DES MOINES - Iowa children are the big winners this week in the Iowa Senate, according to Sen. Steve Sodders of State Center.
"We took two big steps forward for children. First, the Senate voted unanimously to increase the childcare tax credit," Sodders said. "Second, the Senate approved and funded comprehensive anti-bullying legislation to ensure that every Iowa student feels safe and welcome in the classroom. As a DARE officer for the Marshall County Sheriff's Office, I was happy to see this legislation approved. One of the lessons we teach in DARE is about bullying."
Senate File 2337, approved on March 17, increases the number of Iowa households eligible for the child and dependent tax credit, makes it retroactive to January first of this year, and indexes income eligibility to the rate of inflation.
"Helping young working parents who struggle with the cost of providing quality childcare makes a great deal of sense," Sodders said. "Investing in Iowa's children at the beginning of life pays off in better health and greater achievement in school."
Senate File 2318, approved on March 18, is Iowa's most substantial effort so far to reduce bullying in Iowa schools. It establishes consistent reporting by schools, allows local educators to address bullying occurring off campus or online, and creates a statewide grant program to encourage districts to promote safer schools.
"More than half of all Iowa students report that they have been bullied or harassed," Sodders said. "Every Iowa student in every Iowa school has the right to feel safe and secure in school. That's the minimum we should expect, and it is the best way to help all of Iowa's young people do their best."
The legislation now goes to the Iowa House for its consideration.