Lawmakers talk gun control and mental health

Gun control and mental health are big topics at community forum following Wednesday's school shooting

Posted: Feb 16, 2018 8:00 PM

CLEAR LAKE, Iowa - State Senator Amanda Ragan (D-Mason City) and Speaker of the House Linda Upmeyer (R-Clear Lake) were in Clear Lake Friday morning for their monthly community forum.

While topics such as water quality, taxes and education were discussed, the biggest issues that were brought up were gun control and mental health reform.

Speaker Upmeyer is not in favor of changing current gun laws in the state, but is pressing for more action towards the state's mental health system. This comes after Wednesday's school shooting in Florida that left 17 people dead and more than a dozen injured.

"This is such a tragedy. And every single time, we're seeing that there were signs and signals, and we need to make sure there's a system set up so we can respond and react to those better, and to intervene," Upmeyer says.

Senator Ragan is also in favor of strengthening mental health help, but says there needs to be adequate funding available.

"Whether it's private funding or public funding or insurance funding, we need to make sure those services are there so people won't fall through the cracks," Ragan says.

In December, the Iowa Department of Human Services released an 18-page report listing recommendations to fix the system and close any coverage gaps. Some of these include constructing six new centrally located access centers statewide, double the number of Assertive Community Teams (ACTs) by next year, establish intensive residential service homes that can house no less than 120 people, develop a full array of crisis response services, and implement tertiary care psychiatric hospitals, among others. The latter is in stark contrast to two years ago, when the state closed mental health institutions in Mt. Pleasant and Clarinda due to what then-Governor Terry Branstad considered 'an outdated way' of providing care and claimed private agencies can deliver the same services more efficiently.

In terms of school security, earlier this session, Senate File 2253 was introduced to require all school districts, by June 2019, to have some form of a safety plan in the event of an active shooter situation or natural disaster, but was advanced on Thursday after the shooting.

Senator Ragan is a supporter of the measure, and believes that this can go a long way to prevent similar incidents.

"Right now, we only have 80% of schools that do that, and we want to make sure that it is one of the things that's addressed. Because right now, I'm sure every educator is thinking about 'what do I do if something happens in my classroom or what happens in my school," Ragan says.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 456490

Reported Deaths: 6174
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin947071506
Ramsey40752750
Dakota33684355
Anoka31437368
Washington20627237
Stearns18137190
St. Louis14032251
Scott1224899
Wright11831107
Olmsted1085175
Sherburne831970
Carver706139
Clay661384
Rice625674
Kandiyohi559172
Blue Earth549633
Crow Wing491178
Otter Tail465468
Chisago461838
Benton424388
Winona395648
Douglas380366
Nobles374847
Mower374729
Goodhue359163
Polk330860
McLeod328947
Beltrami316648
Morrison314845
Lyon306340
Becker290039
Itasca288043
Isanti286543
Carlton285243
Steele279610
Pine270815
Freeborn254923
Todd233730
Nicollet230938
Brown219134
Mille Lacs216145
Le Sueur215016
Cass211024
Meeker201733
Waseca193916
Wabasha17493
Martin172126
Roseau166617
Hubbard151438
Redwood141427
Houston141114
Dodge14014
Renville138740
Chippewa133432
Cottonwood129218
Fillmore12838
Wadena120918
Rock112212
Aitkin111633
Faribault110316
Sibley11017
Watonwan10708
Pennington101316
Kanabec100118
Pipestone97523
Yellow Medicine95017
Murray9137
Jackson87510
Swift84718
Pope7485
Stevens7078
Marshall70315
Clearwater68814
Lake66515
Lac qui Parle66116
Wilkin63510
Koochiching61010
Lincoln4912
Big Stone4703
Grant4398
Unassigned43568
Norman4268
Mahnomen4177
Kittson37420
Red Lake3214
Traverse2673
Lake of the Woods1991
Cook1160

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 313284

Reported Deaths: 4437
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk47198465
Linn18187280
Scott15975172
Black Hawk14184243
Woodbury13161181
Johnson1234453
Dubuque11678159
Pottawattamie9204115
Dallas915472
Story886638
Cerro Gordo476172
Webster475077
Warren463939
Clinton461068
Sioux460757
Marshall433262
Buena Vista397731
Muscatine397379
Des Moines396243
Plymouth354270
Wapello353098
Jasper335159
Lee327132
Marion312253
Jones275650
Henry269931
Carroll258934
Bremer251048
Crawford235524
Boone224717
Washington224333
Benton214550
Mahaska198937
Jackson196532
Tama191659
Dickinson189429
Kossuth182244
Delaware177736
Clay173421
Wright167824
Fayette166824
Buchanan162924
Hamilton162930
Winneshiek161420
Harrison159162
Hardin158731
Cedar156819
Clayton154349
Butler152524
Page148715
Floyd142036
Cherokee140527
Mills139017
Lyon138233
Poweshiek136024
Hancock133024
Allamakee131630
Iowa128522
Madison126210
Calhoun12409
Grundy123428
Winnebago123329
Jefferson122625
Mitchell117337
Louisa116830
Cass115443
Chickasaw114012
Appanoose113340
Sac113215
Union112823
Emmet111332
Shelby108027
Humboldt107819
Guthrie104624
Franklin104018
Unassigned10290
Palo Alto92611
Montgomery90024
Keokuk86526
Howard86419
Monroe82820
Clarke8219
Pocahontas78811
Ida76930
Davis70421
Adair69820
Greene6987
Monona69618
Lucas67110
Osceola65011
Worth6224
Taylor6029
Fremont5296
Van Buren50615
Decatur5004
Ringgold46311
Audubon4278
Wayne42021
Adams3023
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