a pharmacist’s counter, to make it harder for meth-makers to buy the key ingredient for the drug. Vilsack says he wants the legislature to “ultimately agree” that folks have to show an I.D. and ask a clerk or pharmacist to obtain any of the non-prescription medications that contain pseudoephedrine.”I’m confident that the final product…will be something that will send a clear and strong message to methamphetamine dealers that we are not interested in them doing business in our state,” Vilsack says.
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