Newsletter | February 12, 2021

 

To the People of House District 54

The fifth week of the 89th General Assembly was filled with a flurry of activity. I chaired my first subcommittee for both the Agriculture and the Natural Resources Committees. One particularly notable bill that passed through the Agriculture Committee is HSB 95, which establishes a local farm produce program to help schools purchase fresh farm produce directly from farmers or distributors. I was happy to help double the amount of refundable Adoption Tax Credit through House File 369.  This bill is now working its way through the committee process in the Senate.
 

Child Care and Education were debated this week on the House floor.  Additional details about related bills follow.  

 
Child Care

A lack of affordable, reliable child care isn’t a new issue for Iowans. However, the ongoing pandemic has exacerbated the situation. More than 80 child care centers have closed since March 2020.
 

To help remedy the situation, the Iowa House on Wednesday passed six child care bills with bipartisan support:

  1. HF 230 – Increases the income threshold for the Child Care Tax Credit from $45,000 to $90,000. 

  2. HF 370 – Creates an incentive for employers to provide child care for their employees by providing a tax credit up to $150,000. 

  3. HF 260 – Allows individuals providing child care in their homes to take care of 6 or fewer children, which is an increase from 5 or fewer. 

  4. HF 292 – Raises Iowa’s child care rates to the 50th percentile according to the Market Rate Survey. 

  5. HF 302 – Creates an “off ramp” rather than a “cliff” from Child Care Assistance program. This will help parents grow in their careers without losing child care assistance entirely, all at once. 

  6. HF 301 – Creates a fund to provide child care workforce grants on a dollar-for-dollar matching basis from communities. These programs will help move child care providers up the pay scale and the education pathway.

 
Education

The Iowa House wrapped up floor debate this week by passing a 2.4% increase in Supplemental State Aid (SSA) as part of Senate File (SF) 269. This bill includes a $10 increase in the State Cost Per Pupil Funding to narrow the disparity that resulted years ago among school districts. The third piece of this bill addresses transportation equity, which especially helps rural districts. The total increase in education funding provided through SF 269 equals $36.5 million, marking the 12th consecutive year of increased funding for K-12 schools.

 
Stay in Touch

Feel free to contact me at any time throughout the year with any issues or concerns. I need your input in order to represent your interests and viewpoints. I’m always just a click away! You’re welcome to send an email to Shannon.Latham@legis.iowa.gov or message me on my political Facebook page (@ShannonLathamIA).  
 

“Front Row News” is distributed to local newspapers and interested constituents at the end of each week throughout the legislative session. “Looking Ahead with Latham” is a video update posted each Monday on my political Facebook page. 

 

One day this week I had the honor of calling the House to order. I got the privilege of sitting in the Speaker’s chair as bills were introduced.  

 

 

 

 

 

 
Sincerely,  
Rep. Shannon Latham 
Iowa House District 54