Ragan Report

Economic growth forum on April 4

I have invited two of my Senate colleagues to join me for an upcoming North Iowa meeting on economic growth. Senator Bill Dotzler of Waterloo is chair of the Economic Development Budget, and Senator Steve Sodders of State Center chairs the Senate's Economic Growth Committee. We want to hear your ideas for creating local jobs and boosting the economy.

The event is open to the public and is co-sponsored by North Iowa Area Community College and the North Central Iowa Alliance. It runs from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Friday, April 4, at NIACC’s Muse Norris Conference Center.

 

Making Iowa the best place for veterans

In the coming years, our nation will see a number of retiring military personnel. These Americans have skills that make them invaluable to Iowa businesses. Attracting them to our state will bring skilled workers who can help grow our economy.

The legislature has worked in a bipartisan way to make Iowa a national leader in state support for veterans, service members and their families. These efforts have helped Iowa become one of the first All★Vet States, along with Michigan and Tennessee. This year, we continue to explore opportunities to enhance services at the state and county levels, help returning service members reenter civilian life, and encourage more veterans to make Iowa their home.

SF 303 will exempt all military retirement pay from Iowa individual income tax starting this year. All Iowa residents receiving a pension for service in the Armed Forces, the Reserve or National Guard will get this benefit. Those who are eligible have given 20 or more years of military service to the nation.

SF 2242 expands eligibility and financing options for the state’s Military Homeownership Assistance Program. This program provides service members and veterans with a $5,000 grant that may be used toward the down payment and closing costs on a qualifying home purchase.

SF 2321 sets response and reporting requirements for sexual abuse allegations involving members of the Iowa National Guard, makes the process simpler for victims and gives them more options. It prohibits a commander from interfering with a victim’s right to report an assault to civilian law enforcement, but those who do not wish to press charges may still choose to report to the commander. The Iowa National Guard already has trained advocates to help victims of sexual assault.

 

Additional information

This is a legislative column by Senator Amanda Ragan, representing Franklin, Butler and Cerro Gordo counties. For newsletters, photos and further information, go to www.senate.iowa.gov/senator/ragan.

 

To contact Senator Ragan during the week, call the Senate Switchboard at 515-281-3371. Otherwise she can be reached at home at 641-424-0874. E-mail her at amanda.ragan@legis.iowa.gov.

 

Senator Ragan is an Assistant Senate Majority Leader, chair of the Human Resources Committee and vice-chair of the Health & Human Services Budget Subcommittee. She also serves on the Appropriations, Natural Resources & Environment, Rules & Administration and Veterans Affairs committees.