The Iowa Legislature wrapped up its spring 2014 session without passing an anti-bullying bill, a top priority of Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad.
The House amended the original version approved earlier this session by the Senate, a version Davenport’s State Sen. Joe Seng called too “watered down” to have any impact.
“When it went over to the House, they pretty much gutted that,” said Sen. Seng. “We don’t want lip service, we want to pass a good bill,” he said.
Seng says the House version omitted the million dollars in funding for anti-bullying prevention and programs. He also disagreed with two other revisions.
Fellow Democrats rejected provisions that would strike authorization for school administrators to be able to deal with conduct that happens off school grounds, and giving immunity to school administrators related to parental notification and court proceedings.
“You hate to hastily craft a bill that doesn’t go very far and doesn’t do what you want. It needs more time,” Seng said.
Scott County has had four teenagers take their own lives over the past year, and bullying was a factor in at least some of the cases. One of the children was just 12 years old.
Seng predicted the bill will return to the table during the next legislative session.
“It will be back, it’s a live round,” Seng said.