Returning to the Iowa Senate this week, it was understood we would be casting votes on dozens of bills. The first funnel ended Friday, and Senators attended scores of subcommittee and committee meetings in an attempt to get bills moving before the self-imposed funnel deadline. The Senate took up more than 60 bills this week, with the overwhelming majority of the proposed legislation receiving broad, bipartisan support. The topics ranged from a bill creating a Lyme disease task force to enhancing penalties for those convicted of kidnapping a child.
Floor work should remain steady for the coming weeks. This week, the only bills the Senate could debate were those passed out of our respective committees. For the next two weeks, debate should continue to be time-consuming as we work toward the second funnel. That deadline is March 14.
Protecting the Vulnerable
Iowa is very concerned with the care of its elderly. On Tuesday, SF2189 was brought to the floor for debate. Before the passage of this legislation, Silver Alerts, which are issued when an adult with Alzheimer’s disease or any other form of dementia go missing, could not be placed on highway signs. This legislation allows these alerts to now be placed on overhead highway signs to increase public awareness of pressing, missing persons issues. This change makes better use of the infrastructure we already have in place to support those who are some of the most vulnerable among us.
Promoting Rural Student Involvement
It is essential to provide our students with the flexibility and ability to participate in extracurricular activities after school. That may not always be as simple as it sounds. In some Iowa districts, certain sports or activities are not offered. Therefore, if a student wishes to participate, they may have to travel to a neighboring district that offers them the opportunity. For some, the distance between schools makes it difficult for students to participate in their after-school practices, games or competitions.
This week, the Senate passed Senate File 2228, which expands the route high school students can drive, with a school driver’s permit, for extracurricular activities. If this bill is signed into law, students will have the ability to drive to a contiguous school district for after-school activities, as long as there is a sharing agreement between the districts. The bill does not change the passenger requirement or any other provision of a school driver’s permit. It only expands the route students with a driver’s permit are able to drive.