The fate of a bill that would ease state restrictions that currently prohibit stem cell research using human embryos is uncertain. A public hearing on the topic is scheduled for this Wednesday night in the Iowa House.
House Democratic Leader Pat Murphy of Dubuque says the bill will be considered in a House committee today. "I’m sure there will be legislators that want to listen to the public input as well," Murphy says. "At this point I don’t know if we have enough votes to pass it." Last week the Iowa Senate passed the bill by the narrowest of margins.
State lawmakers will also turn their attention to teacher pay this week. Democrats vow to keep a campaign promise to raise Iowa teacher salaries to the national average. At the end of January, Governor Culver called for spending 70 million more state tax dollars on teacher salaries next year.
Republicans insist teacher pay hikes should be linked to performance in the classroom and a bipartisan group called the Institute for Tomorrow’s Workforce has proposed "career ladders" to link pay with performance as well.
Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal says that’s under advisement. "Of course we’re going to look at their recommendations," Gronstal says. But so far, draft legislation does not include any new "strings" attached to higher teacher pay.