Legislative Update for 02/11/2022

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Legislative Update for 02/11/2022

Capitol rotunda

Some of you are likely aware of a typical weekly session schedule - both chambers gavel in sometime late morning or early afternoon on Monday and work full-days (if not longer) through Thursday. Most everyone heads back home Thursday night and, come Friday, the Capitol is largely empty. I found myself there last Friday and, without the crowds and shuffling between meetings, was able to slow down and take a moment to appreciate the beauty and grandeur of our Statehouse here in Iowa.

Then, back to work at the Grimes building… This weekly legislative update will be somewhat shorter than usual, but I promise to make up for the brevity in next week’s edition when we will review the landscape after the first funnel (which is set for February 18).

The full House took up two bills related to K12 funding. House File 2316 establishes the state percent of growth and categorical state percent of growth at 2.5 percent for fiscal year 2023. The bill also increases the regular program state cost per pupil by five dollars and provides funding for transportation equity payments. The bill, as amended, passed with 57 voting in favor, 39 opposed. The House simultaneously considered HF2315, a school district funding supplement which would appropriate an additional $19.2 million for use by school districts in FY23. It passed the House by a vote of 94 to 1.

We also saw the Senate take up, among other bills, Senate File 2197. The bill was amended in committee and calls for the Department to convene a task force to make recommendations regarding the provision of special education services to students enrolled in nonpublic schools. It was voted out of the Senate unanimously.

The House education committee met on Tuesday, February 8 and considered one bill - the K12 funding bill noted above (HF2316). The committee was scheduled to meet again on Thursday, February 10 but this meeting was canceled. Work will resume on Monday, February 14 when the House committee is set to consider nine bills. The Senate education committee was scheduled to meet on Wednesday, February 9, but this meeting was also canceled. The committee is scheduled to next meet on Thursday, February 17. As this is currently the only meeting scheduled for next week and one day prior to the first funnel, one can imagine that the agenda will be very full.

Though action at the committee level was somewhat limited, plenty of work happened within subcommittees. Some of the bills we monitored in subcommittee include:

  • House Study Bill 611 (Department’s code corrections bill) - modifies terminology in reference to English learners and accrediting bodies for institutions of higher education.
  • Senate Study Bill 3104 - includes several divisions, several of which pertain to local school board functions and bond sales; calls for establishing a task force to review healthcare-related trainings for school personnel; adds a new requirement for seizure training.
  • SSB3103 - pertains to the granting of supplemental aid and modified supplemental amount by the school budget review committee related to open enrollment.
  • HF2139 - modifies open enrollment provisions related to athletic eligibility.
  • HF2264 - relates to radon testing in school buildings.
  • SF2112 - directs the Department to convene a task force related to student achievement gaps.

As mentioned, next week we’ll take a closer look at the bills that survived the first funnel (if you don’t hear from me it might mean that I did not survive the first funnel…). Don’t forget about the legislative resources we maintain on the Department’s website, including a comprehensive list of bills that we are monitoring this session that is updated each weekday.

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