DES MOINES, Iowa – While the bills are expected to go nowhere, Iowa House and Senate Democrats have filed at least four bills that target or could adversely impact homeschooling students in the state according to Bill Gustoff, a lobbyist with Homeschool Iowa, an organization that protects the rights of homeschooling families in the state.
In an update after week six of the session, Gustoff said he generally does not spotlight bills they oppose due to the current make-up of the Iowa Legislature.
“We don’t bring attention to them. Because, frankly, a lot of them are bills that are dead on arrival. And it’s just irrelevant legislation that some legislators are trying to get attention or just cause problems. And we just don’t want to give them the attention,” Gustoff said.
He did want to let homeschooling families know that he is aware of bad bills and has registered in opposition to them so legislators know where Homeschool Iowa stands and so they can contact him with questions.
Gustoff mentioned four bills he registered as opposed.
State Rep. Bruce Hunter, D-Des Moines, filed HF 37. The bill would require all homeschoolers to file and report to local school districts. “Even more onerous, he would require superintendents in the district to send somebody into our home for health and safety visits,” Gustoff said.
“In a year when schools are busy trying to even figure out how to get kids in their own schools. It’s interesting that Bruce hunter would take time to introduce legislation to send people into our homes. I don’t think schools want to be burdened with this. Schools are busy enough trying to keep track of the kids they have in their care and educate them,” he added.
The bill was filed the first week of the legislative session and not been assigned a subcommittee.
HF 465 is another bill Homeschool Iowa opposes. It is sponsored by State Reps. Mary Mascher, D-Iowa City, Art Staed, D-Cedar Rapids, Steven Hansen, D-Sioux City, Cindy Winckler, D-Davenport, and Christina Bohannan, D-Iowa City. Gustoff said that bill would raise the compulsory attendance age to 18.
“That’s just bad policy on all fronts, not particularly homeschooling,” he explained.
This bill was assigned a subcommittee consisting of State Reps. Thomas Moore, R-Griswold, Chad Ingels, R-Randalia, and Mascher. He doesn’t believe that bill will go anywhere this year. March 5 is the first funnel deadline where bills have to pass out of committee in the chamber they originate to still be considered.
Gustoff also pointed out SF 148 sponsored by State Senator Robert Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids. The bill would require parents who homeschool under independent private instruction (IPI), which does not require reporting, to file something like a competent private instruction (CPI) form with their school district in the event the Governor declares a public health emergency.
He was unclear why Hogg would file that particular bill. “I think he’s trying to send some other signal, and use us as ammunition in that. I don’t understand it,” Gustoff said.
The bill was assigned a subcommittee consisting of State Senators Amy Sinclair, R-Allerton, Eric Giddens, D-Cedar Falls, and Ken Rozenboom, R-Oskaloosa, back in late January. The subcommittee has not scheduled a time to meet.
State Senator Pam Jochum, D-Dubuque, filed SF 400. “I don’t understand why she would want this, but she would require reporting from all IPI students, the same as CPI students,” Gustoff said.
Sinclair, Giddens, and Rozenboom also make up the subcommittee for that bill. It was filed last week.