In week 1, our top priority for 2022 – increasing parental choice in education – was the biggest applause line of the week! In her Condition of the State address, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds affirmed “Parents matter, and we’re going to make sure you stay in charge of your child’s education.” For more information on what that means and how you can help, click here.
The first week of session mostly consists of introductions and speeches, as legislators outline priorities and begin building momentum for their bills. Republicans control both the House and the Senate in Iowa, and leadership in both chambers announced a push for the largest tax cut in Iowa history. Senate President Jake Chapman gave an especially fiery speech, letting everyone know that he will fight against obscenity in schools and public libraries.
Good News: Parental choice in education
Gov. Reynolds challenged Iowa’s legislature to provide more parental choice in education and more transparency in educational curricula! While a full bill has not yet been made public, Gov. Reynolds did announce the most important piece: the Student First Scholarship program.
Student First Scholarships are a type of Education Savings Account, where families can use a portion of the state funding that would otherwise go to their public school on the education of their choice (read more about Education Savings Accounts here). This could give Iowa taxpayers more than $5300 toward tuition at the private school of their choice or valid education expenses related to homeschooling!
This is the most important school choice proposal since the legalization of homeschooling! And it will be a difficult fight; if you haven’t already, please use our action alert to let your representatives know how much school choice means to you!
Bad News: Gambling expansion proposed
This week, Rep. Bobby Kaufmann announced a gambling expansion bill. While we are still waiting on bill details, we believe expanding online wagering will increase gambling addiction and hurt families in Iowa. Now is the best time to contact your legislators and let them know you oppose gambling expansion!
It seems likely that this will be a relatively short legislative session, with legislators primarily focused on tax cuts and expanding parental choice in education. But there will still be many other important issues at the Capitol, including the protection of unborn life and religious freedom. Stay tuned as we will need your help to fight bad bills and pass good ones!
For the family, The Family Leader Team