The Taylor Report by Sen. Rich Taylor
A legislative update for the week ending April 13 from Sen. Rich Taylor, reprenting Henry and Lee counties and portions of Jefferson and Washington counties.
We want our state to be the safest possible place for Iowans. The Justice System Budget (SSB 1249) has been approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee with that goal in mind.
Corrections experts and health professionals have told us that the offenders in our prisons and community-based corrections facilities are changing. Incidence of mental illness has increased, with offenders requiring more supervision and treatment. SSB 1249 provides resources to the Department of Corrections to hire the staff to meet those needs and enhance safety at our institutions.
The bill also helps Community Based Corrections Districts open facilities that have already been built but are not yet in use. This is a smart move that will help limit the wait for those in need of critical mental health services. Funding for community-based corrections also provides for efforts to deter future crime and help offenders become contributing members of their communities.
Victims’ assistance grants will see an increase in funding. These grants go to local programs that provide housing and other help to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Additional resources will allow survivors to stay away from dangerous living situations, get the skills they need to hold down a job and deal with the trauma they’ve experienced.
We also increase the number of troopers on Iowa’s roads. More officers on patrol will allow them to more quickly respond to accidents and other problems—ultimately improving safety and saving lives.