On Thursday we passed House File 622, “Protecting Privacy in School Bathrooms and Locker Rooms”. This bill gives schools guidance on bathroom and locker room requirements. The bill states that people may not use a multiple occupancy bathroom or changing area that does not correspond to the sex on their birth certificate in K-12 schools. It specifies that this also applies to any locker room or changing area for extra-curricular activities and for overnight trips. The goal of this bill is to respect the privacy of all children at school. For decades we have separated bathrooms and locker rooms by biological sex. That policy must remain and not be turned on its head by trendy Transgender ideologies. However, I do understand that some children may not feel comfortable using the restroom or locker room that corresponds with their biological sex. This bill directs schools to make an accommodation for that child by providing a separate space for that child to use. Accommodations absolutely should be made to keep that child safe and comfortable as they change or go to the bathroom. However, that accommodation should not have to come at the expense of the privacy of our other children, particularly our daughters. This bill gives schools the guidance that many of them have asked legislators for so that they may be able to maintain their bathroom policies and accommodate students when necessary. Not one Democrat voted for this bill.
This week we also passed Senate File 514, Governor Reynolds Government Reorganization bill. It has been forty years since Iowa reorganized its state government. Over the years the organization of our executive branch has crept up in size with 37 agencies reporting to the governor. The bill shrinks government from the bloated number of 37 state agencies, down to 16. No state services for Iowans will be lost and no state employee will lose their job. We had over 8 hours of subcommittee hearings on this bill and it passed through both the State Government and the Appropriations committee. House Republicans made several changes to the bill through the committee process. We have been careful to do our due diligence on this bill, as it is a very big piece of legislation.
We also passed House File 507, titled “ESG’s: Protecting Public Funds”. This bill protects Iowans’ money from activist Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) policies. This bill requires that public funds act only in the best financial interest of the fund and its beneficiaries and not make decisions based on a political agenda. It also prohibits public entities from entering into contracts with companies who participate in economic boycotts. There are three industries that we know are being boycotted against in the US: fossil fuels, gun manufacturers, and the agriculture industry. All are important to the state of Iowa and deserve protections from unfair, politically-charged investment policies.
On Thursday, the Iowa House passed House File 370, a bill to clean up the code governing Iowa School-boards. We amended the bill on the House Floor to increase transparency and access to information for school-board members. This bill now clarifies that school board members have access to review curriculum, library books, and professional development materials. It also says school board members should be allowed to work with teachers and the Superintendent to sit in on any classes or professional development training. It is common sense that these elected school-board members should have access to this information for the schools they represent. Right now, the code is silent on this matter and this is just clarifying language. House Republicans worked with members of the Iowa School Board Association and teacher’s union on this amendment to ensure it worked for all folks involved.