Senate concurs with House version of school start date bill

Schools 3By Bob Eschliman


The Senate took up the House-amended version of Senate File 227 on Wednesday afternoon.

The bill, which would establish a new earliest school start date of Aug. 23, included a House amendment that was approved with its version of the bill Tuesday, which:

  • reinstated financial penalties for school districts that began school before Aug. 23,
  • allowed existing attendance centers with year-round calendars to continue to do so without penalty, and
  • allowed all other school districts to adopt year-round calendars at individual attendance centers that serve grades preK through 8.

Education Committee chairman state Sen. Herman Quirmbach (D-Ames) said the previously approved version of SF 227 had broad bipartisan consensus, and he urged a “no” vote on the House amendment. Republicans requested a non-record vote, called a “division,” in which votes were tallied, but the votes of individual senators was not known.

The Senate, however, concurred with the House amendment on a 28-22 vote. Based on the numbers, it would seem at least four Democrats voted with Republicans in favor of the House version of the bill.

The amended version of SF 227 was quickly tabled by Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (D-Council Bluffs). Afterward, he said he’s “in no rush” to bring the bill back up for a final vote.

The Senate then took up Senate File 477, which extends the Secure an Advanced Vision for Education sales tax collection for 20 years. The bill was adopted on a 37-13 vote with 11 Republicans crossing over to vote with all 26 Democrats to pass the proposed legislation.

Later, the Senate adopted Senate File 459, which provides merit system protection for administrative law judges, workers compensation commissioners, and the administrator of the administrative hearings division of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals. The bill passed on a 26-24 party-line vote.

Senators also adopted the following bills unanimously:

  • Senate File 125 – an act to amend Iowa Code as it relates to matters under the purview of the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division
  • Senate File 346 – an act to amend Iowa Code as it relates to matters involving insurance and the Iowa Insurance Division
  • House File 455 – an act to require annual corporate governance reports by Iowa insurance companies to the Iowa Insurance Commissioner