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

Politics Notebook | Iowa lawmakers send teacher gun bill to governor

Also, House education appropriations subcommittee advances the fiscal 2025 budget proposal.
Ayrton Breckenridge
The Iowa State Capitol is seen in Des Moines on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024.

Iowa lawmakers sent a bill to arm Iowa teachers to the governor’s desk on Monday, with the House approving the bill 62-36, down party lines, after the Senate approved the bill last week.

The bill, House File 2586, would allow teachers to carry guns on school grounds, create a permitting process, and give armed school staff qualified immunity, a standard typically reserved for law enforcement.

Rep. Matthew Rinker, R-Burlington, joined all Democrats in opposition to the bill, with all other Republicans in support of the bill.

The bill also requires all of Iowa’s largest school districts to employ school resource officers, unless their school board votes to opt out.

Republicans said the bill is necessary to help protect Iowa kids. Seconds matter, they say.

“The first 30 seconds in these scenarios are extremely critical,” Rep. Phil Thompson, R-Boone, said. “This bill does set a high standard for districts and staff that want to participate in this and go the extra mile to protect our kids.”

Teachers can currently carry firearms on school grounds, but insurance companies have said they won’t cover Iowa school districts which enact plans to arm teachers.

Lawmakers ventured to find legal protections that would appease insurance companies enough to cover the school districts that choose to arm teachers.

Democrats said the bill increases the number of firearms while ignoring other solutions like infrastructure for security and other gun reforms.

“It does nothing to protect children who might be the victim of crossfires, of accidents, of a gun not being properly stored or a curious student finding a gun and accidentally injuring other children,” Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, D-Ames, said.

House Education Appropriations Subcommittee approves Regent budget

Iowa House Education Appropriations Subcommittee advanced the education appropriations package for fiscal 2025 on Monday after the subcommittee tied on the first vote for the annual appropriations package.

The subcommittee reconvened more than an hour later and passed the package with only Republicans supporting the bill.

The bill prohibits Iowa’s three public universities from having diversity, equity, and inclusion offices that are not required by state or federal law or are required for accreditation.

These regulations come as the Iowa Board of Regents is expected to receive reports from Iowa’s three public universities next week after condensing DEI offices to only have offices required by state and federal law or as required for accreditation.

The bill includes a 2.5 percent increase in funding to the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, and the University of Northern Iowa. The package also includes a $2 million appropriation to UNI to offer in-state tuition for out-of-state students.

The package also includes $250,000 for scholarships for Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary, like UI Reach which serves college-age students with intellectual, cognitive, and learning disabilities.

All Democrats voted against the package while only Republicans supported the measure.

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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.