This year, the Iowa Legislature continued to thank and support Iowa’s veterans and their families for the services and sacrifices they’ve made for our state and country.

Several bills were passed and sent to the Governor this session that will assist veterans across Iowa. One bill that was signed into law will increase the amount of money that can be spent out of the Veterans Trust Fund from $300,000 per year to $500,000. The Veterans Trust Fund was created in 2003 and is designed to assist veterans with services like dental work and car repairs. The legislation also adds preventing homelessness to the list of acceptable expenditures. Currently, the Iowa Lottery transfers $2.5 million every year to the fund.

The Legislature also took steps to protect veterans from organizations wanting to charge individuals for benefit assistance, when the veterans are entitled to these services free of charge at a county veteran’s office. This bill requires that these organizations provide veterans with a disclosure at the beginning of events related to veteran’s benefits indicating that the event is not sponsored by a governmental agency or by any officially recognized organization.

Another piece of legislation that was passed this session allows the Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard to establish “Morale, Welfare and Recreation” areas on bases across the state. These areas are similar to the ones operated by the U.S. Armed Forces, and could include gym facilities, wellness centers, and would allow for food trucks to be brought on base. These designated areas will not only support readiness of the Iowa National Guard, but will also provide Guard members the opportunity for more food and entertainment options while on base.