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2017 session includes some bipartisan accomplishments

Published: Wednesday, May 10, 2017 9:04 a.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, May 10, 2017 9:04 a.m. CST

Although the 2017 legislative session did not provide much good news for Iowa students, working families and vulnerable Iowans, the Legislature took some steps to meet specific needs that many Iowans and communities face every day. 

Here are a few of those bipartisan accomplishments:

Greater flexibility in education: Schools will get to use limited resources more broadly to meet their goals for boosting student achievement, and students will have more ways to earn a high school equivalency diploma when they meet required standards in reading, language arts, literacy, math, science and social studies. 

Giving hard-working Iowans a boost: There will be more opportunities for local small businesses that make and sell Iowa beer, wine and distilled spirits, apprenticeship training for Iowa residents, and incentives for Iowans saving to buy their first home. 

Timely help for better health: Iowans will get timelier, appropriate help for kids with autism spectrum disorders; to address breast cancer risks in women with dense breast tissue; and for congenital CMV, a serious disease that can cause hearing and vision loss, lack of coordination and seizures.

Ensuring better health services: Rural areas should see better mental health and developmental disability services now that we’ve addressed funding inequities, and sick and disabled Iowans will benefit because their physicians will be able to override an insurance company’s treatment decisions in some cases.

Safe communities for all:Cracking down on texting while driving, stalking and abuse were among our best accomplishments this year. Children, students, families, survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, and elderly and disabled Iowans will all be better off with enhanced oversight and penalties for violations.

I’m proud of these small steps, but there is so much more we can do to help vulnerable Iowans and those who are working hard to get ahead. Rest assured, I’ll continue to be your voice and to fight for you when government loses sight of Iowans’ priorities.

Contact Sen. Chaz at 641-521-6297 or chaz.allen@legis.iowa.gov

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