DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO) — Two senate education bills survived the legislative session’s first funnel week.
The first bill was the “bathroom bill” which requires students in elementary and secondary schools to use restroom facilities that correspond with the student’s biological sex. That bill was just introduced a week ago and was voted through committee along party lines
The second bill was the governor’s transparency in education bill. It includes a parent’s bill of rights, and a mechanism for banning books in schools that contain sexually explicit content. The bill also contains similar anti-LGBTQ language as other bills that have advanced this session. Reynolds’ bill prohibits instruction of gender identity and sexual orientation in grades K-3 and requires school staff to inform a student’s guardians if they identify as a gender other than what is on the birth certificate. The bill says that parents need to sign off on their student’s gender identity for the school staff to use the proper pronouns.
Gov. Reynolds’ bill brought the more heated discussions between republicans and democrats.
“I can’t believe that we are even having to have a discussion about sexually explicit materials in the hands of school kids. It is pornography,” said State Senator Sandy Salmon, (R) District 29 from Janesville.
“You can access tremendous amounts of pornography on your home or your home computer. This has nothing to do with school libraries,” said State Senator Claire Celsi, (D), District 16, West Des Moines.
“I don’t know how you get more engaged than approving or disproving than by understanding what your child is accessing in school,” said Senate President Amy Sinclair, (R), District 12, Allerton. “I don’t know how you get more engaged in that as a parent I see this as a bill that improves our instruction to children, it actually improves parental engagement in the educational process.”
“This bills takes all of that away from local parents, it takes away their ability to weigh in and be apart of decision making processes. State legislators are taking away local parents’ rights, their decision making, their choices, violating their trust with their local schools,” said State Senator Sarah Trone Garriott, (D), District 14, Waukee.
Both bills will likely see debate on the senate floor before March 31, which is the deadline of the second funnel.