The following is a legislative update from State Senator Amanda Ragan, representing Franklin, Butler and Cerro Gordo counties:
The Iowa House and Senate have worked together in a bipartisan manner this session to pass several new laws to better Iowans’ quality of life. These include:
- Improving transportation funding for schools, which is especially helpful in our rural areas (HF 307).
- Preventing Iowans from losing their professional license if they fall behind on student loan repayment (SF 304).
- Quickly dispensing insulin in emergency situations (HF 700).
- Expanding injured veterans grants for those hurt in the line of duty (HF 288).
- Expediting professional licensing for military spouses when duty requires them to move (HF 288).
- Ensuring proper training for family caregivers when a patient is discharged from the hospital (SF 210).
Bill takes practical steps to protect pets
The Iowa House has passed a bill to toughen animal abuse laws and punish all who neglect, torture, abuse or abandon dogs, cats and other companion animals. HF 737 recently was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee with strong bipartisan support and is now eligible for a vote by the full Senate.
Iowa is one of the worst states for protecting companion animals, ranking 48th, according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund. One reason we rank so low is that Iowans cannot be charged with abuse for harming their own pets.
If HF 737 becomes law, companion animal owners could be charged with abuse if they intentionally, knowingly or recklessly injure or kill their pet by force, violence or poisoning. The bill also requires the most serious offenders to undergo psychological or psychiatric evaluation and court-ordered counseling.