Legislative Update for 02/05/2021

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Legislative Update for 02/05/2021

Renee Jerman

The fourth week of session is complete!

We are moving closer to the first funnel date of March 5!  The first funnel is a self-imposed deadline the Legislature uses to narrow the number of bills still eligible for debate. While there are a few exceptions for tax and budget bills, any bill that has not cleared a House or Senate full committee by this date is considered dead for the session. However, portions of bills can be brought back to life under certain circumstances as the session progresses.

The Department of Education sponsored bills are progressing through the legislative process. The bills have moved out of full committee. I will provide an update on the Department of Education’s bills once they have passed out of one chamber and are heading to the other chamber.

Non Department of Education bills passed out of subcommittee this week:

SSB1133 Area Education Agency Leases - Raises the threshold for area education agency leases needing Iowa State Board of Education approval to $100,000. Makes changes to the election of presidents by school boards. Removes requirements that school boards report dues paid to the Iowa Association of School Boards to the Department of Education, but requires boards to submit other reports that do contain that information. Changes notice requirements for public hearings and loan agreements for equipment purchases as well as language dealing with the use of funds received from the disposition of school sites, school houses, and other property. Raises the limit of the value of property that may be sold or disposed of by a procedure adopted by the school board. Makes changes to early childhood reporting requirements. 

HSB148 English Proficiency Weighting - Divides students with limited English proficiency into intensive (not proficient) and intermediate categories. Increases the supplementary weighting for both categories (0.3 and 0.25). Applies to school budget years beginning on or after July 1, 2021. If approved, the legislation takes effect upon enactment. 

SSB1070 Safe and Sound Program - Establishes the Safe and Sound program in the Department of Public Safety for anonymous reports about potential school suicides, criminal acts, violence, threats, or incidents of self-harm or bullying. Includes provisions on developing a state hotline and internet site. Creates a fund for the program, a threat assessment team, and the program’s inclusion within the Department of Education’s curricula.  

SF117 School Resource Officer - Authorizes school districts to raise additional amounts of property tax or income surtax under the instructional support program for certain school resource officer expenses. 

SF156  Operational Sharing, Information Technology - Adds “information technology” to the functions eligible to generate supplementary weighting under operational function sharing. The bill sets the corresponding weighting of three pupils.

SF168 Nonpublic School Services - Modifies existing legislation by removing the language which permits local education agencies and area education agencies to decide where special education services and supports will be provided to students enrolled in accredited nonpublic schools. The bill would require special education services to be provided on the grounds of a nonpublic school if the nonpublic school grants permission and the parent consents.

The Education Bill Tracking webpage provides regular updates during the Iowa legislative session on bills related to education in Iowa. Information about new bills, including names, numbers, and sponsors are provided.

As the session continues to move forward, there are certain session milestones that bills need to clear to stay alive. These milestones are listed within the session timetable. I will keep you updated on bills as the session advances. Until next week, stay warm and have a great weekend.

Renee Jerman
Legislative Liaison
Iowa Department of Education
Grimes State Office Building
400 E 14th St
Des Moines, IA 50319-0146
Cell: 515-729-0859
Office: 515-281-3399