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Guth, Gassman hold legislative town hall

April 8, 2013
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer , Estherville Daily News

District. 4 Sen. Dennis Guth and Dist. 7 Rep. Tedd Gassman held a legislative town hall meeting 10 a.m. Saturday at the Estherville Public Library community room.

The meeting was sponsored by the Estherville Area Chamber of Commerce.

As a member of the House Education Committee, Gassman said the committee was looking at going from requiring a minimum of 180 days of school a year to 1,080 hours. He said the advantage would be that school districts could count contact hours - something they can't now if classes are held only a few hours and no time can be counted.

Gassman also noted a difference in the House and Senate versions of bills setting minimum teacher salaries - $32,000 for the House and $35,000 for the Senate version.

Gassman also noted three teacher levels - the top of which would be a mentor.

Gassman said he would also like to change current accreditation requirements for private schools. He said he would also like to get rid of Department of Education rules for home schools.

Gassman said he was also chair of a subcommittee to beef up window screens on apartment buildings after a couple accidents in which children fell from windows. He said the bill reached committee where it died.

Gassman said he wasn't sure where the can redemption bill was at now. He said he tried to talk to people regarding another penny. "They don't even want to add to that type of debate," he said.

Regarding education,

Guth said the emphasis needed to be on kids. "It's got to be about the kids and not about the institution," he said.

Addressing a question as to how home schooling fits in with the state education system, Guth said the entire system exists for the parents of children.

Julie Cark said data shows home-schooled kids do better on test scores than other students while Mikki Erickson said education was originally set up in the US as an economic function.

Gassman questioned whether global warming really existed, noting that both 1873 and the 1930s were exceptionally hot years and that 1993 showed the most precipitation in Iowa. "I really struggle with global warming," Gassman said.

When Clark asked what it was about the House education bill that the Senate didn't like, Guth said Senate Democrats had struck everything in the bill and that there was nothing about school choice. The Senate also favors 4 percent allowable growth while the House version is at 2 percent.

When Erickson asked for a clarification of allowable growth, Guth said legislation dictates that most of allowable growth goes into teacher salaries.

Guth said House File 359 which passed the House 90-10 and also went through the Senate Judiciary Committee 10-2 should come to the full floor of the Senate. The bill says local governments can pass an ordinance regulating "performing arts" juice bars.

Gassman said he continues to push for prohibiting no-fault divorce if minor children are present in the home - something that generated significant discussion.

Erickson said the bill is governmental control and that people may be in a difficult marital situation.

"I don't see where a no-fault divorce has helped our country," said Clark.

"I've seen no-fault divorce where it was a good thing," Erickson said.

One man insisted marriage was a covenant between a man and a woman.

"It's a promise," he said.



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