Dress code bill hitting dead-end in Iowa Senate committee - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dress code bill hitting dead-end in Iowa Senate committee


DES MOINES (KWWL) -- A bill that passed overwhelmingly in the Iowa House may have hit a dead end due to one senator.

The bill, known as House File 77 and 212, would have allowed school districts to tell students what they could wear to school without limiting students constitutional rights or privileges if such a policy would improve the school environment.

Representative Jeremy Taylor, R-Sioux City, introduced the House version of the bill in response to the Waterloo Community School Districts dress code that was challenged by some parents.  An administrative law judge ruled that schools can only tell students what they cannot wear, but deferred to the legislature because Iowa operates under Dillon's Law, which means if Iowa Code doesn't say a school district can do something, they can't do it.

The bill passed the house 91-9, including votes from Representatives Rogers, Berry, Kressig and Kajtazovic, all from the Cedar Valley.

Taylor says the bill contains no mandate, only the freedom for school boards to make the local control decision.

But, Sen. Herman Quirmbach, D-Ames, the chairman of the Senate Education Committee says the bill will not go to the Senate for a vote.

Quirmbach says the majority of the emails he has received are those opposing the bill and most of those come from the Waterloo area.

"It's unfortunate that a measure that 91 House members support, 72 percent of the community and 80 percent of teachers support can be stopped by one person," said Taylor in a written statement.

Taylor would like Quirmbach to look to the House support and a University of Northern Iowa survey that found a majority of parents and teachers support a dress code policy rather than counting emails.

But Quirmbach says he doesn't see enough support in favor.

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