From the Desk of Senator Giddens: Update from a Busy Week in the Iowa Capitol

State Sen. Eric Giddens (D-Cedar Falls)

Greetings from Des Moines! This week was very busy with lots of committee and subcommittee meetings. Here is a list of bills I voted on this week and how I voted on each bill:

Transportation Committee:

-SSB 3034 – Reporting requirements of the DOT. My vote: Yes

-SSB 3088 – Maximum weight of vehicles powered primarily by natural gas or electric battery. My vote: Yes

Commerce Committee:

-SSB 3001 – Insurance coverage for biomarker testing. My vote: Yes

-SSB 1097- Acquisition of water, sanitary sewer, and storm water utilities by rate-regulated public utilities. My vote: Yes

-SSB 3081 – Insurance commissioner’s authority concerning insurance producers, business entity producer, and preneed sellers. My vote: Yes

-SF 2054 – Eliminating requirements providing for the payment of an outstanding tax liability by dissolved business entities as a condition to reinstatement. My vote: Yes

-HF 626 – Continuity of care and nonmedical switching. My vote: Yes

Commerce Subcommittees:

-SSB 3110 – Money transmission services. My vote: Yes

-SSB 3077 – Fees charged on loans by mortgage bankers. My vote: Yes

-SF 2105 – Maximum amount of weighting a school district may receive for sharing operational functions and including applicability provisions. My vote: Yes

-SF 2019 – Establishing the national FFA organization advisors competitive grant program within the department of education. My vote: Yes

-SSB 3111 – Mortgage administration and mortgage servicers. My vote: Yes

Education Committee:

-SSB 3049 – Eliminating a requirement related to obtaining a transitional coaching authorization from the board of educational examiners. My vote: Yes

-SF 2003 – Provision of information relating to school immunization exemptions. My vote: No

-SF 2017 – Development of a policy governing responses to a fire alarm activated outside of a scheduled fire drill. My vote: Yes

-SSB 3045 – State board of education’s duties in connection with the core curriculum. My vote: Yes

-SSB 3044 – Use of moneys appropriated to support therapeutic classrooms. My vote: Yes

-SSB 3046 – Reporting requirements of community colleges in connection with moneys deposited in the community colleges workforce training and economic development funds. My vote: Yes

-SF 2006 – School district enrollment calculations for the purposes of the secure an advanced vision for education fund. My vote: Yes

-SSB 3072 – Participation in school activities by students enrolled in charter schools. My vote: Yes

-SSB 3069 – Reading instruction. My vote: Yes

Education Subcommittee:

-SF 2004 – Establishing the advanced dyslexia specialist endorsement grant program within the department of education and making appropriations. My vote: Yes

Agriculture Committee:

-SSB 3113 – Agricultural land held by foreign businesses, governments, or fiduciaries thereof. My vote: Yes

-SSB 3052 – Providing for the administration of agriculture programs and regulations, and making appropriations. My vote: Yes

-SSB 3031 – Meat and poultry inspection. My vote: Yes

State Government Committee:

-HF 472 – Conduct of licensed veterinarians when involved in certain legal matters involving the alleged mistreatment of animals. My vote: Yes

-SSB 3053 – Department of administrative services process for managing the physical resources of state government. My vote: No

-SSB 3060 – Filing of certain reports with the Iowa ethics and campaign disclosure board. My vote: Yes

-SSB 3061 – Disaster aid. My vote: Yes

-SSB 3064 – Inspection obligations of the department of inspections, appeals, and licensing associated with asbestos and hotel sanitation. My vote: Yes

-SSB 3062 – Proclamation of disaster emergency and the disaster aid contingent fund. My vote: Yes

-SF 2023 – Inspections for violations relating to retailers of cigarettes, tobacco, tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, and vapor products. My vote: Yes

-SF 2071 – Bingo games, including the price to play and the value of merchandise prizes. My vote: Yes

-SF 2095 – Exercise of religion, and including effective date and applicability provisions. My vote: No

An Update on AEAs

We saw a flurry of action and discussion this week on the governor’s plan to slash services and funding at Iowa’s Area Education Agencies.

On Wednesday, the Senate held a public hearing on the proposal, the first opportunity for Iowans and lawmakers alike to voice concerns and share what AEA services mean for their families and communities.

Iowans packed the hearing room and spilled into the hall outside, delivering impassioned pleas for lawmakers to support Iowa students and leave the AEAs alone.

Now, the bill moves on to the full Senate Education Committee for more discussion. An identical bill was also under consideration in the House.

We know the legislation itself and the process here in the Capitol is complicated. Here are the four key points you need to know – and that you need to share with friends, neighbors and your local leaders as this process plays out:

The proposal doesn’t help kids.

In fact, it makes services for children with special needs more confusing and less individualized for families and communities.

There’s no evidence the governor’s plan will improve outcomes or close gaps for students with disabilities.

Nobody asked for this, and nobody wants it.

The proposal is wildly unpopular and attempts to solve a problem that does not exist. We’re hearing that loud and clear all over the state.

The changes offered so far to the plan DO NOT address the concerns of schools, educators, parents, or Iowans. This is still a bad bill.

The plan forces real cuts to valued services.

Every Iowa school district will face higher costs and less state support for critical services that affect students.

Across the state, school districts face a $32 million funding cut under this plan, and AEAs themselves face a cut of more than $25 million.

The plan strips away local control.

This bill shifts power away from elected school boards and local administrators to unaccountable bureaucrats in Des Moines.

The AEAs work because they work closely with local districts and have staff and programming on the ground in every Iowa community. Under this plan, that disappears.

State Senator Eric Giddens represents Iowa Senate District 38 including Cedar Falls, Hudson, Traer, Dysart, Evansdale, Elk Run Heights, Gilbertville, Washburn, LaPorte City and Mount Auburn. Contact Sen. Giddens at 319-230-0578 or eric.giddens@legis.iowa.gov.