Governor Tom Vilsack has signed a bill that provides a roughly 19 million dollar boost to the present year’s state budget. It provides extra money to ensure prison guards aren’t forced to take unpaid days off to make ends meet. He says there was deep and real concern about safety inside the prison walls and in the communities where they are located. Vilsack signed the bill this morning as four state patrol officers and five correctional officers looked on. He says it was a difficult piece of legislation, because of the tight budget, but says it was necessary to protect those who’re guarding the prisons. The bill also provides extra money to child welfare programs and to cover the costs of providing lawyers for people who’re charged with a crime but can’t afford a lawyer. In addition, the bill provides more money to the Department of Public Safety, a move Vilsack says is necessary when homeland security is paramount.Vilsack says it’s a “significant event” because few states have surpluses like Iowa does and nearly all must deeply cut their budgets. The bill is the first and only bill that’s been passed thus far this legislative session.
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