From Sen. Amanda Ragan –
Safety is a key reason Iowa is a great place to live, work and raise a family.
Iowa is among the 10 most peaceful states in the country, according to a report by the Institute for Economics and Peace. Data compiled by the Trust for America’s Health shows we have the 12th-lowest rate of injury deaths.
Iowa ranks high because our state meets many recommended safety standards that keep us healthy and save lives. The Trust for America’s Health cites Iowa’s commitment to tracking the causes of injuries in order to make smart decisions that prevent future accidents. These efforts include prescription drug monitoring to prevent accidental overdoses, required seat belt use and increased attention to head injuries in youth sports.
We built on Iowa’s safety standards this year by:
1. Increasing fines and penalties for drivers who endanger children by violating school bus laws. (SF 2218)
2. Requiring criminal background checks for school bus drivers. (SF 2221)
3. Increasing funding for the state troopers who help keep roadways safe and respond to accidents. (HF 2335)
4. Ensuring safety for workers, prisoners and the public by fighting for adequate prison staffing. (HF 2335)
5. Stiffening penalties for drivers who fail to move over and slow down for vehicles with flashing lights responding to roadside emergencies. (HF 2228)
6. Toughening penalties for domestic abuse that includes strangulation, an intentional act that often leads to more deadly assaults. (SF 93)
7. Preventing child abuse through better training for doctors, teachers, social workers, police officers and other mandatory child abuse reporters. (SF 2225)
8. Cracking down on scrap metal theft, a crime that can create fire hazards and other dangers. (HF 2399)
9. Banning dangerous “designer drugs,” including K2 and bath salts, which frequently send users to the emergency room with ill effects. (SF 2343)
10. Making schools safer by requiring school districts to report misconduct by educators, administrators and other licensed personnel. (HF 2383)
11. Ensuring timely, high-quality 911 responses through upgraded technology. (SF 2332)
12. Improving communications and efficiency among our public safety agencies. (SF 2316)
13. Encouraging and recognizing volunteer firefighters and EMTs by providing a tax credit for meeting minimum training standards. (SF 2322)
This is a legislative column by Senator Amanda Ragan, representing Mitchell and Floyd counties and parts of Cerro Gordo and Howard counties. For newsletters, photos and further information, go to www.senate.iowa.gov/Ragan.
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, Rules & Administration, Natural Resources & Environment, and Veterans Affairs committees.