Under the Golden Dome, Too – February 13

Upmeyer UTGD

The fifth week of the legislative session proved to be a productive one that will strengthen Iowa’s middle-class families and small businesses. I’m happy to report that the first bill sent to the Governor this session will provide approximately $100 million in tax relief for the hardworking taxpayers of Iowa. As I discussed in my newsletter last week, SF 126 will “couple” with the federal tax code to provide relief and greater certainty to Iowans when filing their taxes this year.

We also passed HF 124, a bill that provides an extension for individuals to contribute to a child 529 College Savings account. If signed into law Iowans will be able to take advantage of this opportunity this tax season. The bill has been sent to the Senate, where we are hopeful it will receive consideration.

There is no doubt Iowans deserve and expect world-class educational opportunities for our children. A quality and rigorous K-12 system directly correlates to a thriving middle class. By providing a strong foundation in K-12, we are encouraging success in the workforce following high school or in one of our fine higher education institutions.

In 2008, the Legislature adopted statewide education standards that laid out what Iowa K-12 students should know at each grade level in areas such as literacy, math, science, and social studies.

Since the passage of this legislation, we have heard some concerns from parents and teachers about the possibility of the federal government overstepping their authority and beginning to interfere in the type of instructional delivery and the curriculum used in our classrooms.

We agree that these decisions should be left to our local school districts. Last year, the House passed legislation that would have strengthened the process for setting and reviewing Iowa’s standards and made it clear all curriculum and instructional material choices should remain the responsibility of our local school districts. The bill did not receive consideration in the Senate.

Since then, the Department of Education has announced a series of methods to collect input on Iowa’s academic standards. Providing an opportunity for the public to offer feedback helps create more openness and transparency surrounding our educational standards, and ultimately ensures greater local control for our school districts.

The Department is currently seeking feedback on our science standards. If you are interested in providing feedback in this area, please visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/VW6SHDY?c=Iowa_Science_Survey.

The survey will be available until February 27. For more information on the timeline to provide your input in other areas, visit the Iowa Department of Education’s website.

My legislative forums will be kicking off soon and I look forward to hearing from you! The Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a legislative forum on Friday, February 20 at 2:00 at Clear Lake Bank & Trust. The Butler County REC and Farm Bureau are sponsoring a forum at the AmVets Building in Allison on Friday, February 27 at 10:00 am. I will be at Center One in Hampton later that afternoon for the Franklin County Development Legislative Forum at 1:00. If you’re able to attend one of these meetings, I’d love to have the opportunity to visit about the issues you care about. Of course you can always reach me at linda.upmeyer@legis.iowa.gov or 515-281-4618 as well.

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