From Senator Amanda Ragan –
GROWING IOWA’S MIDDLE CLASS IN 2013
The 2013 session of the Iowa Legislature gaveled in on Monday. I’m looking forward to a great year devoted to initiatives that will benefit Iowa families and businesses. Building a lasting recovery from the national recession means strengthening and expanding the middle class.
How can we do it?
• By improving Iowa schools through improving teacher quality, increasing student achievement and supporting innovation.
• By expanding access to affordable health care—including mental health care—reducing the chance that illness could bankrupt a family.
• By helping create jobs through tax cuts for small and Main Street businesses.
• By cutting taxes for hard-working Iowa families.
• By expanding job-training opportunities so that workers get the skills they need to fill local openings, including advancing employment opportunities for veterans.
These are a few of my top priorities for 2013. I welcome your ideas and suggestions.
CHIEF JUSTICE HIGHLIGHTS COURT OPENNESS, HELP FOR CHILDREN
This week, the Chief Justice of the Iowa’s Supreme Court gave the State of the Judiciary report about the work of Iowa’s court system. Iowa courts ensure access to justice for all Iowans and improving services for those in need, especially Iowa’s children.
Chief Justice Mark Cady highlighted the openness and transparency of Iowa’s court system, which allows audio, photo and video coverage of proceedings. The Supreme Court holds hearings in communities during evening hours, giving Iowans all across the state a chance to attend and see firsthand how the Supreme Court works.
In addition, the Supreme Court Justices visit local classrooms to talk with students, teachers and administrators about the role of our court system. They also seek input from business, community leaders and organizations about how the courts can better serve Iowa citizens.
The Chief Justice said that the Iowa court system will continue to look at innovations that save money and make the courts more accessible to Iowans, provide swift and impartial justice for all, and remain one of the best in the country.
IMPROVE THE SAFETY, APPEARANCE OF YOUR COMMUNITY
Through February 1, applications are being accepted for the 2013 Derelict Building Grants Program.
This grant program was approved by the Legislature to help rural communities with populations of 5,000 or less to fix up or get rid of declining commercial and public buildings.
The program emphasizes reuse and recycling of building items, helps improve community appearance and economic growth, and alleviates safety concerns. Grants can be used for asbestos removal, building deconstruction and renovation, and inspections and site assessments.
For further details and an application, go to http://tinyurl.com/DerelictBuildings.