By REP. HOLLY BRINK
This week marked the last scheduled week of the legislature. The session will continue until important unfinished business is resolved, most notably, the budget. It is not unusual for the session to run long, and it is hard to predict when exactly the session will be done this year. All signs point to several more weeks, but it is all very fluid.
With that in mind this newsletter will be more updates on some issues that I have talked about before to give you a sense of where things stand heading into the home stretch of the session. As always, thank you for allowing me the honor of being your advocate at the state legislature.
Our staff has made a helpful chart showing the progress of the various budget bills that must work their way through the legislature yet this year. The large overall budget is broken up into smaller budgets that target specific areas or functions of the state. Let me know if you have any questions or comments about what is included in each bill.
Preschool Bill Update
HF 318 allows more age groups to attend preschool instead of forcing children to go straight to kindergarten because they turned 5-years old by March 15. This bill changes it to September 15.
On March 8 the bill was passed by the Iowa House without a single no vote and was passed by the Senate education committee one month ago today. The bill now is eligible for debate and passage by the whole Senate and simply needs to be placed on the calendar for debate by Senate leadership.
We talk about parental choice in education all the time, and each parent knows what level of school their child is ready for. I hope the Senate will pass this bipartisan bill soon.
Since earlier this year when I showed parents and teachers that the Iowa House would take seriously the issue of activism in our schools, my inbox has been full of teachers, parents, and students from across the state. To illustrate the sorts of materials in our schools I thought I would share what some legislators received from concerned members of the Johnston School District.
Beyond the photos above, a class on “Equity and Anti-Racism Training” is being offered to Johnston teachers. Anti-racism is inspired and informed by Critical Race Theory. Both teach people to judge others on the color of their skin instead of through the content of their character. The course is voluntary but it is still unclear how teachers who choose not to take the course will be treated afterwards.
The end of the session means tough decisions. Sometimes it is the time to compromise to ensure something passes this year, other times it is better to hold your ground and hope to resolve the issue next session. Please pray for wisdom and discernment as myself and my coworkers attempt to do what is best for Iowa.