The following is a legislative update from State Senator Amanda Ragan of Mason City, representing Franklin, Butler and Cerro Gordo counties:
SCHOOL TRAINING CAN PREVENT IRREVERSIBLE CONSEQUENCES
Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among school-age youth, but it is preventable. Kids contemplating suicide often show signs of distress. Those closest to them – parents, teachers and friends—are in key positions to pick up on cues and get help.
That’s the goal of SF 2113, which passed the Legislature unanimously. The bill requires training for educators on suicide awareness and prevention. Local school boards will include an hour of evidenced-based training on suicide prevention and “postvention” as part of a licensed educator’s professional development each year.
In addition, licensed school personnel who have regular contact with students will get an hour of training to help them identify adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) so that their impact can be minimized. ACEs can have negative effects on a person’s health and wellbeing throughout life. These experiences can include enduring abuse, witnessing domestic violence or substance abuse in the home.
ENHANCING RURAL INTERNET WILL BOOST ECONOMY
Earlier this year, Senate Democrats announced a plan to revitalize Iowa’s small towns and rural areas.
Our proposal includes expanding job creation in all 99 counties, ensuring safe, affordable housing, and increasing cultural and recreational opportunities. Another cornerstone of the plan calls for improving Internet service in rural Iowa.
I’m happy to report that we’re taking a big step toward that goal. This week, the Iowa Senate approved legislation (SF 2388) designed to incent phone, cable and Internet companies to invest more in expanding high-speed Internet.
I voted for the bill because I know our small towns and rural communities will reap great rewards with more reliable Internet service at homes, schools, businesses and farms. It’ll spur modern agriculture, connect small businesses to the global marketplace, and allow students to learn anything in the world from anywhere in the world.
GOVERNOR REYNOLDS, RAGAN BACK MENTAL HEALTH REFORMS
On Thursday, March 29th, Governor Kim Reynolds signed legislation to improve Iowa mental health care policy and prevent teen suicides. House File 2456 sets out a comprehensive approach to improving Iowa mental health. The funding for the effort is yet to be determined. Senate File 2113 requires Iowa schools to increase efforts to prevent youth suicides.
“Iowa took a step forward when Governor Kim Reynolds signed legislation responding to Iowa’s mental health crisis,” said Senator Amanda Ragan. “Included were ideas I strongly supported after listening to families and health care providers in North Iowa and from across the state. This is a first step to making effective care more available to all Iowans”