Reaching goals for veterans
By Mary Lou Freeman
Iowa State Representative, Storm Lake
The Veterans' Affairs Committee has been busy getting bills out of committee that will be of benefit to veterans across the State of Iowa. We will be bringing three bills out of our committee.
One of these is for soldiers who are injured in duty, titled the Veterans' Appreciation Bill. Although the details of the bill are yet to be finalized, the bill will provide immediate funding for injured soldiers and their families so that they will be able to visit and provide needed support during the hospitalization and recuperation period following the injury. While the federal government has a payment schedule for injuries received during combat, this funding may not be immediately available. Many times the soldier finds that he/she is in a hospital far away from home and that his/her family lacks the resources to travel to be at his/her side.
One of the goals we have set for the Veterans' Affairs Committee this year is to strengthen the network of veteran affairs advisors across the state. While some counties have strong, well-informed advisors, other counties have none. Consequently, veterans in the State are missing out on millions of dollars that are rightfully owed them in benefits provided by the federal government.
We are working with the State Director of Veterans' Affairs and the Iowa Association of Counties on a program that will attempt to equalize the discrepancy of services provided across the State At our committee meeting on March 8th, we will be hearing from four county Veterans' Affairs directors who are providing this service. We would welcome additional county directors to attend the meeting as well.
In order to assist the counties in providing this service, we will be adding two additional positions in the State Veterans' Affairs office for educational outreach and support throughout the State.
Last week I asked for your opinions on the extremely "hot" topic of TouchPlay machines. To date I have had only a handful of replies, mostly from out of my district. The State Government Committee voted out a bill today that would ban the machines entirely. While I believe that this will be negotiated, it certainly does agree with the opinions of those individuals that I did hear from.
Area legislative forum March 11
Saturday, March 11, Representative Mary Lou Freeman and State Senator Steve Kettering will be entertaining constituents' political questions in Sac City starting at 10 a.m. in the meeting room adjacent to Details on Main Street. Everyone is welcome to attend this latest session in the Saturday Forums series.