Capitol Update - January 23, 2020
Download the full report with charts HERE.
In this Jan. 23, 2020 UEN Report of the 2020 Legislative Session, find information about:
- Details about Gov. Reynolds 2.5% recommendation for SSA
- UEN Talking Points for 3.75%
- Bill Action
- New Bills Introduced
- BOEE Proposed Rules on Credit Hours Required for Licensure: Public Hearing
- Finding Biographical and Contact Information for your Legislators
- Links to members of Key Legislative Committees
- Advocacy Resources
Contact us with any questions, feedback or suggestions to better prepare your advocacy work:
Margaret Buckton, UEN Legislative Analyst, firstname.lastname@example.org 515.201.3755 Cell
Gov. Reynolds 2.5% Recommendation on SSA. The 30-day deadline for enacting the SSA rate is February 14. Reach out to legislators now through the end of next week.
State School Aid Impact of the Governor’s Recommendation: State Supplemental Assistance (state cost per pupil formerly known as allowable growth) is an increase of $95.7 million in FY 2021, which is the second largest line-item increase in her proposal, only outnumbered by Medicaid.
The LSA notes that the this intended to provide a per pupil growth rate of 2.5%, which is $172 per pupil; sets the state cost per pupil at $7,052; continues the $15.0 million reduction to the AEAs, increases the Property Tax Replacement Payment (PTRP) funding per student from $110 to $131. The amount further reflects an increase of $1.0 million for the addition of work-based learning coordinators to the positions covered by operational sharing (no legislation is introduced yet, but this will not help schools expand work-based learning capacity if they are already at the maximum 21 pupils in the operational sharing program.) The Governor’s 2.5% increase would be the second highest in 11 years, if approved by the Legislature. Last year, the legislature ended up two-tenths below the Governor’s recommendation (Reynolds recommendation 2.3% and the Legislature passed 2.06%), but they appropriated more in transportation equity and district cost per pupil equity, than the Governor’s original FY 2020 budget plan.
UEN would request they do both: 3.75% increase in SSA, fully fund the transportation equity payments, and accelerate closing the $165 gap in the district cost per pupil.
Check out the FY 2020 ISFIS New Authority Report and compare the Governor’s recommended 2.5% with the 3.75% UEN request. What additional resources would be available to your district? How would your district put those dollars to work for students?
Find contact information at the end of this weekly report and use the following talking points to help you advocate:
Adequate Funding Talking Points:
UEN’s priority for adequate funding calls for 3.75% increase in SSA for FY 2021.
Iowa’s school statewide spend 62.6% of their General Funds on salaries, 19.6% on employee benefits and the remaining 18% on everything else (utilities, training, textbooks, bus fuel, educational software, assessments, etc.)
UEN Bill Registrations
Two lists follow: Bill Action and New Bills. If UEN Legislative Priorities address our registration, you’ll see a registration already declared as in support, undecided or opposed. For those issues not addressed in our legislative platform (such as SF 2009 School License Driving), we encourage your feedback on what our registration should be, but in the meantime, will indicate an undecided registration. Actually, we encourage your feedback and questions on any of these bills. In the first weeks of session, there is a flurry of new bills. We no doubt missed some, but will add those in next week’s report.
SJR 22 Income Tax Supermajority by Ways and Means: this resolution calls for an amendment to the Iowa Constitution to require a 2/3rds majority vote in both chambers for the legislature to increase income taxes. UEN would prefer a 2/3rds majority to lower income taxes, since adequate state revenue is required for sufficient funding, even the survival of public schools. UEN is opposed to this resolution. A subcommittee was held on Jan. 23. The resolution is in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
SSB 3052 Vaping Restrictions by the Department of Health: this bill adds vaping to the Iowa Smoke-Free Air Act, which would treat restrictions on vaping in public the same as tobacco/smoking. The bill was approved by the Subcommittee and is in the Human Resources Committee. UEN is registered in support.
SSB 3053 Proof of Guardianship by Education: this bill requires anyone who is a guardian that isn't a parent of the student to provide documentation within 10 days of enrollment. Although this bill is intended to protect children, we have learned a lot this week about unintended consequences. Immigrant children in the USA who are attending school cannot be deported. Some employers have high school students in the country working long hours and on Saturdays, but keep them in schools so they do not get deported. If the guardianship isn’t provided, there are concerns that students would be pulled from school by their employer or anchor families to stay under the radar, or would be deported. At least while in school, there is an opportunity to schools to connect these students to needed supports. This is such a complicated issue we have decided to register as undecided. The bill is in the Senate Education Committee.
