Legislative Update for 01/25/2019

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Legislative Update for 01/25/2019

Shanlyn Seivert

With the week a day shorter, due to the Martin Luther King holiday, and Mother Nature making her presence known, there was not the usual flurry of bills and subcommittees scheduled for the second week of the legislative session.

There were a few subcommittees held on the following bills:

SSB 1031/HSB 17 – Teacher Preparation Testing - The bill addresses teacher preparation program completion testing in several ways. During the subcommittee an amendment was accepted, which allows the department to set the required passing score based on consideration of the recommended score determined by the test provider, test scores in other states, and teacher supply and demand data. The bill allows a one year license for a person who has not yet passed the test(s), has completed all other program requirements, and has a documented job offer. This provision will be also extended to out of state applicants. Finally, the bill states that once a person reaches the required score, the person is considered to have passed, even if the required score goes up before completing other program requirements. The bill with an amendment passed a subcommittee making it eligible for a vote in the Senate Education Committee.

SJR 1 – Home Rule through a Constitutional Amendment - This resolution would begin the process to grant constitutional Home Rule to school districts in Iowa. The process requires that the bill pass in the same form through two consecutive general assemblies. This would include the 88th General Assembly, which we are in the first session, and the 89th General Assembly. Once that occurs then a statewide vote would occur. The bill passed in subcommittee and is now eligible for a vote in the Senate Education Committee.

SSB 1032 - Reorganization and Whole Grade Sharing Incentives Extension – Extends certain incentives for whole grade sharing for an additional five years, from July 1, 2019 – July 1, 2024. The bill provides for a reduced uniform levy as an incentive for school districts that reorganize on or before July 1, 2024. The bill passed in subcommittee and is eligible for a vote in the Senate Education Committee.

HSB 18 – Secure an Advanced Vision for Education SAVE – This bill is very similar to HF 2481 that passed last year in the House. It institutes a new sunset date of January 1, 2051. There is a new section which states that an athletic facility infrastructure project, defined as a building or structure that is not physically attached to a student attendance center, will not be authorized until each attendance center within the school district is equipped with secured entrance and exit door systems. The bill also includes a Career Academy Fund which allows a separate and distinct fund to be established and created where funds are allocated as competitive grants to establish career academies, with preference going to new academies where three or more school districts are working collaboratively, with a maximum grant award of $1 million. The second priority goes to existing academies. The bill passed in subcommittee and is eligible for a vote in the House Education Committee.

There were a couple of bills that went through the Senate Judiciary Committee dealing with firearms on school grounds. One is SSB 1017 - Firearms and School Transports, which allows individuals with a valid nonprofessional permit to carry a firearm on school grounds if they are on school grounds to transport a person to or from, or delivering an item to the school; and if they remain in a parking area or driveway. The other bill is SF 7 - Carrying on School Grounds, which allows a peace officer or reserve peace officer, whether certified or not, and federal peace officers whose duties include carrying a gun, to carry a gun on school grounds, whether the officer is in performance of official duties or not. Both bills passed in subcommittee and are eligible for a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Since every day counts during the legislative session, as we enter week three, there will most likely be an increase in bill activity and subcommittees in an attempt to catch up from this last week. I guess we’ll see if Mother Nature cooperates. Until next week…

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