NewsPolitics & Government

Sunday Talk: Guth on the Fourth Legislative Week

Week four of the legislative session brought many people from the district to Des Moines. Tuesday was especially busy as approximately 800 FFA students from across the state came to the Capitol to learn about state government. It was unfortunate that during the majority of the time the students from Clarion Goldfield Dows and Belmond-Klemme and Humboldt were at the Capitol, I had committee meetings. I was able to squeeze in 12 minutes with them between committees and took some time with one group after committee to see the Senate chambers. I really enjoy talking with students that visit the Capitol.

Tuesday also brought two pastors from the district to visit me. Pastor Steve Couch of the Britt E Free Church and Pastor Cleve of Garner E Free came to help the Senate open in prayer and to visit with the Church Ambassador Network. The Church Ambassador Network encourages pastors to pray for their legislators and their families.

While many issues were discussed in subcommittee and committee this week, the big issue remains discussions over the Area Education Agencies. The AEA has grown and changed during its 50 years of existence. I’ve heard from hundreds of staff and teachers about the need for AEA services, but very few disagreed with the need to take a closer look at the organization. Some ideas have advanced through subcommittee, but will undoubtedly change through the course of the session. Some things I have heard that must be in the legislation are focus on truly improving special education, making it net positive for rural schools and increasing para-educator pay. Many have encouraged me to just vote NO on changing the AEA. I think there are positive changes we must move toward, rather just ignore that problems exist. It is my hope that a rational next step is found.

This week the Senate committees discussed ownership of Iowa land by foreign entities, religious freedom, traffic cameras and hands-free devices and a whole lot more. One of the things I will be meeting on next week is allowing money saved in an educational savings plan (529) to be used to pay for higher education that does not offer college credit. This would include career-related programs like Commercial Driver’s training or an apprenticeship. This came to our attention when constituents said they had saved money in a 529 plan for their child’s education, but couldn’t access the funds when their child decided to drive a truck or become a plumber.

Educational Savings Accounts Update

The Department of Education released statistics telling us almost 17,000 students are using Educational Savings Accounts (ESAs) this year. Twelve percent of those were students previously enrolled in public school and 21% are incoming kindergartners. That means the two-thirds were already enrolled in private school.

The enrollment in public schools decreased by less than 1% because of ESAs. The reality is that the majority of Iowa students will continue to be educated in public schools. Last year the legislature approved a more than $107 million increase in school funding for K-12 public schools. Choice will lead to better student outcomes in both public and private schools.

I will be having forums on Feb. 10; Belmond City Hall at 9:30 AM and Humboldt City Hall at 11:30 AM.

Proverbs 12:18 says:
There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword,
But the tongue of the wise brings healing.

I can testify that this holds true in the political arena, as well as the rest of life.

Rep. Anne Odmonson, Jason Rupert (president of National Association of Christian Legislators) Senator Guth
Sam Jones and Steve Reedy, Pastors of Abundant Life Church in Humboldt, visit Senator Guth
Senator and Margaret Guth with neighbor and friends Tom, Doreen and Caleb Nichols.
Victoria Sinclair and Doyle Turner, lobbying against eminent domain for CO2 pipelines.
Humboldt, Clarion-Goldfield-Dows FFA students.
Belmond-Klemme FFA students

Back to top button