SF 116 Firearms on School Grounds by Judiciary: this bill, introduced in the 2019 session, has been assigned a new subcommittee. The bill would allow an individual with a permit to carry a firearm to have the firearm in their possession if the person is on the grounds of the school for the purpose of transporting another person to or from school or delivering an item to or from the school, and if the person remains in a parking area or driveway designed for a motor vehicle. A subcommittee was held on Jan. 23. The bill is in the Senate Judiciary Committee. UEN is opposed to this bill.
SF 639 Political Subdivision Lobbying by Government Oversight: this bill, introduced in the 2019 session, has been assigned a new subcommittee. The bill would require entities representing political subdivisions, including UEN, IASB, UEN, AEAS of Iowa and others, to report on the association’s website, details about bill registrations and positions (bills and amendments), money spent on a lobbying contract, or total salary of an employee and any hours spent on lobbying, among other things. Although transparency with association members is important, UEN opposed singling out only those lobbying for political subdivisions. Most of this information is already publicly available (bills paid by school districts, open records requests, lobbyists registrations on the legislative website and lobbying expenses are already reported and public. UEN is opposed to this bill. This bill is in the Senate Government Oversight Committee.
SF 2004 On-Line Learning by Dawson: this bill would resuscitate the Iowa Learning Online Initiative, create an annual standing limited appropriation of $500,000 to continue the Initiative and require the Initiative to offer course in Chinese. A subcommittee met on Jan. 22. It is in the Senate Education Committee. UEN is registered as undecided.
SF 2009 School License Driving by R. Smith: This bill would change the criteria for a student with a minor drivers’ license for extracurricular activities, instead of being restricted to activities within the district of enrollment or a district contiguous to that, the requirement would be no more than 50 miles from point of origin to the activity. The bill was approved by the Senate Transportation Committee and moves to the Senate Calendar. UEN is currently registered as undecided.
SF 2081 Suicide Prevention Hotline on Student ID Cards by Education: This bill requires grades 7-12 students to include the phone and text numbers for Your Life Iowa Crisis prevention hotline (although districts would not be prohibited from applying this to other student IDs.) Schools may use up existing stock on hand and are not required to reprint any ID cards. The bill was approved by the Senate Education Committee and moves to the Senate Calendar. This bill was formerly SSB 3020. UEN supports this bill.
SF 2082 DE Technical Corrections/Code Clean Up/Eliminate Redundancies by Education: this bill includes non-controversial corrections and cleans up several Code references. The bill updates language on school district agency funds to name them custodial funds, updates provisions on special education related to open-enrollment and to shared-time provisions, and updates language on electronic access offered by the State Library. This bill was approved by the Senate Education Committee and moves to the Senate Calendar. Formerly SSB 2018. UEN supports it.
HSB 504 Open Meetings Subjects by House State Government: Open meetings law currently requires that school boards are subject to open meetings when they deliberate on policy. This bill specifically adds deliberations on “budgeting” to the open meetings law. A subcommittee met on Jan. 23 to consider. UEN is registered as undecided. The bill is currently in the House State Government Committee.
HSB 505 Meeting Notice by House State Government: This bill requires school boards to notify, in addition to media, any person who requests notice of upcoming meetings and requires the 24-hour notice requirement exclude legal holidays and weekends. UEN is registered as undecided. The bill is currently in the House State Government Committee.
HSB 506 Open Meetings Bodies by House State Government: this bill extends open meetings requirements to superintendents' committees, task forces, etc., when the school board has delegated to the superintendent to make recommendations to the school board. UEN finds this to be problematic. Here are some reasons why implementation for the school district would be very challenging, explaining why UEN is registered in opposition.
UEN is opposed. The bill is in the House State Government Committee.
HF 119 School Property Tax Levy by Bossman: this bill sets a new calculation for PTER fund distributions, which would require more of the deposits into the PTER fund be used for the districts with lower property value per pupil to lower school additional levies. UEN is undecided. This bill was introduced last session and is still in the House Ways and Means Committee.
HF 438 Repeal of State Inheritance Tax by Moore: this bill, introduced in the 2019 session, has been assigned a new subcommittee. The bill repeals the state inheritance tax and the qualified use inheritance tax effective July 1, 2019, for any death after July 1, 2019. UEN registered opposed to the bill last year and remains committed to that position, since adequate state revenue is required for sufficient funding, even the survival of public schools. HF 751 Inheritance Tax Cut reduces inheritance tax rates by half. Same status as HF 438. UEN is opposed. These bills are in the House Ways and Means Committee.
