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How Medicare covers preventive health services
by Report submitted · February 16th, 2017
Dear Savvy Senior,
Does Medicare cover 100 percent of all preventive health care screenings? I'm due to get a colonoscopy and a few other tests, but I want to find out if I'll have to pay anything before I proceed.
New to Medicare

Iowa workers, families, and fairness
by By Liz Mathis State Senator · February 16th, 2017
We have real issues in our economy: Iowans are working more for less; many have seen their health care and other benefits slashed; and there's an ever-widening gap between those at the top and the middle class. We must find ways to lift up all Iowans with fair wages, benefits and a better quality of life.

Surviving Zombie Apocolypse may be expensive, but you can never be too careful
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · February 16th, 2017
Are you ready for the zombie apocalypse? No? Well, there is probably still time to get ready. But you will need some money and a generous dose of paranoia.

Vote to increase public education spending
by Ken Rizer State Representative · February 16th, 2017
As a new educator and a parent to four public school-educated children, properly funding our schools is a top priority for me. That's why I ran on a platform of increasing public education spending. This week I lived up to that promise, voting to increase K-12 funding by $40 million for next fiscal year. For the first time in a long time, we passed and the Governor signed the school funding bill in the first 30 days of session, giving our schools the surety they need to validate their budgets this spring.

Do you need to file a tax return in 2017?
by Report submitted · February 9th, 2017
Savvy Senior
Dear Savvy Senior,
What are the IRS income tax filing requirements for retirees this tax season? My income dropped way down when I retired last year in 2016, so I'm wondering if I need to even file a tax return this year.
New Retiree

Iowa students deserve more
by By Liz Mathis State Senator · February 9th, 2017
When we invest in kids, we invest in the future. So what will our future look like if we continue to shortchange our children? I knocked on your doors last summer and fall before the election and listened to you about the importance of education. You told me that was a top issue for your families and your future.

New bill approved to protect electronic devices and data
by Ken Rizer State Representative · February 9th, 2017
I had the honor this week running through the House Judiciary Committee House Joint Resolution 1, an amendment to the Iowa Constitution, to unanimous approval. The bill will add "electronic communications and data" to those things afforded protection against unreasonable search and seizure. In order to amend the Constitution, the bill must receive Senate passage this year, and then be passed again in both chambers during the next General Assembly. Following that, it will be added to the 2020 ballot for a vote of the people. After clearing all these hurdles, it will go into effect July 1, 2021. Iowa would then become the 4th state in the union to provide such constitutional protections to its people.

New legislator hard at work
by Ashley Hinson State Representative · February 9th, 2017
I wanted to take an opportunity to introduce myself to you, as your newest area legislator. My name is Ashley Hinson. I live in Marion with my husband Matt and our two children, Max (five) and Jax (four). I am hard at work in Des Moines serving House District 67, which includes part of Marion, Hiawatha, Robins, and part of Cedar Rapids.

Time to deregulate fire hydrant-eating horses and winking at strange women
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · February 9th, 2017
There has been a lot of talk about deregulation lately. So now might be a good time to take a closer look at some of the strange laws still on the books.

What's smarter - paying off debts or investing?
by Submitted By John A. Westfall · February 9th, 2017
If you're just starting out in your career, you will need to be prepared to face some financial challenges along the way - but here's one that's not unpleasant: choosing what to do with some extra disposable income. When this happens, what should you do with the money? Your decisions could make a real difference in your ability to achieve your important financial goals.

How to help older drivers give up the car keys
by Report submitted · February 2nd, 2017
Dear Savvy Senior,
What tips can you recommend that can help me deal with my mom's bad driving? At age 83, her driving abilities have declined, but I know she's bound and determined to keep driving as long as she's alive.
Nervous Nelly

News at the Capitol and your survey responses
by By Liz Mathis State Senator · February 2nd, 2017
This week we had some difficult decisions to make. The Governor and Lt. Governor announced we needed to make mid-year budget cuts. When we left the Capitol last year, we had an agreement between the House and Senate to balance the budget and the Governor signed the deal. As you may know, by law, we balance the budget each year. But we balanced on revenue estimates and the actuals that came in were not as predicted. The agriculture economy is having a slight downturn. So, there are now cuts in the making.

On Valentine's Day, Consider Financial Gifts
by Submitted By John A. Westfall · February 2nd, 2017
Last year, Americans spent more than $19 billion on Valentine's Day gifts, according to the National Retail Federation, with the majority of this money going to flowers, candy, cards and an evening out. These gifts were thoughtful, of course, and no doubt appreciated, but they were also somewhat disposable, for want of a better word. On the other hand, some financial gifts can have a pretty long "shelf life."

Trump's world: The emperor has new clothes. And look - so do we!
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · February 2nd, 2017
A few days ago, an 18-wheeler carrying 38,000 pounds of marbles jack-knifed on southbound Interstate 465 near Pendleton Pike, Ind., and dumped its entire load. I sympathize with the driver. Lately, I've been feeling like I've lost all my marbles, too.

Congressman Blum, looking back on Iowa's progress
by Congressman Rod Blum Iowa’s 1st District · January 19th, 2017
As I begin my second term as your Representative in Congress I want to take this opportunity to review the progress we made the last two years as well as discuss some of the opportunities we have in the upcoming session.
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