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Week four of the Legislative Session was full of subcommittees and I expect week five will be the same way. The first funnel deadline is approaching, and there are still many priority bills to work on.

Before I highlight a couple of bills we moved forward this week, I wanted to provide an update on the AEA conversation in the Capitol.

AEA Bill Update

This week, Iowa House Republicans held a subcommittee on the Governor’s AEA proposal. In the end, the subcommittee decided not to advance the bill to the full committee. They said they want to continue more conversations on the matter.

The Governor’s intention with this bill is to improve special education in Iowa. I agree with that goal entirely. Despite Iowa spending over $5,300 more per pupil on special education funding than the national average, we’ve ranked 30th or worse in 9 of the 12 national assessments on special education performance. We can and should do better. In a lot of the feedback I’ve received, I have heard a lot of agreement that improvements can be made to our current system.

We are continuing to meet with stakeholders – the AEAs, parents, superintendents, education committee members, etc. – to work toward a policy that will improve special education in Iowa.

National Guard Scholarship

This week, the Veterans Affairs committee passed House Study Bill 556 which creates a new scholarship program called the National Guard Service Continuing Education Scholarship Program.

Currently, there is already a scholarship program for folks who have served in the Iowa National Guard to receive financial aid to attend a four-year university. This bill creates a new scholarship program that can be used at more continuing education programs, beyond just the four-year university option, like community college, for example.

Addressing AI Pornography

This week, the House Judiciary committee took action on bills to address the issue of pornography created through artificial intelligence. The first bill, now HF 2240, ensures a person can be charged with harassment if they share AI-generated pornography without the permission of the person it is created to look like.

The second bill, now HF 2049, addresses AI-generated porn related to minors. This bill makes it a felony to create or possess AI-generated pornographic content of a minor.

As technology has advanced, this is unfortunately an update to code that needs to be made to protect Iowans. With these bills, we can ensure that there is no loophole in the law that would allow someone who commits this disturbing offense to avoid proper punishment.

Author: Pat Grassley


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