Legislative Update for 04/01/2022

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Legislative Update for 04/01/2022

Both chambers worked well into the night, finalizing work on several pieces of legislation and adjourned Sine Die, marking one of the shortest legislative sessions on record.

April fools…

Seriously, (as far as I know) Legislators will be returning next week - but we do see signs that they are on the final stretch leading to adjournment. Both chambers made progress on several significant pieces of legislation, which are described below. 

In the House, HF2580 was voted out of the House appropriations committee. The bill voted out of committee is substantially different from the original bill (HSB727) and addresses numerous topics related to education funding, area education agency funding supplements, professional development reporting, and review of practitioner preparation programs during the 2022 and 2023 legislative interim.

On the House floor, HF2577 related to education transparency and civics instruction was passed by a vote of 60-36 and goes to the Senate. The House adopted two amendments to the bill on the floor:

  • Clarification that instructional materials do not include lesson plans.
  • Specifies that a change in materials must be posted by the end of the school week in accordance with the requirements of the act. Exempts a teacher of record providing special education instruction from the requirements of the new section 279.76.

The House also took up HF2575 education appropriations, which includes funding for numerous education agencies and programs. The bill, as amended, passed out of the House by a vote of 58-35 and goes to the Senate. Amendments that were adopted on the floor make the following adjustments:

  • Modifies provisions related to line-items under the purview of the Iowa College Student Aid Commission and the new Iowa Workforce grant program established in the Act.
  • Adds non-reversion language to at-risk funding.
  • Establishes a cybersecurity simulation training center at Iowa State University.
  • Establishes limitations on a severance package for a superintendent.
  • Allows schools to use the current end-of-year balance to pay for staff bonuses. Modifies tax provisions related to bonuses received by staff.
  • Eliminates numerous Code sections identified by the Government Oversight committee for repeal.
  • Establishes a taskforce to review health-related student financial aid programs.
  • Calls for the Board of Regents to assess the higher education needs in northwest Iowa.

In the Senate, SF2377 modifies aspects of the Teach Iowa Scholar program, licenses issued by the Board of Educational Examiners, and the management levy to allow for a school district to establish a teacher recruitment incentive program. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 49-0 and goes to the House. The chamber also considered HF2412 establishing radon testing and mitigation requirements on school districts.The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 47-0 and goes to the Governor for signature. 

On Wednesday, the Senate took up SF2369, the Governor’s education bill. A strike-and-replace amendment was introduced and adopted on the floor. As amended, the bill passed the Senate by a vote of 31-18 and goes to the House. Below is a summary of the bill, including brief descriptions of substantive differences from the original bill. 

  • Division I establishes a parental bill of rights, incorporating elements of the transparency provisions introduced in the original bill. 
  • Division II establishes the Student First Scholarship program. 
    • Adds language authorizing the sharing of a school resource officer under Iowa Code section 257.11 - shared operational functions. Extends the shared operational function provisions in general through July 1, 2034 and the reduced weightings for certain shared functions through July 1, 2034. Increases the maximum amount of additional weighting from 21 to 24 additional pupils if approved under the new Iowa Code section 257.16E. The repeal date for the subsection is extended to 2035. 
    • Establishes Iowa Code section 257.16E - Student First Operational Sharing fund. Based on the calculation established in the bill, funds will be deposited into the sharing fund and used to increase the maximum amount of additional weighting established in section 257.11 from 21 to 24 additional pupils. 
  • Division III modifies provisions related to social studies instruction.
  • Division IV relates to special education services for students receiving private instruction.
  • 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 incorporates HF2081, as amended, related to end-of-program assessment in teacher preparation programs and other matters related to practitioner preparation and licensure.
    • Division VI of the original bill made changes to teacher librarian licensure and credentialing. These provisions are not included in the amended bill. 
  • Division VII incorporates HF2567, as amended, related to the reporting and investigation of misconduct by licensed practitioners. 
  • Division VIII relates to licensure renewal requirements for practitioners holding a master educator teaching license. 

April 19th marks the 100th day of session (the target date for the end of the session). That is less than three weeks away, folks, and don’t forget Easter falls in there too. We’ll continue to monitor the progress on these and other bills next week, and see what sort of progress they make toward hitting that mark to wrap things up.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions. 

Eric St Clair
Legislative Liaison
Iowa Department of Education
Grimes State Office Building
400 E 14th St
Des Moines, IA 50319-0146
Cell: 515-326-0274