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This  week, I will not mention the weather at all as I have not spent much time outside the Statehouse during daylight hours.

On Tuesday, we debated the “teacher targeting bill” (as it has come to be known). HF 2577 cannot help but damage teacher recruitment, teacher retention,  teacher professional development and college/university professional education departments.  It will have a long-range chilling effect on Iowa public schools and our kids.  According to the fiscal bureau, the cost to schools is estimated at $16.4 million.  It will take time away from students as teachers spend valuable time entering data.  If not done correctly, fines on teachers and schools could be as high as $5000.  Despite the numerous emails I received opposing the bill…it passed

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The education appropriations bill was also passed this week.  There were no increases for the Regents universities and the community colleges did not receive enough to cover healthcare increases.  This is disappointing considering we have close to a $1 Billion surplus.

Meanwhile, the Senate completely rewrote Senate File 2369 by crossing out the original text and adding the governor’s voucher bill language and other education bills that had passed the House on a bi-partisan basis.  It passed the Senate yesterday and will be sent back to the House…much to the consternation of many of us on BOTH sides of the aisle.

Again, this year, we have a “bottle bill” that is circulating between the House and Senate with both chambers having difficulty coming to agreement about what the bill should do.  I am also receiving conflicting emails on what my constituents would like to see done on this issue.  It is complex with ramifications for both businesses and our environment.  I will watch to see what is finally in the bill when it comes to the House floor for debate.  Amendments are still being added.  Stay tuned.

Author: Sharon Steckman

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