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Capitol Update - February 16, 2023

UEN Legislative Update
Feb. 16, 2023

Download the printable version of the 02/16/2023 UEN Legislative Update

This UEN Weekly Report from the 2023 Legislative Session includes:

  • SF 181 Valuation Correction to the Governor
  • SSB 1145 Governor’s Transparency and Parents’ Rights Bill introduced
  • PK Weighting Bill HF 297 Introduced
  • Subcommittee, Committee and Floor Action on Other Bills
  • Advocacy Action: Finding Balance in Transparency and Parents’ Rights Proposals
  • Links to Advocacy Resources
  • Members of Important Education Committees (New: Ways and Means Committees)


SF 181 Valuation Error Fix: the rollback was calculated incorrectly this fall. Actual Residential Rollback should have been 1.9% lower than what it was, which has the effect of overstating property values in the budget system. This means the tax rate displayed is lower than what it will be once fixed. The bill requires the appropriate state and county authorities to implement the correction. The bill extends the budget certification deadline to April 30 and allows for local governments to recertify if they previously certified their budget before these changes are implemented. The bill was approved by the House this week, sending it to the Governor. UEN is monitoring this bill.


SSB 1145 Governor’s Transparency and Parents’ Rights Bill: this bill by the Governor was introduced in the Senate Education Committee this week. It includes the following provisions:

  • Sec. 1 requires DE to keep a list of books that local school boards have removed from libraries or classrooms. (Sec. 15 of the bill requires districts to report to DE within 7 days if school board removed materials.) Once on the list, all districts must get written parent consent for student to check out the book.
  • Sec. 2 prohibits any program, curriculum, material, test, survey, questionnaire, activity, announcement, promotion or instruction of any kind related to gender identity or sexual activity in K-3. (Note: HF 8 in House Ed yesterday was amended to K-6.) Also removes HPV (and vaccination) and HIV/AIDS from list of content in grades 7-8 and from health curriculum in 9-12 and again for grades 4-12 and from human growth and development.
  • Sec. 3 adds the Immigration and Naturalization Services Citizenship test as the assessment for required ½ unit of US Government for both nonpublic and public schools. It allows modification for students with IEPs. Students are required to score at least 70% on the test to graduate. It allows a student to retake the test as many times as needed.
  • Sec. 4 , 9 and 11 also remove HPV (and vaccination) and HIV/AIDS from content requirements.
  • Secs. 5-8 require charter schools to comply with parent permission for exams & screenings for physical and mental health and K-3 prohibition against gender ID and sexual activity instruction.
  • Sec. 10 requires age-appropriate human growth and development content in grades 1-3, including self-esteem, stress management, interpersonal relationships and domestic abuse (but not gender identity or sexual activity content.
  • Sec. 12 requires parent written consent for mental, emotional or physical exam or survey not required by state or federal law. It also requires districts to give parents written notice of exam or survey required by state or federal law at least 7 days prior. Exempts hearing or vision exams.
  • Sec. 13 defines gender identity and sexual activity and prohibits any program, curriculum, material, test, survey, questionnaire, activity, accountment, promotion, or instruction of any kind relating to either in grades K-3.
  • Sec. 14 Transparency. Requires publication of each of the following on the district website: List of all materials used to teach in each class, sortable by subject area, grade level and teacher. List of all paid people in direct contact with students. List of all books, in classes and libraries. Explanation of policies to request reconsideration or classroom or library materials. Explanation of 279.8B petition to request a public hearing before the school board. Requires information to be updated at least 2X semester or at the start of each trimester. Does not require reproduction of education materials not created by a district employee or distribution of copyrighted materials.
  • Sec. 16 Definitions regarding obscenity: Gender ID, minor child under 18, obscene material, and sexually explicit material (and defines it as meeting any of three criteria, not all three which is in the current obscenity statute). Those three criteria are: 1) Taken as a whole w/respect to minor children, appeals to prurient interest in nudity, sex or excretion. 2) Depicts, describes or represents in a patently offensive way a sex act or lewd exhibition. 3) Taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value as to minor children if the material contains the above (1 or 2) and there is substantially similar other material available that doesn’t include the above. Defines visual depiction. This section requires districts to immediately notify a parent if an employee reasonably believes the child has expressed a gender identity other than what’s on their birth certificate. It excepts parent notification if the district fears child abuse, then requires an immediate report to DHS to assess in the Child in Need of Assistance (CINA) process. Allows a parent to access and review all records unless CINA is in progress. Requires prior written parent consent for a child to access any book on the DE list. Requires prior written parent consent for an employee to address a child with a nickname or pronoun not corresponding to biological sex on the birth certificate. Requires at least 48 hours’ notice before requiring a student to engage in activity or instruction provided by guest/outside presenter or that involves obscene material or sexually explicit material. Requires the district to excuse the child if parent requests. If DE investigates and district has violated any of the requirements in Sec. 16, the 1st violation: DE warning to school board. The 2nd violation: civil penalty up to $5,000. Revenue from the penalties is to be used to provide training to violating districts. The bill requires the State board to adopt rules to administer this section.
  • Sec. 17: Removes requirement that student with IEP have prior AEA special education director approval for dual enrollment services.
  • Sec. 18: Allows the parent of a homeschool special education child to request dual enrollment. Requires services in the IEP be determined by chapter 256B Special Education law.
  • Sec. 19: States the parent’s absolute right to make decisions regarding medical care, moral and religious upbringing, residence, education and extracurricular activities. Exempts medical attention in an emergent care situation. Does not prohibit a person from cooperating with a child abuse assessment. These stated parents’ rights are not a comprehensive list and shall not be construed to limit parents’ rights.
  • Sec. 20: States that 25B.2, state unfunded mandates law, doesn’t apply. (That law requires that if the state imposes an unfunded mandate on a local government, the local government is relieved from compliance.)

