Iowa Lawmakers Close to Regulating Electric Bicycles, Among Other Moves

Black electric bicycle

Black electric bicycle

DES MOINES, Iowa - Iowa is closer to regulating electric bicycles.

A bill headed to Governor Kim Reynolds would require e-bike riders to obey posted speed limits on trails and bike lanes on city streets. It would limit them to 20 miles-per-hour in areas with no speed limit.

Lawmakers say it reflects a movement in states across the country.

"This is legislation that is growing across the country," said Democratic Representative Bob Kressig of Cedar Falls. “We’re seeing a lot more electric bikes that are coming and people are riding them. I imagine one day I’ll be on one, too - maybe a few years from now.”

The bill overwhelmingly passed the House 91-1 and now goes to Governor Reynolds.

Electric bicycles add power to the pedaling of riders, which lets them travel longer at higher speeds. Most e-bikes top out at 20 miles-per-hour.

Diversity Plans in Public Schools Would Be Eliminated

The Iowa House also approved a bill to eliminate diversity plans in public schools.

It would mean schools could no longer block students from leaving for other districts.

Schools can currently use diversity plans to prevent those transfers for the purpose of keeping a balance of students.

The bill passed the House with heavy Republican support and now goes to Governor Kim Reynolds.

Five districts - Davenport, Waterloo, Postville, West Liberty and Des Moines - have diversity plans based on income. West Liberty also includes English Language Learners as a reason for its diversity plan.

Democrats have argued that allowing students to enroll in other districts will lead to less diversity, as low-income students will not be able to afford transportation if they want to do the same. Democrats say over time, open enrollment could lead to economic and racial isolation.

Districts would also lose state funding with the transfers to other schools. A non-partisan legislative group has estimated Des Moines Schools could lose more than 300 students at a cost of $2.6 million.