District 53 Newsletter: Jan. 12, 2023

Dean Fisher (R-Montour)

The 2023 legislative session is off to a great start. We have heard Gov. Reynolds’ Condition of the State Address, from Chief Justice Christiansen’s Condition of the Judiciary address, and Major General Benjamin Corell’s Condition of the Guard address. Iowa is strong in every aspect.

As anticipated, education choice was front and center in the governor’s address. The Students First Act is in bill form as House Study Bill 1. Parents that choose to enroll their child in an accredited private school will receive $7,958, the amount of per pupil funds allocated annually by the state, into a special Educational Savings Account (ESA) managed by a third party provider for tuition, fees, and other qualified education expenses. Other student funding generated by categorical funding formulas will remain with the public school districts, approximately $1,205 per student. These ESA accounts will be available in the ’23-’24 school year for all kindergarten students, all students previously in public schools this year, and all private school students of families at or below 300% of the Federal Poverty Level, which is roughly $83,250 for a family of four. In the ’24-’25 school year the program will expand to 400% of the FPL, and in ’25-’26 the income limit is removed so that all students are eligible.

The Governor also announced her plans to consolidate state government departments. Currently, Iowa’s state government has 37 cabinet agencies. The governor’s proposal will reduce that number to 16. Details will be forthcoming as we work to make state government more efficient.

A number of other education-related bills of now have been filed. House File 9 seeks to prevent schools from keeping information from parents about a child attempting to transition away from their birth gender. House File 8 seeks to prohibit schools from instructing K-3 students on gender identity and sexual orientation in public and charter schools. This bill is similar to a bill Florida passed last year. I support the intent of this bill, but will work to expand the prohibition to a much higher grade level.

We have also filed bills dealing with combatting the ESG (Environmental, Sustainability, and Governance) movement in investments, welfare reform, and many other topics too numerous to address in this brief update. I will comment on these bills as we address them throughout the session.

I love to see constituents down at the capitol, if you plan on visiting during session please let me know so that we can meet. Tours of this incredibly beautiful building are available daily and are well worth the time. I look forward to seeing you!

Rep. Fisher’s district covers all of Poweshiek County and most of Tama County excluding Traer, Dysart, and Buckingham.