DES MOINES, Iowa (KCAU) — This week Republicans and Democrats in the Iowa Senate voted along party lines to approve a 1,500-page bill restructuring the executive branch of the state of Iowa.

The bill, SF 514, is split into 21 sections which would take the number of departments from 37 down to 16. In a press release on her website, Governor Kim Reynolds called the bill, the summary of which is more than 40 pages, the first major restructuring of the executive branch in over 40 years.

Reynolds has yet to sign the bill, but already the Iowa Department of Public Health website has been set to redirect to the Health and Human Services Website. Here is a breakdown of the major changes contained within Division I of the bill.

The merger of the Department of Public Health and the Department of Health and Human Services

Division I of the bill primarily focuses on the restructuring of the Department of Public Health and the Division of Human Services. The departments are headed by two different department heads, however, the bill would bring all of the services under the Director of Health and Human Services.

Within the restructuring of the department, there is also a restructuring of the smaller boards and commissions within the department. Many of these changes are editing Iowa Code to clarify that the boards are under the new Department of Health and Human Services.

DHHS will investigate the deaths of children under their care

Another substantial change in the bill will be how the deaths of children who are cared for by the Department of Health and Human Services are handled.

Under current law, deaths of children in foster care are investigated by the State Medical Examiner’s Office. This means that the investigations are taking place independently from the organization. However, under the bill the deaths of children in the foster care system will now be investigated by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The renaming of the Board of Public Health

Under Iowa Law, the Board of Public Health is made up of 11 individual members, four of whom were members of the public and the other seven being those familiar with health or public health. Members serve three-year terms and their duties include studying legislation that would impact public health, providing guidance to the director of Public Health and reviewing and adopting rules made by the Department of Public Health.

Much of this will not change under the bill, neither will the duties of the board of health. What will change is the name, with the board now being called the Council on Health and Human Services.

County boards of local health will remain intact with the chapter regarding local health boards undergoing only minor changes to correct for the change in name and structure of the Department of Health and Human Services.