The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Governor’s legislative priorities dominate funnel week

AEA overhaul, teacher pay, and Governor’s gender ID bills have made it past critical legislative deadline.
Ayrton Breckenridge
A person exits the State Law Library during the first day of the 2024 Iowa legislative session at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024. The Republicans have 64 seats in the house and the Democrats have 36.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ legislative priorities all survived the first major legislative deadline in one form or another.

The governor’s proposals on K-12 literacy education improvements, her plan to eliminate 111 boards and commissions, and a heavily amended version of her plan to overhaul Iowa’s area education agencies were a few of the handful of bills that cleared funnel week.

These proposals and dozens more were voted out of committee within the past two weeks, making them viable in the legislative process.

“As the legislative process continues, so will conversations on how we deliver results for Iowans,” Reynolds said in a news release Thursday. “Iowa has cemented itself as a national leader, and these priorities take us another step further.”

House, Senate split on governor’s AEA proposal

Reynolds’s proposal to overhaul Iowa’s Area Education Agencies advanced in a heavily amended Senate version of the bill, which was voted out of the Senate Education Committee on party lines late Wednesday night.

Senate lawmakers amended the governor’s proposal to give all federal special education funding directly to Iowa’s AEAs. They would, however, still give 90 percent of state special education funding to school districts directly.

The House version of the governor’s AEA proposal did not advance past the legislative deadline, instead, House Republicans introduced their own version of the governor’s bill.

The House bill would keep special education funding with Iowa’s nine AEAs and would require school districts to use AEAs for special education services.

The bill would also establish a task force to provide the Iowa Department of Education and the legislature with a report and recommendations on improving Iowa’s special education services.

The bill advanced out of the Iowa House Education Committee on party lines, with House Democrats on the committee optimistic, but cautious.

Lawmakers split on governor’s boards and commissions overhaul

Iowa House and Senate lawmakers again split on the governor’s proposal, this time on the governor’s proposal on cutting or condensing 111 of Iowa’s boards and commissions.

Senate lawmakers advanced Reynolds’s proposal with a promise to amend the bill on the Senate floor to “perfect” the bill.

House lawmakers scrapped the governor’s proposal instead going with a much smaller proposal introduced by the House State Government Committee Chair.

The bill would only cut 49 inactive boards and commissions, instead of the governor’s much more ambitious proposal. The House version received bipartisan support.

Governor’s K-12 literacy bill advances with promise for amendment

Reynolds’s proposal to revamp the state’s reading education program advanced in both chambers, with the senate considering the proposal last week.

The bill would require colleges to train teachers on the “science of reading,” require a passing score on the “foundation of reading” test to graduate teaching programs, teachers to pass the test to obtain a teaching license, and invest $9.2 million in training and testing for current educators on the program.

The proposal would also increase parental involvement in literacy education by requiring schools to send notice to parents if the student is not proficient in reading by third grade. Parents could then opt to retain their students in the third grade for another year.

Democrats and Republicans expressed concern about requiring future educators to pass a test to obtain a degree or licensure after the legislature removed requirements for teachers to pass the “praxis” or popular licensure test in 2022.

The bill advanced on party lines in the Iowa House and Senate Education Committees.

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About the Contributors
Liam Halawith
Liam Halawith, Politics Editor
Liam Halawith is a third-year student at the University of Iowa studying Journalism and Mass Communication and minoring in Public Policy. Before his role as Politics Editor Liam was a politics reporter for the DI. Outside of the DI Liam has interned at the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Southeast Iowa Union. This is his second year working for the DI.
Ayrton Breckenridge
Ayrton Breckenridge, Managing Visuals Editor
Ayrton Breckenridge is the Managing Visuals Editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and cinema. This is his fourth year working for the DI.