The bill is assigned to the Senate Education Committee with a subcommittee of Sens. Rozenboom, Celsi, Evans, Quirmbach, and Sinclair. The House version is not yet introduced. HF 5, currently in the House Education Committee deals with Transparency and Library Books. HF 8 approved by House Education and SF 159 address Gender Identity and Obscene Content. UEN is registered opposed to SSB 1145.


PK Weighting Bill HF 297 Introduced: this bill maintains the 0.5 weighting for students in preschool from families with incomes above 200% of the federal poverty level and counts students from families below that income level as 1.0 students for purposes of preschool funding. UEN is registered in support. The bill is assigned to the House Education Committee. This bill is a legislative priority for UEN.


Floor Action this Week

HF 206 Above-Ground Structures: the bill deems above-ground storage tanks that can be removed to not be real property for property tax purposes. The House passed the bill 92-6; it now goes to the Senate. The fiscal note for the bill said that if the bill results in an exemption for all above-ground storage tanks regardless of size, the state General Fund appropriation for “school aid is projected to increase $1.6 million and annual local government property tax revenue is projected to decrease $8.6 million.” UEN is registered as undecided.


SF 157 Driving Tests: allows persons who are qualified to give behind-the-wheel driving instruction but who are not licensed teachers to administer a final field driving test. The Senate approved the bill 49-0 . The House passed it 96-3, sending it to the Governor. UEN is monitoring.


Committee Action This Week

House Economic Growth & Technology Committee:

HF 153 School Building Demolition Fund: establishes a fund for the demolition of vacant school buildings in the Economic Development Authority (EDA) and appropriates money from the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund. Requires that applications from small towns be prioritized. Requires proceeds from the sale of the property after demolition, except for certain costs, be returned to the fund but does not require that the property be sold. Allows the EDA to use 5% of the fund for administration and to report annually. Amended and Passed 21-0. Moves to the House Calendar. UEN is undecided.


House Education Committee:

HF 8 Gender Instruction Prohibitions: Prohibits schools and charter schools from including any instruction on gender identity or sexual orientation in K-3 education. Amended the grade level to apply to K-6 education. Approved 15-8. Moves to the House Calendar. UEN is opposed.


HF 123 Information Technology Specialist: Makes information technology specialist a position that can be shared using operational sharing, with a weighting of 3 students (which is rolled back in another code section to 2 students). Passed 23-0. UEN is undecided.


HF 224 Teacher Criminal Records Checks: requires the BOEE to perform criminal background checks every five years for practitioners who are not subject to other license renewal requirements. Eliminates the CEU requirement for educators with more than 10 years of experience and a master’s degree or higher, unless they are an evaluator. Applies various provisions requiring schools to do criminal background checks on teachers and to charge teachers for those checks. Also applies to private schools and charter schools. Passed 23:0. UEN supports.


HF 315 School Bus Driver Training: requires the DE to use entry-level driving training as proof the applicant has completed instruction as a school bus driver as long as the course includes passenger endorsement training and school bus endorsement training. The bill was approved by the House Education Committee and moves to the House Calendar. UEN supports.


HF 323 Paying Student Teachers: authorizes school boards to pay student teachers at an amount equal to the lowest salary the district pays teachers. Does not include an appropriation. The bill was approved by the House Education Committee and moves to the House Calendar. UEN is registered as undecided.


