District 72 Newsletter

Rep. Dean Fisher (R-Montour)

Newsletter for March 25, 2021

This week in the legislature was marked by considerable debate. On Wednesday the House debate House File 813, Parental Choice through Public Charter Schools. Debate was contentious and continued past midnight due to the Democrats attempts to impose a filibuster-style maneuver of filing over 30 amendments to the bill. Debate ended only after House leadership forced debate to close with a motion to set a “Time Certain” of 12:15 AM for debate to end.

This bill offers parents more choice in their children’s education, a top priority for the Republican Caucus. Every child deserves access to a quality education, and this bill opens the door for more opportunities to develop in communities where more options are wanted and needed. The need for more options for children and their families has always been evident, but this past year the need has been highlighted by the issues surrounding the COVID pandemic.

Iowa currently has a Charter School option, but the parameters imposed on starting them are far too onerous for it to be an option for most communities. This bill established a path for creation of Public Charter Schools by allowing them to be established by either a school board or a founding group of citizens. The bill lays out specific rules to ensure these charter schools adhere to public school guidelines for transparency, quality, oversight, and admittance. This transparency includes adherence to Iowa Code Chapter 21 Open Meetings Law. The charter school founders will be required to show community need and community support in order to start the school. The charter school will need to admit all who apply and provide special education services for those students the need it. A Public Charter School will be able to obtain public education funds in precisely the same manner and amount that any other receiving public school district receives when a student open enrolls into that school district. There is no doubt that Democrats will be spreading disinformation about this bill by making false claims that these are “private schools” and that this bill diverts public funds to private education. Neither claim is true, these will be public charter schools, period.

The issue of boys claiming to be girls and participating in girls’ sports has been a hot topic nationwide and it is a big concern amongst my constituents as well. The issue has not gone unnoticed in the House and we continue to work on the issue, including writing potential bills and amendments that help spur further discussion. It is an extremely complex and sensitive topic. For example, we want to be careful not to subject girls to intrusions or harassment in the form of gender examinations. It’s important to note that this issue has become something we must respond to because of a select few that challenge their biological gender and those on the Left that are forcing this thought process on everyone else. We cannot let the Left’s agenda destroy all of girls’ sports and rob young women everywhere of athletic opportunities. We have been keeping an eye on what is happening in other states on this issue as a way of obtaining insight and guidance on how to proceed.

Last week the Revenue Estimating Conference met and set their estimates for our state’s revenue for the 2022 fiscal year. This estimate sets the stage for our budget bills to be finalized and signals that the end of the 2021 session is now in sight. Our state finances have shown great resilience in the face of the COVID pandemic, earning Iowa the rank of #1 in the nation as the most prepared to withstand the financial challenges. This resilience was not by accident, House Republicans have worked hard for years to ensure that we have pay attention to detail and act conservatively when we set our spending and tax rates. Our financial position is strong and we expect moderate growth in revenue in spite of the pandemic.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you.