HF 498 Income Tax Repeal by Wheeler: this bill, introduced in the 2019 session, has been assigned a new subcommittee. This bill repeals the individual and corporate income tax and raises the state sales tax to 11%. The bill also adjusts the SAVE as a percentage of total state sales tax collected rather than one penny. Although there is not a fiscal note yet showing impact, UEN is concerned that the intent of this bill is to lower the size of the state general fund, which negatively impacts schools. UEN is registered opposed to this bill. This bill is in the House Ways and Means Committee.
SSB 3067 School Health Screenings by Sinclair: this bill prohibits schools from conducting health screenings of students that are not required under state or federal law unless the school has the written permission of the parent. The bill is in the Senate Education Committee. UEN has not yet registered on this bill. Let us know how you feel about it.
SF 2034 Bus Hubs and Transportation by R. Taylor: This bill requires school district to establish a bus hub for school transportation for each attendance center, create an application process for parents to apply, and prohibits the district from charging for transportation for students otherwise not entitled to transportation from the hub to the school and from the school to the hub. The bill requires the district to approve the application unless there is insufficient capacity on the bus or the district would have to add another bus route. This bill is in the Senate Education Committee. UEN is registered as undecided.
SF 2041 Show Choir by Mathis: this bills allows an exemption from the PE requirements for participants in show choir. The bill is in the Senate Education Committee. UEN is registered as undecided.
SF 2042 Instructional Support Grant Program by Mathis: this bill caps the state appropriation for the Instructional Support Levy at $10.5 million for FY 2021 and subsequent years. The bill creates a $4.5 million competitive grant program for instructional support grants. The grants are capped at $200,000 per school. The bill is in the Senate Education Committee. UEN is undecided on this bill.
SF 2044 Nonpublic Sports Weighting by Sinclair: this bill requests that the high school athletic associations study whether nonpublic schools ought to receive an additional weighting besides enrollment in determining their competitive participation class. The bill requires the associations to provide recommendations on how such weighting could be calculated to promote the most equitable outcomes achievable for nonpublic and public schools participating in high school athletics in Iowa. The bill requires a report submitted to the Legislature and the Governor by Jan. 1, 2021. The bill is in the Senate Education Committee. UEN has not yet registered on this bill. Let us know how you feel about it.
SF 2052 Water Safety Teaching by Whiting: this bill provides that under the state educational standards, instruction for the water safety component of a PE course may be provided by a swim instructor certified by the YMCA or YWCA, the American red cross, or another nationwide organization that provides swim instructor certification in lieu of instruction by a licensed physical education teacher. The bill is in the Senate Education Committee. UEN is registered as undecided.
SF 2056 Seizure Disorders by Cournoyer: this bill requires schools to have an individual health plan, including a seizure action plan, if the school has a student with a seizure disorder/epilepsy. The bill requires schools to have at least one employee trained to treat seizures, including administering medications or other treatments. Includes other training requirements and requirements for parents to work with schools on individual health plans. The bill includes good faith liability protections. UEN is concerned about an unfunded mandate but sympathetic to the needs of these students, so is registered as undecided on the bill. The bill is in the Senate Education Committee.
SF 2057 Appealing Grades by Kraayenbrink: this bill would require schools, including community colleges and universities, to have a process for a student to appeal a grade because the teacher had a political bias that affected the student’s grade. The bill is in the Senate Education Committee. UEN is registered in opposition.
SF 2065 School Resources Officers by Sinclair: this bill allows school districts to use funding from the Instructional Support Program for school resource officers beginning with the 2020-21 school year and allows districts to exceed their maximum authority for instructional support if the excess funding is spent on SROs. UEN is registered in support of the bill; this bill strikes a nice balance, with local funds (property tax or property and income surtax) subject to board approval by resolution which includes a reverse referendum process if the public challenges the board decision. The bill is in the Senate Education Committee.
SF 2066 Concussion Care Providers by Zaun: this bill includes occupational therapists as health care providers for treating concussions at high school athletic contests. UEN is registered as undecided. The bill is in the Senate Education Committee.
SF 2067 School Mental Health Days by Mathis: this bill requires schools to have absence policies that allow a student to be excused for mental health needs. Restricts the policy to not more than three such absences per school year and does not allow requiring documentation. Requires the policies to include a protocol for referring students taking such absences to appropriate school counselor, nurse, or other appropriate personnel, services of resources available in the community. This bill is in the Senate Education Committee. UEN has not yet registered on this bill. Let us know how you feel about it.