HF 327 Governor’s Chapter 12 Flexibility: See the Feb. 8 UEN weekly report for the bill summary. UEN supports this bill, now on the House Calendar. Formerly HSB 119.


HSB 118 IASB Technical Corrections and Modernization Bill: Notice: Allows notice of bond sales to be published electronically instead of in newspapers and sets requirements. Allows for the notice of the intent to fill a school board vacancy by appointment to be published electronically instead of in a newspaper. Authorizes the use of electronic signatures in specific cases. Strikes out-of-date teacher librarian requirements. Allows schools to charge employees for the cost of registry checks. School Health: Strikes requirements for Regent schools, community colleges and schools to evaluate and implement environmentally friendly cleaning procedures. Strikes the goal that schools have a nurse for every 700 students and authorizes schools to have school nurses. Strikes requirements for PK and kindergarten students be given a vision card. Requires the DE to convene a health group. Infrastructure: Strikes requirements no longer required for bonding again SILO revenue purpose statements. Requires a re-organizing school without a revenue purpose statement to first use funds to pay off outstanding bonds. Bonds: Exempts refinancing bonds from certain notice/hearing requirements. Allows schools to issue bonds without election and to use SAVE funds to secure repayment. 28E: Allows schools to enter into 28E agreements. Conference Boards: ensures that school boards have adequate representation on the county conference board by allowing any elected school board member to participate in the conference board as is the case with representatives of counties. Children facilities: Requires residential treatment facilities to give to the district of residence for the child documentation to obtain Medicaid reimbursements. AEA: Allows notice of a hearing for the AEA budget to be published electronically rather than in a newspaper. Elections: Gives an election commissioner in the controlling county the authority to hold a special election on the same day as another election. Approved 23:0. Moves to the House Calendar and will be assigned a new bill number. UEN supports this bill.


House State Government Committee

HSB 144 Public Records Requests: requires the custodian of a public record, in response to a request, to promptly give contact information, a date for the release and an estimate of reasonable costs. Approved 23:0. Moves to the House Calendar and will be assigned a new bill number. UEN is undecided.


HF 333 Open Records/Public Meeting Complaints: increases the time for complaints about violations of open records/public meetings from 60 to 90 days. Approved 23:0. Moves to the House Calendar and will be assigned a new bill number. UEN is undecided.


Senate Workforce Committee

SSB 1086 Apprenticeships: establishes an Office of Apprenticeship and an Iowa Apprenticeship Council in the Department of Workforce Development (DWD). Gives the Office various duties related to the registration of apprenticeships. Establishes the members of the Council, including the DWD director as an ex officio member. Requires licensing authorities to grant licenses to persons who have successfully completed apprenticeship programs. Prohibits exams for apprentices that are different than the exam for other applicants. Divides training and administration responsibilities between sponsors of apprenticeship programs and employers. Approved 12:0. Moves to the Senate Calendar. UEN is undecided.



Subcommittee Action This Week

Senate Education Subcommittee met on SF 177 Seizure Action Plans. UEN is opposed since this bill requires training of all employees. The subcommittee moved the bill forward to the Senate Education Committee.


A Subcommittee met on SSB 1076 Governor’s Chapter 12 Flexibility: See last week’s analysis of HSB 119 which is identical. The subcommittee moved the bill forward, 2:0, with amendments expected. UEN is registered in support.


A Subcommittee met on SSB 1024 Property Taxes. UEN is opposed to Division III, which phases out the public education and recreation levy (PERL). 29 districts currently use this small 13.5 cent levy for public education, recreation and community education programs. UEN is opposed. The subcommittee voted to move the bill forward to the full Ways and Means Committee 3:2.


Bills introduced

HF 285 Autism Absences: requires public schools to have policies excusing the absences of a student for treatments related to autism and autism spectrum disorders. UEN would prefer these decisions be made locally and as required by an IEP. The bill is assigned to the House Education Committee. UEN is opposed to this bill.


HF 292 Home School Tax Credits: establishes an individual and corporate income tax credit for up to 65% of the contributions made to a private instruction non-profit. Requires that 90% of the contribution be used for grants to students in households with an income under 400% of the FPL. Requires the grants be made to students living in Iowa, and that the type or location of the instruction not be limited. Includes a formula for determining the amount of credits. Caps the aggregate credit at $10 million in the first year, and $20 million in later years. Requires the non-profit organization to report to the DOR annually. UEN is opposed to this bill, now assigned to the House Education Committee.


