BOISE, Idaho — After two weeks of delay, the House Education Committee introduced a new piece of dyslexia legislation that would provide state support for enhanced literacy intervention.
The new bill comes after a previous piece of legislation – Senate Bill 1280 – already cleared the Senate floor unanimously. Around the same time, state superintendent Sherri Ybarra pitched a similar bill related to dyslexia education.
During Ybarra's bill introduction, House Education Committee Chairman Lance Clow said that the panel would wait to see how the two pieces of legislation compared – and if the committee could combine them.
Following the Senate vote, the House Education Committee did not hear any discussion on dyslexia-related legislation for nearly two weeks. The pause drew the ire of some lawmakers, including Republican Rep. Judy Boyle from Midvale, who spoke about the delay in a news conference with SB 1280 legislative sponsors and Decoding Dyslexia Idaho representatives.
"It appears to me that it is nothing but politics by the current superintendent. She wants her name on a bill, and apparently the chairman does as well," Boyle said. "That's not fair to these kids, and it's not fair to the parents."
Decoding Dyslexia Idaho is a grassroots movement of families aiming to increase awareness and educational support for children with characteristics of dyslexia. SB 1280 was initially pitched to lawmakers by Decoding Dyslexia Idaho representatives, who worked with experts in the literacy and learning disability field to develop legislation.
On Thursday, Boyle brought forward a new piece of dyslexia-related legislation that combines features from both SB 1280 and Ybarra's House Bill 655.
"This strengthens 1280 quite a bit. Rep Kerby helped work on this, as did the parents from Decoding Dyslexia Idaho and the senators as well," Boyle said. "I appreciate very much your indulgence to hear this new RS and trying to do the best we can for our dyslexic kids."
In a statement to Idaho News 6, Clow — a Republican from Twin Falls — said he believes the new bill is “the best of the original two.”
The bill will receive a full hearing either Friday morning or early next week. Daily agendas with information on what the House Education Committee will discuss are available here.