Governor Reynolds’ ‘school choice’ plan passes the Iowa House and Senate

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HALL. MORE LATEST NEWS NOW FROM IOWA STATE HOUSE. GOVERNOR REYNOLDS’S SCHOOL CHOICE PROJECT HAS NOW PASSED THROUGH THE IOWA KCCI HOUSE FOR POLITICAL REPORTER AMANDA ROOKER IS LIVE FROM THE CAPITOL BUILDING FOR THE USA TONIGHT. AMANDA. IT IS NOW IN THE SENATE FOR THIS BILL. STEVE NOW THE SENATE LEGISLATORS ARE RETURNING THIS BILL THAT JUST PASSED THROUGH THE HOUSE, BUT NOT AFTER HOURS AND HOURS. OVER 5 HOURS OF DEBATE IN THAT HOUSE AS REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS ARGUED ABOUT WHETHER THIS EDUCATION BILL IS IN THE INTEREST OF ALL IOWA STUDENTS. NOW, WE LEAVE SOME LEGISLATORS SHORTLY AFTER THE VOTE. BOTH NEWLY ELECTED, ONE OF THESE Legislators, REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE HELENA HAYS, IS ONE OF THE NATIVE REPRESENTATIVES GOVERNOR REYNOLDS ENDORSES. SHE DEFEATED FORMER EDUCATION COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN DUSTIN HITE, WHO WAS AN OPEN SCHOOL CHOICE CRITIC. AND SHE ARGUES THAT THIS PROJECT WILL BE IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF ALL IOWA CHILDREN AND EMPOWERS PARENTS TO MAKE THE BEST CHOICE FOR THEIR CHILDREN. BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, WE ALSO TALKED TO RECENTLY ELECTED DEMOCRATIC REPRESENTATIVE AUSTIN BATE, WHO SAID THAT TONIGHT WAS HEARTBREAKING. HE SAYS IT WAS A PROJECT THAT HE CALLS FISCALLY IRRESPONSIBLE. AND HE SAYS IT WAS HEARTBREAKING TO SEE THIS VOTE HAPPEN. AND IT HAS BEEN AN EXHAUSTING PROCESS. IT HAS BEEN A HEARTBREAKING PROCESS, AS EVEN WITH SOME KIDS IN AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TODAY, A PUBLIC SCHOOL IN DES MOINES HERE AND LOOKING AT THEM, KNOWING THAT THIS COULD HAPPEN TONIGHT AND KNOWING THAT THEY WILL HAVE TO LIVE WITH EVEN LESS RESOURCES THEY HAVE NOW IS HEARTBREAKING FOR ME. YOU KNOW, TONIGHT THEY GOT LEGISLATIVE LEGISLATIVE LEAVING HALF A MILLION CHILDREN IN THIS STATE. IT WAS A VERY EXCITING NIGHT. YOU KNOW, AND AS I LISTENED TO TONIGHT’S DEBATE, I REALIZE THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE DON’T REALIZE THAT THIS WAS ACTUALLY DECIDED IN THE PRIMARY. AND WHAT DID GOVERNOR REYNOLDS DO TO TAKE A STAND FOR CHILDREN ACROSS THE FRAME AND I KNOW WE HEAR A LOT OF OPPOSITION TO THE TESTS DURING THE DEBATE, BUT WE ESPECIALLY THE FIRMS AND THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE BEEN HERE MANY YEARS, WE’RE LISTENING TO THE CONSTITUENTS ALREADY YEARS AGO. AND THIS IS NOTHING NEW. WE ARE VERY EXCITED. WE ARE SATISFIED WITH THE VOTE. NOW, AGAIN, AND THIS IS A PLAN THAT WOULD USE TAXPAYER MONEY TO HELP SOME IOWANS PAY PRIVATE SCHOOL ENROLLMENTS. AND EVEN IF IT PASSED THROUGH THE HOUSE, IT STILL NEEDS TO PASS THE IOWA SENATE TO BECOME LAW. SENATE LEGISLATORS ARE STILL DEBATING, AND WE WILL MAKE SURE TO BRING AN UPDATE AS SOON AS THE VOTE HAPPENS. AGAIN, IF YOU PASSED THE HOUSE BUT NOT PARTY LINES, SOME REPUBLICANS CHOOSE NOT TO SUPPORT THIS BILL. STEVE? THAT’S RIGHT. AND THIS IS A VERY RARE OCCASION. WE USUALLY SEE VOTES GOING ON IN THE IOWA STATE HOUSE NEXT TO THE PARTY. ALL REPUBLICANS VOTE ONE WAY, ALL DEMOCRATS VOTE ONE WAY. BUT THAT PROJECT WAS ACTUALLY FROM 54 TO 45. THAT MEANS THAT AT LEAST NINE REPUBLICANS BROKE THE MAJORITY DECISION AND VOTED AGAINST THIS PROJECT. BUT IT WAS NOT ENOUGH. THERE WAS ENOUGH REPUBLICAN SUPPORT TO GET THIS BILL TO THE FINISH LINE. NOW WE WILL WAIT TO SEE WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN THE SENATE. STEVE. OK, AMANDA ROOKER THANK YOU SO MUCH, AMANDA. WE CONTINUE TO WATCH TODAY’S DEBATE IN THE SENATE. STATE AUDITOR ROB SAND, A DEMOCRAT, SAYS HE IS CONCERNED ABOUT TRANSPARENCY REGARDING THE STATE TAX MONEY BEING USED TO PAY FOR PRIVATE SCHOOL ENROLLMENT. HE SAYS PRIVATE SCHOOLS DON’T HAVE THE SAME PUBLIC REGISTRATION AND AUDIT REQUIREMENTS THAT THEY HAVE TO GET TAX DOLLARS AND GIVE THEM TO PRIVATE ENTITIES, WHILE NOT GIVING TAXPAYERS THE RIGHT TO KNOW HOW THEY ARE USING THOSE TAX DOLLARS. IOWA DEMOCRATS SAY THEY STILL HAVE A LOT OF QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW MUCH THIS PLAN WILL COST AND HOW MUCH THE STATE WILL HAVE TO PAY. A PRIVATE