HSB 169 Operational Sharing: strikes the future reduction in weighting for operational sharing and reinstates prior weightings until the program ends (now in 2035 per HF 68). The bill is assigned to the House Education Committee. UEN is undecided.


SF 302 Chronic Absenteeism Open Enrollment: allows a receiving school, following notification to a parent, to revoke an open enrollment for chronic absenteeism. Defines chronic absenteeism as missing 10% of the school days in two consecutive grading periods. The bill is assigned to the Senate Education Committee. UEN supports.


SF 305 Obscene Materials in Schools: prohibits a teacher or administrator from knowingly giving a student obscene material on school property or assigning such material. Requires schools to have at least one administrator to ensure that obscene material is kept out of the library or other areas. Requires the BOEE to revoke licenses or deny applicants for violations. Authorizes civil actions by parents and allows prevailing parents to collect actual damages and a civil penalty of $20,000. Includes other related enforcement provisions. This bill is assigned to the Senate Education Committee. UEN is opposed.


SSB 1160 Cybersecurity Center: establishes a cybersecurity simulation training center at ISU to help governments and business deal with cyber-attacks. Appropriates $2.5 million for the center. Assigned to the Senate Technology Committee. Also see HF 139. UEN supports.


Advocacy Actions This Week

  • Always start with a thank you! See the UEN 2022 Legislative Session Successes and find one you are grateful for them accomplishing. Thank legislators and the Governor for setting SSA at within the 30-day requirement and at 3%, which is the second highest in 14 years. Encourage a continued look into additional flexibility to pay teachers, preserve and expand programs for students, and rework chapter 12 educational standards requirements to be efficient, effective and up-to-date.
  • Advocate with your Reps and Sens about finding a balance in transparency and parents’ rights. Key messages:
    • Schools want to (and need to) involve parents
    • Changes in processes will require investment, such as software, staff time to upload information, training for staff, instructions (and support) for parents.
    • Prospective parent permission is costly and may leave some students out. Requiring notice and then allowing parents to request an alternative if they want their child to experience something differently is implementable.
    • Respect local control. Locally elected school boards are responsive to parents and voters in their community. Concerns from a few parents shouldn’t infringe on rights of others.
    • Civil penalties and court proceedings are punitive. Educators and school leaders want to do what is right. Allow time for training and accreditation oversight to correct missteps if necessary.
  • Share concerns with Senators on the Ways and Means Committee regarding proposed limits on administrative costs (Oppose SF 251). Although a discussion about how to better invest resources in classrooms and minimize administrative burdens is welcome, the definitions in this proposal are not well thought out and will likely have severe consequences. Many administrative positions and expenses are directly related to mandates by state and federal government in addition to best practice oversight and support of improved teaching and learning. Also request the Ways and Means Committee senators to oppose Div. III of SSB 1124 Elimination of the PERL. See Ways and Means Committee members below.
  • Encourage good discussions on Flexibility: There are so many in the works; teacher recruitment and licensure flexibility, chapter 12 flexibility and efficiency, bond language clean-up. See above for the many proposals that UEN supports.


Connecting with Legislators: To call and leave a message at the Statehouse during the legislative session, the House switchboard operator number is 515.281.3221 and the Senate switchboard operator number is 515.281.3371. You can ask if they are available or leave a message for them to call you back. You can also ask them what’s the best way to contact them during session. They may prefer email or text message or phone call based on their personal preferences.

Find biographical information about legislators gleaned from their election websites on the ISFIS site here: Learn about your new representatives and senators or find out something you don’t know about incumbents.

Find out who your legislators are through the interactive map or address search posted on the Legislative Website here:


UEN Advocacy Resources: Check out the UEN Website at to find Advocacy Resources such as Issue Briefs, UEN Weekly Legislative Reports and video updates, UEN Calls to Action when immediate advocacy action is required, testimony presented to the State Board of Education, the DE or any legislative committee or public hearing, and links to fiscal information that may inform your work. The latest legislative actions from the Statehouse will be posted at: See the new 2023 UEN Advocacy Handbook, which is also available from the subscriber section of the UEN website.


Committee Members
House Education Committee Members
House Education Reform Members
Senate Education Committee Members

Senate Ways and Means Committee Members

House Ways and Means Committee Members


Contact us with any questions, feedback or suggestions to better prepare your advocacy work:

Margaret Buckton
UEN Executive Director/Legislative Analyst
515.201.3755 Cell


Thanks to our UEN Corporate Sponsors

Special thank you to your UEN Corporate Sponsors for their support of UEN programs and services. Find information about how these organizations may help your district on the Corporate Sponsor page of the UEN website at