Legislative Update for January 27, 2018

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Legislative Update for 01/27/2018

Shanlyn Seivert

Another busy week at the Capitol!

The Senate worked on a de-appropriations bill for the current fiscal year, which passed out of the Appropriations Committee on a party line vote of 13-8. The Senate bill would cut about $52 million in spending, which is larger than the $27 million reduction proposed by Governor Reynolds. For further details see SF 2117.

The Department of Education's bill to expand access to Iowa Learning Online (ILO), which was introduced in the Senate as SSB 3030 and introduced in the House as HSB 563, passed subcommittees in both chambers. The bill is now eligible for a vote in the Senate and House Education Committees.

SF 2064 is a bill establishing a new school start date. Currently, school districts are required to start school no earlier than August 23. The new bill states the earliest school start date would be August 23, or the Monday following the last day of the Iowa State Fair, whichever occurs first. The bill passed a Senate subcommittee and will now head to the Senate Education Committee, where it is expected to pass.

Another bill that passed a Senate subcommittee is SSB 3002, School Bus Route Limitations. Currently, there are time limits established for the amount of time students can ride on a bus under normal circumstances. For elementary students, the time limit is 60 minutes and for high school students it is 75 minutes. This bill places the responsibility to determine the amount of time a student can be on a bus with local school boards.

HSB 578 - Statewide Assessment – This bill states that the new assessment shall be developed by the Iowa Testing Program located within the University of Iowa College of Education and be administered by the Iowa Testing Program’s designee. The bill has been assigned to a subcommittee. As a reminder, during the 2017 Legislative session, SF 240, required the Department of Education (Department) to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) by July 1, to choose the statewide assessment that would be administered in the 2018-2019 school year. The Department worked with the Department of Administrative Services to issue the RFP and evaluate submissions in accordance with SF 240.  An intent to award was announced. One of the applicants appealed the decision, which is currently pending before an administrative law judge.

SF 475 - Education Omnibus bill, passed the Senate last year. This week it passed the House Education Committee, with an amendment, on a party-line vote, and is now eligible for debate on the House floor.

The bill covers several areas:

  • expands the ability to utilize online education (instruction and course content that are delivered primarily over the internet) and removes the cap on the number of students who can be enrolled in online education through open enrollment,
  • expands the ability of community college-employed instructors to teach career and technical education (CTE) courses at the high school level,
  • tasks the Department and Department of Public Health with creating a student health work group to review student health requirements and find ways to streamline health requirements and data collections, also specifies the make-up of the work group,
  • provides access to co-curricular or extracurricular activities within a district to students who are participating in open enrollment for the purpose of receiving instruction and course content primarily over the internet,
  • creates within the Department a seal of bi-literacy program to recognize students graduating who have demonstrated proficiency in two or more world languages, and
  • Requires the Department’s guidance documents and statements to be consistent with code and rule.

Week four of the legislative session brings us into February. The first funnel occurs at the end of week six, so stay buckled up, as the pace for now is sure to remain lightning fast!

Shan Seivert
Policy Liaison
Iowa Department of Education
Cell: 515-326-5595
Office: 515-281-3399