Iowa children are the big winners this week in the Iowa Senate, according to State Senator Herman Quirmbach of Ames.

"We took two big steps forward for children. First, the Senate voted unanimously to increase the child care tax credit," said Quirmbach. "Second, the Senate approved and funded comprehensive anti-bullying legislation to ensure that every Iowa student feels safe and welcome in the classroom."

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 child care makes a great deal of sense," said Quirmbach. "Our bill also fixes a problem we discovered last year while I was serving on the Legislative Tax Expenditure Committee. The Iowa Department of Revenue had imposed a rule that limited the tax credit for some families. I have been working to reverse that rule ever since I discovered the issue."

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," said Senator Quirmbach. "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.