Legislative Update for 02/04/2022

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Legislative Update for 02/04/2022

On Tuesday, we received the big news that the groundhog Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, which means six more weeks of the Iowa legislative session (did I get that right?? *checks notes*). It was also a B-I-G week at the Capitol where a multitude of bills were introduced and moved.

The Governor’s education bill, Senate Study Bill 3080, was introduced in the Senate this week. A subcommittee considered the bill at a well-attended meeting on Wednesday. There are six divisions to the bill, which are briefly describe below:

  • Division I: relates to transparency policies that must be adopted by a local school board. It also includes processes that allow for a parent or guardian to request reconsideration or removal of materials from a library operated by the school district.
  • Division II: establishes a student first scholarship program through which eligible students may receive financial support to enroll in a nonpublic school.
  • Division III: requires all school districts to implement a civics assessment as a component of the required graduation requirements.
  • Division IV: strikes the requirement that an area education agency director of special education approve placement of a child with disabilities in private instruction. Specifically provides that a child with disabilities may dual enroll in public schools for special education services.
  • Division V: allows siblings and stepsiblings of students who are subjected to “repeated acts of harassment” to file for open enrollment after the March 1 deadline
  • Division VI: modifies the licensure requirements for teacher librarians.

Both chambers introduced K12 funding bills this week. The House, in House Study Bill 658, proposed a 2.5 percent increase which aligns to what was outlined in the Governor’s fiscal year 2023 proposed budget, while the Senate, through SSB3090, proposed an increase of 2.25 percent. A Senate subcommittee on SSB3090 was held on Wednesday, and the full Senate education committee considered the bill on Thursday where it was approved, making it eligible for floor debate. A House subcommittee on HSB658 is scheduled for Tuesday, February 9.

There was also movement on Senate File 2202, formerly SSB 3067, related to teacher preparation and licensure. The bill includes numerous provisions, such as establishing in Code requirements for an alternative license and programming, requiring 15 hours of credit in pedagogy for a person with a bachelors degree, and removing the requirement of a job offer to earn a career and technical education authorization. The bilI was amended and approved by the full Senate education committee.

Others bills that we are monitoring that were voted out of committee this week:

  • SF168 - relates to special education services on nonpublic school premises. As amended, calls for the Department to convene a task force to examine the issue and make recommendations to the Legislature.
  • SSB3079 - introduces a parental bill of rights which codifies several policies and practices impacting local school district governing boards.
  • House File 2040 - states specifically that the COVID-19 immunization shall not be required of a person enrolled in licensed child care, elementary or secondary school, or postsecondary school in Iowa.
  • HF2109 - inclusion of Your Life Iowa (suicide prevention) telephone and text numbers on public school identification cards.
  • HF2052 - public school internet filtering

All this doesn’t even touch on the numerous bills that were introduced and/or considered in subcommittee this week. I encourage you to check the Department’s legislative tracker for the latest on the bills we are following. As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions or comments.

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