Last March the Iowa JAG program ( iJAG) faced a cut in funding of close to a million dollars. Each year JAG programs face budget cuts and compete for funding from public and private sources. The students enrolled in the JAG programs are the most powerful influence when lobbying for funding from state legislatures. The iJAG students recently had an opportunity to witness the legislative process and to assist in the task of securing additional funding for the iJAG programs.
On February 25, 2014 Tatiana McWilliams and Hannah Timmer, seniors in the Mason City iJAG program along with 32 students from Iowa’s iJAG programs convened in the state capital. The students were working toward a common goal, to restore funding to Iowa’s JAG programs. In 2013 $670,000 was allocated to fund the iJAG programs. In 2014 the legislature cut that number to $540,000. The trip allowed Hannah and Tatiana to share their stories with members of the legislature. Tatiana and Hannah shared how participating in iJAG has affected their lives in a positive manner.
The additional funding request would support ten new iJAG programs across Iowa and help over 400 students attain the goal of graduating from high school. This was the first trip to the legislature for Tatiana and Hannah as well as most of the 32 students in the group. It turned out to be a trip that they would not soon forget.