House rejects Senate amendment to child care bill

Daddy DaycareBy Bob Eschliman


The Iowa House of Representatives on Wednesday quickly approved four of five bills it previously adopted, but were later amended by the Iowa Senate, but the fifth was a bridge too far for the Republican majority.

House File 347, as adopted by the House on March 17, requires the Iowa Department of Human Services license all child care programs operated by or contracted for local school districts. The Senate adopted its amended version nearly two weeks later on a strict party-line vote.

The amendment, offered by state Sen. Bob Dvorsky (D-Coralville), added two types of preschool programs to be placed under DHS authority by removing their exemption from Iowa Code 237A.1. They were:

  • a program administered by a political subdivision of the state which is primarily for recreational or social purposes and is limited to children who are 5 years of age or older and attending school, and
  • an after-school program continuously offered throughout the school year calendar to children who are at least 5 years of age and are enrolled in school, and attend the program intermittently or as a summer-only program, that is provided through a nominal membership fee or at no cost.

Because the Senate took up the House’s bill and adopted an amended version, the House was asked to concur with the amendment. House Minority Leader Mark Smith (D-Marshalltown) and state Rep. Mary Mascher (D-Iowa City) both argued in favor of the amendment, which ultimately failed on a party-line vote of 52-39.

Unable to concur, HF 347 is another bill that will be forced to go to conference committee.

The Senate amendments that did get adopted by the House were on House File 203, which provides for licensure and regulation of sleep study technicians; House File 227, which allows for visual strip searches of prisoners placed in the general population of a prison or county jail; House File 468, which specifies that only county boards of supervisors may appoint mental health advocates; and House File 449, which creates an inpatient psychiatric bed tracking system.

The House also adopted the following bills:

  • Senate File 394 – a substitute bill to House File 528 – an act to establish the responsibility for medical costs associated with prisoners in temporary holding in county jails and city lock-ups, 86-5.
  • House File 617 – an act to allow for the issuance of specialty license plates upon which decals designed and issued by nonprofit organizations may be displayed, 92-0.
  • Senate File 415 – an act to amend Iowa Code as it relates to elections administration and election officials, 92-0.
  • House File 630 – an act to appropriate funds from federal block grants, 92-0.
  • House File 625 – an act to allow sellers of hunting and fishing licenses to keep a larger portion of writing fees from the sale of multi-year and combination licenses, 91-0.
  • House File 635 – an act to amend Iowa Code as it relates to matters under the purview of the Iowa Department of Transportation, 92-0.