Legislative Update for 01/19/2019

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Legislative Update for 01/19/2019

Shanlyn Seivert

So once again the gavels have been dusted off and the first session of the 88th General Assembly has begun! The first day of session was January 14. The current make-up of the House consists of 53 Republican and 46 Democratic legislators, with one seat that will be subject to an election contest. On the House Education Committee there are 12 Republican and 11 Democratic legislators. In the Senate there are 32 Republican, 18 Democratic, and the Education Committee is comprised of 10 Republican and five Democratic legislators. Click here for a list of legislators.

There have been several changes of Chairs and Ranking Members in both Education Committees. In the House Education Committee, Cecil Dolecheck is Chair, Tedd Gassman, Vice-Chair and Ras Smith is the Ranking Member. In the Senate Education Committee, Amy Sinclair is Chair, Chris Cournoyer, Vice-Chair and Herman Quirmbach, Ranking Member. Click here for both the House and Senate Education Committees. 

On January 14, Governor Kim Reynolds delivered the Condition of the State address and released her fiscal year (FY) 2020 proposed budget. Her recommendations included an increase of $93 million for PreK-12 education, which includes a 2.3 percent increase in per pupil funding. Also included in her budget was an $11.2 million request to help districts with disproportionate transportation costs and a $1 million increase in STEM funding. In addition, she proposed $20 million in funding, for Future Ready Iowa, including funds to expand work-based learning and funds for the Future Ready Iowa Last Dollar Scholarship and the Future Ready Iowa Grant Program. Also as part of her budget proposal she requested $3 million to train teachers to better recognize early signs of mental illness.   

The Department did not introduce any new bills this session. There were several important pieces of legislation from the 2018 session that the Department has been busy working on implementing. As a review of some of the important work, you may want to read Director Wise’s blog, which can be found here.   

There are several education related bills you may find interesting, one of which is  SSB 1029, which would push back the financial literacy graduation requirement to the graduation class of 2022 - 2023.  You can track and monitor that bill, as well as others, utilizing the Department’s bill tracking site, which is available here.  

For your convenience, I have included the link to The Iowa Legislature website here. There are tabs at the top where you can choose the area you are interested in, such as legislators, legislation or committees. I have also included the Iowa 88th General Assembly Calendar here, which shows March 8 as the end of the first funnel week. Bills must be voted out of a House or Senate Committee by this date in order to stay alive and remain eligible for debate. This does not apply to bills that spend money (Appropriations bills). By the second funnel deadline, which is April 5, bills have to be voted out of one chamber and out of committee in the opposite chamber or they are no longer eligible for debate. Once again, this does not include Appropriations bills.

Week one of the legislative session has come and gone. The next several weeks will be filled with a flurry of bills and an abundance of subcommittees and committee meetings.  As the session progresses, I will keep you updated and highlight bills as they move through the legislative process. Until next week...

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