Legislative Update for 01/28/2022

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Legislative Update for 01/28/2022

Happy Friday, all! Also, happy national fun at work day (isn’t every day?!), kazoo day (no thank you…), blueberry pancake day (NOT banana, NOT chocolate chip, JUST blueberry), and daisy day (in January?!). My task for the weekend is to figure out who makes this stuff up.

We are at the end of the third week of session. Surprisingly that means we are only three weeks away from the first funnel (February 18), and in terms of legislative work days we are about 10 days out (I’m rounding, folks). The funnels (there are two) are designed to taper the number of bills under consideration in each chamber. Accordingly, by February 18 most bills will need to be out of committee in order to remain active this session. There are exceptions to this rule (e.g., certain bills are exempt from the funnels, content of bills that do not pass the funnel may end up in another bill through the amendment process, etc.), but we can expect to see the pace of work start to quicken over the next few weeks as Legislators try to move bills before the deadline. You can view a session timetable on the Iowa Legislature’s website - refer to the footnote at the bottom of the document that lists the bills that are “funnel-proof”.

We continue to monitor bills covering a range of topics, but there are several notable themes that have emerged. Notably, numerous bills have been introduced around the topic of teacher preparation, including:

  • House File 2081 (formerly HSB 520) – Removes all practitioner preparation program testing language, both program entry and program completion. Requires programs to notify graduates who previously did not pass the required testing of this change. Passed the Education committee unanimously.
  • HF2021 – Removes practitioner preparation program completion test language and increases pre-student teaching clinical hour requirements. Passed out of subcommittee but was tabled in the House education committee while amendments to the bill are considered.
  • HF2020 – Removes the current practitioner preparation program completion test requirement. Replaces it with the requirement for a practitioner program-developed test with cut scores determined by the Department of Education. Introduced and referred to Education. Subcommittee assigned.

There was also a noticeable increase in the number of curriculum-related bills introduced, with several focused on social studies and civics education:

  • HF2053 - Relates to social studies; civics; United States government and history; and related courses and the teaching of current affairs from diverse and disparate perspectives. Introduced and referred to Education. Subcommittee assigned.
  • HF2089 - Requires civics education be taught in kindergarten through grade 12. Introduced and referred to Education. Subcommittee assigned.
  • SF89 - Relates to cursive instruction in grades one through six. Voted out of subcommittee.
  • Senate File 2024 - Prohibits use of curriculum in kindergarten through grade six that relates to gender identity. Introduced and referred to Education. Subcommittee assigned.
  • SF2071 - Relates to health and human growth and development instruction in kindergarten through grade 12. Introduced and referred to Education. Subcommittee assigned.

There are a multitude of other bills we are monitoring related to special education, school finance, and school authority that we will update you on as we get closer to the first funnel. I’ll close as I always do, with a mention of the Department’s legislative tracker which is updated daily and available for viewing on our website. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.

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