KIMT News 3 – July 1st marks the beginning of a new fiscal year for Iowa and Minnesota. That means the work of lawmakers in the spring goes into effect as dozens of new laws hit the books.
One of those new laws, in Iowa, involves the legalization of cannabidoil, or cannabis oil, to treat severe cases of epilepsy in children. This legislation came about through some very heart-wrenching family testimonies.
“We watch them talk about going from 500 seizures a day to 10 seizures a day,” says Iowa State Senator, Amanda Ragan.
She says it’s important that parents are able to access this form of medicine.
“We made it so parents who have children that are going to be able to use this, would be able to provide it for them, and not lose custody of their children,” says Ragan.
Iowa is also making it easier to afford child-care.
“We saw so many families that were being impacted by those high-costs,” says Ragan.
So they are making the process of getting state funding easier by eliminating some tedious paperwork.
“Every six months you would have to reapply, so we went from six months to 12 months.” says Ragan.
One topic on the minds of legislators in both states this year concerns e-cigarettes. Minors are no longer able to purchase these electronic devices or canisters in Iowa or Minnesota.
Minnesota went one step further in prohibiting them from most public places.
“It also bans them in specific places like day-cares, hospitals, clinics, government buildings,” says Minnesota State Senator Carla Nelson.
She says the ban doesn’t include privately owned businesses like restaurants and bars.
“It gives private business owners the authority to choose their own rules regarding electronic cigarettes,” says Nelson.
Steve’s law also goes into effect in Minnesota on Tuesday
“I think it will be a life-saving piece of legislation,” says Nelson.
That’s because it encourages those who are experiencing a drug overdose to seek medical attention without the fear of criminal punishment.
“I think we all agree that we want to discourage people from using drugs, but we also want to encourage them to seek help,” says Nelson.
Under this law, EMS workers are now allowed to carry the antidote for heroin overdose because of the increased amounts of deaths in recent years.
A few more laws going into effect Tuesday, in Iowa, include $66 million for skilled worker job creation to fill some area shortages, creating tax credits for those going through the adoption process, doubled tax incentives for volunteer firefighters and EMS workers, and tax incentives to encourage more production and use of ethanol and bio-diesel as well as more solar and wind energy projects.
Minnesotans are also seeing the Women’s Economic Security Act go into full swing which aims at getting women in higher paying jobs as well as an expanded parental leave to 12 weeks. In addition to that, law enforcement agencies all across the state of Minnesota will no longer be able to hire part time officers, and the state is starting an initiative to save the bee population. They are setting aside more than $1 million to research how to stabilize the bee population.