The Capitol Report by Sen. Rich Taylor
Sen. Rich Taylor represents portions of Washington and Jefferson counties.
The 2014 session of the Iowa Legislature reached a variety of significant bipartisan agreements that will benefit Iowa families.
“I worked with Republicans and Democrats to expand opportunities for all Iowans while strengthening economic security for working Iowa families,” said Taylor.
“The top achievements of the 2014 session include balancing the state budget without raising taxes; expanding job skills training; investing in infrastructure and job creation; extending the tuition freeze at our state universities for another year; boosting funding for our K-12 schools; and, standing up for workers’ rights.
“I’m proud to have secured increased funding for watershed cost share, the Water Quality initiative, and agriculture drainage wells,” said Taylor. “In addition, everyone in Iowa will benefit from fully funding Iowa’s most important environmental program, REAP, with $25 million for the first time.
Taylor released a comprehensive list of legislative accomplishments:
Education & job training
• Boosting apprenticeship training and job retraining at community colleges and internships for Iowa students studying science, technology, engineering and math.
• Investing an additional $87 million in educational opportunity.
• Providing K-3 students falling behind with intensive literacy help.
• Funding efforts to recruit the next generation of great Iowa teachers and allow our most effective educators to help others improve classroom results.
• Increasing aid for community colleges by $8 million.
• Increasing financial aid for private college students.
Job creation & economic growth
• Increasing funding for Iowa’s 16 Small Business Development Centers.
• Providing incentives for businesses that locate and expand in Iowa.
• Funding innovation at state universities and community cooperation on technology commercialization.
• Improving Iowa quality of life through the arts, cultural endeavors, and historic preservation.
• Tripling the amount of solar energy tax credits available to Iowa farmers, homeowners, and businesses.
• Expanding help to fix up abandoned buildings and blighted areas.
• Encouraging the production of biodiesel, biobutanol, and ethanol.
• Providing flexibility to Iowa corn growers’ corn check-off.
Health & health care
• Protecting Iowa kids by preventing them from using e-cigarettes.
• Maintaining local EMS by boosting state reimbursement rates.
• Legalizing non-intoxicating medical cannabis oil to treat life-threatening seizures from intractable epilepsy.
• Hiring an additional ombudsman to protect the rights of seniors in nursing facilities.
• Protecting Iowa’s redesigned mental health services by fully funding state commitments.
• Making the services seniors need to keep living in their own homes easier to obtain.
• Defining elder abuse and financial exploitation and allowing victims to secure protective orders.
• Funding local elder abuse support services for the first time.
• Investing in Iowa’s successful Drug Courts.
• Funding victim assistance grants for domestic violence and sexual assault.
• Authorizing more state troopers on Iowa highways for quicker response to accidents, crimes and breakdowns.
• Allowing the courts to use juvenile sex offenses to place sexual predators indefinitely in detention .
• Allowing criminal charges against coaches who sexually exploit students.
• Doubling the volunteer firefighter and EMS tax credit and extending the credit to reserve police officers.
Quality of life
• For the first time, providing full funding, $25 million, of REAP, Iowa’s most important environmental program.
• Increased childcare assistance for parents working part time while learning new skills.
• Boosting the state’s child and dependent care tax credit for working families.
• Making stable homes a reality for more children with a $2,500 tax credit for adoption-related expenses.
• Increasing funding for soil conservation and the Water Quality initiative.
• Providing tax credits to build and rehabilitate housing in the areas that need it most.
Veterans & service members
• Exempting military retirement pay from Iowa income taxes for those who with 20-plus years of military service.
• Expanding the Disabled Veterans Homestead Tax Credit to veterans with a permanent and total disability from service-related injuries and to surviving spouses or children of soldiers who died as a result of active duty.
• Eliminating the waiting list for the Military Home Ownership Assistance Program, which provides service members and veterans with a $5,000 grant for a qualifying home purchase.
• Allowing private employers to grant a preference in hiring and promotion to veterans and to spouses of disabled veterans and service members who died as a result of active duty.
For newsletters, photos and further information, go to www.senate.iowa.gov/senator/taylor.
Taylor can be reached at home at 319-931-1568. Email him at email@example.com.
Taylor is vice-chair of the Agriculture Committee. He also serves on the Economic Growth, Judiciary, Local Government and Transportation committees, as well as the Justice Systems Budget Subcommittee.