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Newscast 02.15.22: Education Bills Continue to Progress in the State House Ahead of Friday's Funnel Day

Iowa Statehouse2
The Iowa Statehouse

A bill advancing in a House subcommittee aims to ensure that a teacher who sexually abuses a student cannot continue to work in schools by moving to a different district.

Representative Dustin Hite, a Republican from New Sharon, says in some cases districts have hired teachers without learning about past allegations.

IA State Representative Justin Hite (R) New Sharon
IA State Representative Justin Hite (R) New Sharon

He says a pattern of abuse complaints should be enough for the state to revoke a teacher’s license.

It is a small number, a very small number, of people in this profession. That’s not lost on us. But the consequences to our youth is severe.

Public school advocates pushed back on a provision that would create local committees to investigate claims of abuse. They said they support the overall goal of the bill but also want to protect the privacy of teachers who may be wrongly accused.

An Iowa House panel has advanced a bill that would give election officials more time to mail absentee ballots to voters after passing a law last year to give them less time.

Republican lawmakers voted last year to cut the mail voting period.County auditors can start mailing absentee ballots 20 days before Election Day.

The new bill that would allow them to start mailing ballots three business days before that.

Today, Gov. Kim Reynolds shared in detail her plan to give parents more choice in their child’s education by awarding Students First Scholarships to eligible low and middle-income families during a press conference at Saint Theresa Catholic School in Des Moines.

The bill allows a portion of per pupil funding would follow eligible students who withdraw from public school to help cover qualifying expenses such as tuition and fees at the school of their choice.

Today, a legislative committee approved emergency rules that will let Iowa school districts continue to use paraeducators hired to work with individual students as substitute teachers in any classroom.

The vote by the legislature's Administrative Rules Review Committee was necessary as the governor's public health emergency proclamation, which had allowed paraeducators to be subs during the pandemic, expires at midnight.

Friday marks the first legislative "funnel" deadline, which means bills introduced in one chamber must receive approval from a full committee in that chamber to remain alive. Bills that don't reach that point in the legislative process are likely dead for the year.

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