SF 2068 PK SAVE Funding by Mathis: this bill allows schools to use SAVE funds for the first three years of costs related to starting a PK program. The bill requires the school to have a percentage of ELL students or low income students (% of students eligible for free and reduced price lunch) to exceed the state averages, or requires that more than 15% of 3rd graders are not proficient in reading. The bill allows the school board by resolution to include PK expansion on the district’s revenue purpose statement. The bill includes limits on the amounts that can be used. UEN is registered in support. The bill is in the Senate Education Committee.
HSB 557 Smoking/Vaping Age by State Government: this bill raises the age for tobacco and vapor products to 21. This bill is in the House State Government Committee. UEN is registered as undecided.
HF 2048 PK Eligibility by Brink: this bill allows children who turn five years old between March 15 and September 15 eligible for the statewide voluntary PK program, first applicable to the 2021-22 school year. The bill is in the House Education Committee. UEN is undecided on the bill but has concerns. We would prefer new resources for PK provide access for four-year-olds not currently in the system and particularly target low-income or non-English Speaking four-year-olds.
HF 2049 School Mental Health by Kressig: this bill requires the State Board of Education to adopt rules requiring schools to adopt protocols using the best practices to promote mental health for school children. The bill requires training for licensed and other certified employee who have regular contact with children and requires schools to print a national suicide prevention number on grade 6-12 ID cards. The bill is effective on enactment and allows for emergency rules. UEN is registered opposed to this bill, now in the House Education Committee.
HF 2050 PPEL by Salmon: this bill strikes the board approved PPEL of 33 cents and raises the voter-approved PPEL to $1.67 to replace it. The bill is in the House Education Committee. UEN is opposed.
HF 2060 School Bond Elections by Salmon: this bill limits the election time for school bond elections to the regular school election date. The bill is in the House State Government Committee. UEN is opposed.
HF 2072 Social Studies Standards by Salmon: this bill prohibits the state Board of Education and the DE from adopting or requiring statewide K-12 core content social studies standards. UEN is opposed to this bill. The bill is in the House Education Committee.
HF 2088 Professional Development Spending by Jones: this bill prohibits school PD money from being spent for activities at an amusement park. The bill requires the BOEE to adopt rules to prohibit professional development activities at an amusement park from being used for license renewals but makes an exception for conference rooms on amusements park property. The bill is in the House State Government Committee. UEN is undecided.
HF 2090 Seizure Disorders by A. Meyer: this bill requires schools to have an individual health plan, including a seizure action plan, if the school has a student with a seizure disorder/epilepsy. The bill requires schools to have at least one employee trained to treat seizures, including administering medications or other treatments. Includes other training requirements and requirements for parents to work with schools on individual health plans. The bill includes good faith liability protections. UEN is concerned about an unfunded mandate but sympathetic to the needs of these students, so is registered as undecided on the bill. The bill is in the House Education Committee.
HF 2091 Property Tax Relief Funds by Isenhart: this bill allows the use of PTER funds from school sales tax to be used for mental health and behavioral services at schools. The bill allows a school board to pass a resolution annually to dedicate up to 50% of the PTER fund distribution that would otherwise lower the district’s additional levy for mental health and behavioral services for students. UEN supports this bill. The bill is in the House Education Committee.
HF 2094 Psychology Compact by Mitchell: this bill enacts the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact, which allows psychologists in other states to practice in person or through telehealth procedures in Iowa and allows Iowa psychologists to do the same. The compact is effective once seven states enact it. The bill is in the House Humans Resources Committee. UEN is registered in support.
HF 2116 School Lunch Funding by Isenhart: this bill establishes the Reduced Fee Student Lunch Fund in the DE and appropriates up to $1.5 million for the fund. Directs the DE to use the fund to make payments to schools to further reduce the costs of K-5 students who qualify for a reduced lunch price. Authorizes remaining money to be used to reduce the cost of lunches for grades 6-12. The bill is assigned to the House Education Committee. UEN is registered as undecided.
To find Advocacy Resources such as Position Papers, 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, visit the UEN legislative web page here: http://www.uen-ia.org/legislation.htm
Connecting with Legislators:
Learn more about them with ISFIS Legislative Biographies: Find biographical information about legislators gleaned from their election web sites on the ISFIS site here: http://www.iowaschoolfinance.com/legislative_bios 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: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/find
You can click on any Senator or Representative within the Legislative website to find their office phone and email address or search the Iowa Secretary of State’s general election candidate list for all House members and those Senators who were elected in November of 2018 to see their home address, local phone or cell phone number and email address. That list is found here: https://sos.iowa.gov/elections/pdf/candidates/generalcandidatelist.pdf
To call and leave a message at the statehouse during 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.
Key Committee Contacts (every name is linked to their legislative email address within the table):