Legislative Update for 05/14/2020

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Legislative Update for 05/14/2020

Shanlyn Seivert

As the state begins to reopen, I’m sure there are many who are happy that they can once again sit down and enjoy a meal at their favorite restaurant, and I’m certain there are even more who are excited to schedule an appointment at their salon or barber shop to receive some overdue hair care! Legislators will have nearly three weeks to enjoy both, before they return to the Capitol. 

Legislative leaders announced this week, that they will be resuming the legislative session on Wednesday, June 3rd. It is anticipated that the legislative session may last a couple of weeks. There have been health and safety measures established in preparation for their return. Those measures include: encouraging anyone who is sick to stay home; requiring anyone who enters the Capitol to undergo a health screening; recommending everyone follow social distancing guidelines, and if unable to properly distance, use face masks; and limiting the number of  individuals allowed in the House and Senate Chambers. For subcommittee meetings, members of the public will be strongly encouraged to submit written comments, and all committee meetings will be held in the House and Senate Chambers, where they can be live streamed on the legislative website. 

Today, Governor Reynolds, and leaders in the House and Senate requested the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) to convene a meeting prior to the Legislature reconvening. The REC estimate will be used as a data point for the Legislature to consider when developing the fiscal year 2021 budget.

Recently, the Department of Education (Department) held two webinars on Return-to-Learn guidance for school districts. The guidance is designed to help districts develop Return-to-Learn plans that include each potential stage of reopening they may experience. District Return-to-Learn plans will be due to the Department by July 1, 2020. 

The Department has been holding two webinars each week, however, starting next week the plan is to hold one webinar per week, usually on Thursdays at 1 p.m. The webinars will continue to cover a variety of topics, are recorded, and can be found on the Department’s YouTube web-page. Additionally, the Department has a COVID-19 web-page, where you will find resources, FAQs and guidance. 

In closing, as educators and education stakeholders, you may find the following interesting. Through the Department’s partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers, Iowa will be included as part of Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020, a one-hour primetime show paying joyful tribute to high school seniors, their extraordinary teachers, and their families. During the show, scheduled for May 16, high school seniors and other viewers will be invited to visit a Graduate Together website and click on their state to see specialized content for their graduating class. What a great way to showcase and celebrate the 2020 senior class!  

Until next time...stay healthy and safe!

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