Legislative Update for 01/17/2020

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Legislative Update for 01/17/2020

Shanlyn Seivert

The second session of the 88th General Assembly has begun! The first day of session was January 13. There are 100 days in the second legislative session, and the 100th day falls on April 21. The first funnel lands on Friday, February 21 (the date by which bills need to be voted out of a House or Senate Committee to stay alive) and the second funnel, (which is the deadline for bills to be voted out of one chamber, and out of committee in the other chamber to survive) lands on March 20.

The current make-up of the House consists of 53 Republican and 47 Democratic legislators. On the House Education Committee there are 12 Republican and 11 Democratic legislators. In the Senate there are 32 Republican, 18 Democratic legislators, and the Education Committee is comprised of 10 Republican and five Democratic legislators. Click here for a list of legislators.

The Chairs and Ranking Members in both the House and Senate Education Committee remain the same. 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) 2021 proposed budget. Her recommendations included an increase of $103 million for PreK-12 education. She plans to significantly cut income taxes and create a sustainable funding source for the state’s mental health system and remove barriers that are restricting schools from partnering with telehealth providers, especially for behavioral health. The Governor called upon legislators to take computer science statewide and ensure every student, at every level, has access. In support of Future Ready Iowa, she is proposing the expansion of the Last Dollar Scholarship and the Employer Innovation Fund by $2.8 million each, which brings the total investment to over $20 million. In addition, she is adding $1 million for work-based learning coordinators to be covered by operational-sharing agreements.

The Department of Education (Department) submitted three legislative proposals; two policy bills and one technical code clarification/corrections bill. Two of the bills have been assigned bill numbers.  

Senior Year Plus Proficiency Requirements - To enroll in college credit courses via concurrent enrollment or Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO), a high school student must meet academic standards set by the postsecondary institution, which are the same for regularly-enrolled college students and high school students. Currently, high school students also have to be proficient at grade level in reading, math, and science to take any courses via concurrent enrollment. With the changes to the new Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP) proficiency standards, many students will lose access to college credit courses. The bill would eliminate the state proficiency requirements for eligibility. Students would still be expected to meet all general college requirements, and if required, program specific entrance requirements.

SSB 3019State Accreditation Standards and Process – Provides career and technical education instructors with the option to use their education as well as experience to meet the community college state accreditation standards. Currently, there are two minimum faculty requirements available for community college career and technical education instructors. A proposal was developed by the Faculty Standards Task Force and was endorsed by the community college chief academic officers. The changes would provide community colleges with flexibility while maintaining credentialing standards and quality minimum faculty requirements in hiring career and technical education instructors, particularly in career and technical education fields with a shortage of quality instructors.

SSB 3018Technical Code Corrections/Clarifications - This bill is designed to clean up sections of Iowa Code.

The following bills are scheduled for a subcommittee next week.

SSB 3020Suicide Prevention Number - Requires public schools to include on either side of identification cards issued to students the national suicide prevention telephone number.

SSB 3053Guardianship Verification - Requires a guardian to provide verification of guardianship within 10 days of enrolling a child in a school district.

A subcommittee was held for SF 2009School License Driving – Allows a special, minor driver's licensee, who attends public school, to travel to certain extracurricular activities provided that the distance between the origin and destination does not exceed 50 miles. The bill passed in subcommittee making it eligible for a vote in the Senate Transportation Committee. 

There have been several bills that have been resurrected from last session. You can track and monitor bills utilizing the Department’s bill tracking site. 

For your convenience, I have included the link to The Iowa Legislature website. 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.

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 Advisor/Legislative Liaison
Iowa Department of Education
Cell: 515-326-5595
Office: 515-281-3399