Governor Reynolds’ ‘school choice’ plan passes the Iowa House and Senate


In the early hours of Tuesday morning, state legislators approved Governor Reynolds’ plan to use taxpayer money to pay private school tuition. The bill passed with 55 votes to 45 in the Iowa House and 31 to 18 in the Iowa Senate. Reynolds is expected to sign the bill into law on Tuesday afternoon. After nearly five hours of debate, all Iowa House Democrats voted against the bill. Nine Republicans also voted against the bill: Michael Bergan, Brian Best, Jane Bloomingdale, Chad Ingels, Brian Lohse, Gary Mohr, Thomas Moore, David Sieck and Brent Siegrist. Under the bill, HF 68, any family with a K-12 student who wants to switch from public to private school during the next school year would receive about $7,600 from the state — the full amount of taxpayer money the state invests in each student. This money usually goes to the student’s public school district. But under the Reynolds plan, families who switch to private schools would receive that money. Once fully implemented, the plan would cost the state more than $340 million a year. House Republicans voted to exempt the bill from the traditional budget process that requires consideration by the House Appropriations or Means and Means Committees, a process that all other bills that appropriate money must go through. Republicans argue that the plan will empower parents to send their children to whatever school offers the best educational opportunity to meet their specific needs. It was a very emotional night… And as I listen to the debate tonight, I realize that a lot of people don’t realize that this was actually decided in the primary. What Governor Reynolds did to advocate for children across the board, and I know we heard a lot of opposition to ESAs during the debate. But us, mainly freshmen and people who have been here for many years. We’ve been listening to voters for years. This is nothing new. We are very excited. We are pleased with the vote,” said Republican Representative Helena Hayes. Democrats say the bill lacks fiscal responsibility, transparency and accountability. “It’s been an exhausting process. It’s been a painful process. I was even with some kids at an elementary school today, a public school in Des Moines, here. And looking at them, knowing that this could happen tonight and knowing that they “We’re going to have to survive with even less resources than they have now is painful for me. Tonight, the Iowa legislature let down half a million children in the state,” said Democratic Representative Austin Baeth. Ahead of the vote, State Auditor Rob Sand, who is a Democrat, expressed concern about oversight of the plan being more difficult,” said Sand. This is a story in development. Stay tuned to KCCI on the air and online for updates. Previous coverage:

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, state legislators approved Governor Reynolds’ plan to use taxpayer money to pay private school tuition. The bill passed with 55 votes to 45 in the Iowa House and 31 to 18 in the Iowa Senate.

Reynolds is expected to sign the bill into law on Tuesday afternoon.

After nearly five hours of debate, all Iowa House Democrats voted against the bill. Nine Republicans also voted against the bill: Michael Bergan, Brian Best, Jane Bloomingdale, Chad Ingels, Brian Lohse, Gary Mohr, Thomas Moore, David Sieck and Brent Siegrist.

Under the bill, HF 68, any family with a K-12 student who wants to switch from public to private school during the next school year would receive about $7,600 from the state — the full amount of taxpayer money the state invests in each student.

This money usually goes to the student’s public school district. But under Reynolds’ plan, families who switch to private schools would receive that money.

Once fully implemented, the plan would cost the state more than $340 million a year.

House Republicans voted to exempt the bill from the traditional budget process that requires consideration in the House Appropriations or Means and Means Committees, a process that all other bills that appropriate money must go through.

Republicans argue that the plan will empower parents to send their children to whatever school offers the best educational opportunity to meet their specific needs.

“It was a very emotional night… And as I listen to tonight’s debate, I realize that a lot of people don’t realize that this was actually decided in the primary. What Governor Reynolds did to advocate for children across the board, and I know we heard a lot of opposition to ESAs during the debate. But us, mainly freshmen and people who have been here for many years. We’ve been listening to voters for years. This is nothing new. We are very excited. We are pleased with the vote,” said Republican Representative Helena Hayes.

Democrats say the bill lacks fiscal responsibility, transparency and accountability.

“It’s been an exhausting process. It’s been a painful process. I was even with some kids at an elementary school today, a public school in Des Moines, here. And looking at them, knowing that this could happen tonight and knowing that they We’re going to have to survive on even less resources than they have now is painful to me. Tonight, the Iowa legislature let down half a million children in the state,” said Democratic Representative Austin Baeth.

Ahead of the vote, state auditor Rob Sand, who is a Democrat, expressed concern about the oversight of the plan.

“Without transparency obligations, without mandatory public audits, without public records and without public meetings, uncovering waste, fraud and abuse of your taxes will be much more difficult,” Sand said.

This is a story in development. Stay tuned to KCCI on the air and online for updates.

Previous coverage:

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