Legislative Update for April 28, 2018

Iowa Department of Education Banner with Mission Statement

Legislative Update for 04/28/2018

Shanlyn Seivert

The week started with the Governor signing two education-related bills, by mid-week the Education Appropriations bill SSB 3220 was released, and for the finale, it was announced that Gov. Reynolds, House and Senate leadership had reached a tax relief agreement.

SSB 3220 passed the Senate Appropriations Committee, is now SF 2415, and is eligible for debate on the Senate floor. The House will be working off of the Senate’s version, and a subcommittee is scheduled.

Included in SF 2415:

  • A new appropriation of $2.7 million for the Statewide Assessment. HF 2235, State Assessment, requires the Department of Education (Department) to adopt administrative rules setting the statewide assessment of students as the assessment created by Iowa Testing Programs and administered by the Iowa Testing Programs' designee.
  • A new appropriation of $500,000 for the Computer Science Professional Development Incentive Fund, which was established in SF 274 last session. School districts, accredited non-public schools, and area education agencies can apply to the Department for funds to provide teachers professional development in computer science or to provide tuition reimbursement for teachers seeking an endorsement in computer science.
  • An increase of a little over $342,000 to the Iowa Reading Research Center (IRRC) for the development of the Early Literacy Blueprint Initiative, which will build on the initial modules that the IRRC created for statewide literacy professional development.
  • A new appropriation of $250,000 for the creation of the Iowa Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning as part of the Future Ready Iowa Initiative and the Governor’s Executive Order No. 1.
  • A new appropriation of $600,000 for a Summer Joint Enrollment Program to allow high school students to enroll in community college classes, or classes taught by a community college employed instructor, during the summer months under an agreement between the school district and the community college.

As a reminder, this is the Senate’s version of the Education Appropriations bill. The House and Senate will have to agree on all aspects of the bill before it can be sent to the Governor.

As I mentioned earlier, the Governor signed two education-related bills this week.

HF 2442 - High School Collision Sports – This bill requires the Department of Public Health (DPH), Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA), and Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU) to work together to develop training materials and courses on concussions and brain injury. Coaches and contest officials must complete the training by July 1, 2019. DPH, IHSAA and IGHSAU are charged with developing return to play protocols, and local school boards need to adopt the protocols by July 1, 2019. Local school boards are charged with developing return to learn plans, which need to be based on guidance from the Brain Injury Association of America. They should also include the student’s parents and health care provider in the development of the plan.

Beginning July 1, 2018, schools need to provide parents/guardians of students in grades 7-12 a concussion and brain injury information sheet, which needs to be signed and returned prior to participation. If a student is observed to have signs, symptoms, or behaviors consistent with a concussion or brain injury, they are to be immediately removed from an extracurricular interscholastic activity. Once a student is removed from an extracurricular interscholastic activity due to a concussion, they cannot return to that activity, or start a new extracurricular interscholastic activity, until they receive written approval from a health care professional. The bill also adds liability protections for school districts and accredited nonpublic schools. The bill passed in the House on a 96-2 vote and passed the Senate on a 46-0 vote.

HF 648 – Technical Corrections to CTE Statute –This bill passed the House last year and was introduced in the Senate this session. The bill amends Iowa Code chapter 258 to provide flexibility in the disbursement of state career and technical education funds to Regional Planning Partnerships (RPP). The bill also modifies an existing allowable use of funds to include certain consumable supplies. The bill passed the House last session on a 98-0 vote. It passed the Senate on a 47-0 vote.

As session draws to a close, there are many bills for the Governor to consider. She has three options: sign the bill, veto the bill (or item veto an appropriations bill), or take no action. Bills received by the Governor during the last three calendar days of session must be signed or vetoed within 30 calendar days. If the Governor does not take action within 30 calendar days, the bill fails to become law. If the bill is an appropriations bill, the Governor can line-item veto, which is striking a specific item. Some bills will be effective upon enactment (when signed by the Governor), and others may be effective upon a specified date. If you are interested in knowing the effective date of a particular bill, it is usually outlined at the end of the bill before the signatures of the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House.

With the majority of the appropriations bills released, and an agreement reached on a tax bill, the legislative session should be wrapping up quickly.

More to come...

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