Parental rights bill passes Iowa House

(WOI-DT) – The Iowa House and Iowa Senate have debated and passed an amended version of a bill that would give parents more control over the materials their kids have access to in schools.

The bill, Senate File 496, has been bouncing back and forth between the house and the senate for some time.

The bill requires districts to list books and instruction materials online for parents to access and establishes a process for parents to file complaints against those materials.

In addition, the legislation bans teaching about gender identity and sexuality, and requires school districts to tell a student’s parents if their child is expressing a gender identity different than their biological sex. 

Legislators continue to debate the proposed policies as the bill progresses.

“It is wrong to remove other books just because someone’s determined them not age appropriate, or that there’s some sexuality noted in it,” said Sen. Sarah Trone Garriott. “I mean, that’s part of life, and learning how to live life together, and how to be a healthy person. Those are topics that, you know, are part of our world.”

Iowa Republican Sen. Brad Zaun responded to Democrats who see this bill as an attack on LGBTQ youth. 

“This bill here is letting parents be parents,” Zaun said. “We’re trying to protect kids.”

The bill passed in the Iowa House on Thursday with a 57-38 vote, and in the Iowa Senate on Wednesday with a 34-16 vote.

Once the House and Senate make their final revisions to the bill, Gov. Kim Reynolds is expected to sign it into law.