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Funnel deadline sidelines bills

DES MOINES — Hundreds of bills have been permanently sidelined by Friday’s first “funnel” deadline in the Iowa legislature.

Bills to implement new state policies must have cleared a committee in either the House or the Senate by March 8th to remain eligible for consideration. Some of the 12-hundred bills that were filed by lawmakers this year were never scheduled for an initial hearing, but a handful were discussed in a subcommittee and defeated.

That includes a bill that would have required Iowa schools to “conspicuously display” the phrase “In God We Trust” in every public school building. Brenda Brown of Carlisle is a member of the Iowa Prayer Caucus which meets every Tuesday in the statehouse. “We have children that do not know their God, but they know Allah because that have got that information in our schools,” she said, “so we want to take that confusion out.”

Groups representing Iowa educators opposed the bill. Emily Piper is a lobbyist for the Iowa Association of School Boards. “We have some real concerns about the separation of church and state by displaying that in all our schools.” Brad Hudson is a lobbyist for the Iowa State Education Association, which represents teachers. “There are other priorities that would help student learning more than the expense of putting ‘In God We Trust’ on our walls,” Hudson said.

The Democrat and both Republicans who reviewed the bill permanently tabled it.


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