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Introduction from Executive Director, Emily Shields

The legislative session ended last week, but we wanted to provide you with one more weekly newsletter and call to action. We are working on preparing our official session summary, which will be released after all bills have been signed. Please also sign up to join us for next week’s webinar where we’ll give a full recap and answer your questions. Between now and next session, we plan to provide a monthly update in place of these weekly ones. We’ll keep you up to date on happenings at the state and federal level, news stories, and our upcoming events. We’ll also provide monthly tips for how you can continue to advocate for Iowa’s Community Colleges.

Here’s the first one: THANK YOUR LEGISLATORS! There’s a lot to thank them for in session where we achieved so many of our goals, including a $6.5 million increase in State General Aid and an additional $1.75 million for worker retraining programs. You can write a letter, send an email, make a call, send a text, or attend one of their events back home. Find their contact information here and visit the Caucus pages to find their websites, which will have event information and how to sign up for their newsletters:

This is a great moment to build relationships by making sure they know you are paying attention and appreciative of their efforts.

Free Speech Legislation

The bill we have gotten the most questions on from this session is HF744 on free speech, which was signed by the Governor last week and effective immediately. We are working on more formal guidance and support for this legislation (and awaiting potential administrative rules). This will include sample policy language and training options. In the meantime, here are some points to consider:

  • The bill requires public institutions of higher education to review institutional policies that touch on Free Speech, have clear compliant processes, and publicize those processes and policies.

  • Make certain that faculty, staff, students, and the general public can easily find these policies on the college website.

  • Training must be provided annually to all faculty, staff, and students on these laws, policies, and processes (and you must permit elected officials and staff members to attend).

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