Legislative Update for 01/24/2020

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Legislative Update for 01/24/2020

Shanlyn Seivert

With the week a day shorter, due to the Martin Luther King holiday, there were several education related bills that were introduced, but not many subcommittees scheduled for the second week of the legislative session.

There were subcommittees held on the following bills:

SSB 3053Guardianship Verification – Requires a guardian to provide verification of guardianship within 10 days of enrolling a child in a school district. The bill passed in subcommittee to keep it moving as additional information is collected.

SF 116Guns and School Transports - 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 bill is resurrected from the last legislative session. It is eligible for a vote in the Judiciary Committee.

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 the Senate Transportation Committee, making it eligible for debate on the Senate floor.  

SF 2081Suicide Prevention Number – Requires public schools to include on either side of identification cards issued to students in grades 7-12, the Your Life Iowa crisis telephone and text number. The bill passed in the Senate Education Committee with amendments and is eligible for debate on the Senate floor.

SF 2082Department of Education Omnibus Technical Corrections/Clarifications – Designed to clean up sections of Iowa Code. The bill passed in the Senate Education Committee with an amendment making it eligible for debate on the Senate floor.

There are several bills that are scheduled for a subcommittee next week.  

HF 2019 - New School Vehicle Inspections - Exempts a new vehicle sold as a school bus from pre-use inspections if the seller provides the school or district an affidavit certifying the vehicle complies with minimum safety standards and requirements.

HF 2088Professional Development Spending - Requires that funding provided to school districts for professional development cannot be used at an amusement park. Requires the BoEE to adopt rules requiring that time spent for professional development at an amusement park cannot be used to meet license renewal requirements unless held in a conference facility or meeting room.

SF 115Carrying on School Grounds – Allows a peace officer to carry a gun on school grounds, even when not on duty. This bill has been resurrected from last year, and is scheduled for a subcommittee in the Judiciary Committee.

SF 2065 - Extra Bonding Capacity, School Resource Officers – Authorizes school districts to raise property tax or income surtax for school resource officers and allows school districts to use funding from the Instructional Support Program for school resource officers beginning with the 2020-21 school year.

SF 2056 Seizure Safe Schools - Requires school districts and accredited nonpublic schools with a student enrolled who has a seizure disorder to have an individual health plan; to have a registered nurse employed full-time to administer seizure medications; oversight of a vagus nerve stimulation; to provide biennial training relating to seizures to all employees; and to have one employee trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of seizures commencing July 1, 2020. The bill also requires the State Board of Education to adopt rules and the Department of Education (Department) to implement a seizure education program statewide using the Epilepsy Foundation of America training.

SSB 3067School Health Screenings - Prohibits school districts from administering or conducting health screenings not required by state or federal law unless parental consent has been acquired. This bill was scheduled for a subcommittee for next week, but was cancelled. More to come on this bill.

On a different note, Governor Reynolds, the Iowa Department of Public Safety and the Department announced the formation of the Iowa Governor’s School Safety Bureau. It will focus on providing resources and expertise to assist school districts and law enforcement partners to keep students and staff safe. The Governor proposed $2 million to create the bureau and estimated that it would cost $1.5 million to operate per year.

The bureau will be under the Department of Public Safety and will include a full-time core set of instructors dedicated to providing school safety training throughout the state. The bureau also proposes the implementation of a statewide anonymous tip line that makes sharing concerns about troubling behavior easy. The tip line would be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Additionally, because almost every school safety threat contains a digital component, the bureau will include dedicated cyber experts who will assist local law enforcement in pursuing the digital leads necessary to stop concerning behaviors in schools.

With a somewhat slow second week, and several subcommittees already scheduled for next week, I’m anticipating it will be a busy one! Until next week…

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