Kim Reynolds, Governor of Iowa, signed a bill into law this week requiring public schools to administer the Pledge of Allegiance to students on a daily basis, in addition to lifting various COVID-related restrictions.
The bill follows the recent actions of several other states, including Florida and Texas, in banning schools, cities, and counties from imposing mask mandates. Mask-wearing is now completely voluntary outside of private businesses in the state of Iowa.
The new law, House File 847, was passed the House by a 53-35 vote and the Senate by a 29-17 vote before Reynolds signed it into law within hours of it reaching her desk on Thursday, Des Moines Register reported.
According to the bill’s text, “The board of directors of each public school district shall administer the pledge of allegiance in grades one through twelve each school day.”
“Each classroom in which the pledge of allegiance is recited pursuant to this subsection shall display the United States flag during the citation,” the bill reads. “A student shall not be compelled against the student’s objections or those of the student’s parent or guardian to recite the pledge.”
Although the governor did not comment much on the new Pledge of Allegiance requirement, she praised Iowa’s law as a move to “protect the rights of all Iowans to make their own health care decisions” by rescinding mask mandates.
“The state of Iowa is putting parents back in control of their child’s education and taking greater steps to protect the rights of all Iowans to make their own health care decisions,” Reynolds said in a statement on Twitter.
The state of Iowa is putting parents back in control of their child’s education and taking greater steps to protect the rights of all Iowans to make their own health care decisions. https://t.co/rLIBX34Ty2
— Gov. Kim Reynolds (@IAGovernor) May 20, 2021
“I am proud to be a governor of a state that values personal responsibility and individual liberties. I want to thank the Iowa Legislature for their quick work in bringing this bill to my desk so that it can be signed into law,” the governor remarked, according to the Register.
The wide-ranging bill also reportedly expands open enrollment and education-related tax credit programs in the state. It also waives the state’s 90-day athletic ineligibility period for school transfers, and strengthens certain requirements pertaining to charter schools.
HF 847 went into effect immediately early on Thursday morning.