Iowa Classroom Camera Bill Dies Before the First Hearing

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A decision on whether or not to move forward a bill that would mandate cameras in almost every Iowa public school classroom happened off-camera.

A Wednesday Iowa House subcommittee hearing on HF 2177—the aforementioned classroom camera bill—that  was set to be livestreamed never took place as House members effectively killed the bill ahead of time. The Democratic legislator on the subcommittee was sick and couldn’t attend, and Republicans decided not to reschedule the meeting.

Rep. Ray “Bubba” Sorenson (R-Greenfield) said the bill didn’t have much support, the Des Moines Register reported.

“I was never in support of it,” Sorenson commented. “I think it needs a lot better fencing if we’re going to do something like that and a lot better explanation and a lot more time honestly to hear from the public on what something like that would look like.”

The bill was introduced by Rep. Norlin Mommsen of DeWitt.

According to Mommsen’s bill, the cameras would be connected to the internet, and parents and guardians would have access to a live feed to watch what is happening in their child’s classroom during normal attendance hours.

The cameras, their installation, and other related expenses would be paid for with the existing funds provided to school districts by the state legislature, meaning no additional state dollars would go to this effort.

A rough estimate showed the installation cost of these cameras could come at the expense of one new teacher per building.

This legislation follows up on months of Republican efforts to impose tighter control over what is taught in Iowa classrooms after a series of far-right online articles whipped up paranoia, often based on false or distorted claims, over public school curriculum.

 

by Ty Rushing
2/09/22

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