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Capitol Update - March 2, 2023

UEN Legislative Update
March 2, 2023

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This UEN Weekly Report from the 2023 Legislative Session includes:

  • New Bills Introduced and Surviving the Funnel Deadline
  • More Income Tax Relief Proposed: SSB 1126
  • SSB 1145 Governor’s Parents’ Rights, Transparency, Library Books and Civics Graduation Test Amended and Passed by Senate Education Committee
  • Other Survivors though Committees (House and Senate Education Committees and Others)
  • Cheers and Tears: Bills Dead due to the Funnel
  • Advocacy Action: Advocating for Common-Sense Transparency
  • Links to Advocacy Resources
  • Members of Important Committees


New Bills Introduced and Surviving the Funnel:

HSB 206 Complaints about Schools to the State Ombudsman: requires the State Ombudsman to investigate the report by any licensed employee related to violence in the classroom, on school property, and any other violations of state law. The bill also does the following:

  • makes charter schools also subject to these provisions
  • requires notice of which Iowa Code sections or Administrative Rules (by either DE or BOEE) authorizing or requiring professional development apply if participation of school employees is required
  • requires school districts, nonpublic schools and AEAs to provide a copy of Iowa Code 280 to teachers when initially hired and annually with contract renewal (this Code section allows teachers to put hands on students to defend themselves or other students from injury.)
  • requires teachers who witness a student injury to call the parents by phone within 24 hours.
  • prohibits retaliation or disciplinary action by the district or nonpublic school against an employee or contractor for disclosing information to any public official, law enforcement agency or the State Ombudsman if the employee reasonably believes the information evidences a violation of law or rule, mismanagement, a gross abuse of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety
  • allows a teacher to remove a disruptive student from a classroom under supervision of an SRO or administrator
  • defines a disciplinary process for the student; 1st offense in a semester requires facilitating a counseling session between the student and a school counselor and then placing the student in one day of in-school suspension. 2nd offense in a semester requires facilitating a counseling session between the student and a school counselor and then placing the student in five days of in-school suspension. 3rd offense in a semester requires the student to be expelled from the teacher’s class and if the student is enrolled in grades 9-12, the student shall not receive high school credit for the class.

The bill was introduced, approved by a subcommittee and approved in House Education Committee this week. It will get a new bill number and move to the House Calendar. We shared our concerns in the Subcommittee regarding opposition to the once-size-fits-all disciplinary approach, the lack of any recognition of special education law, FAPE or disciplinary processes defined in an IEP. Although it could be best for the teacher to contact the parent, in some cases, the nurse or principal might more appropriately have that responsibility. In some cases, if the parent can not be reached by phone or prefers email or text contact, that would be preferred. SF 2360 enacted in the 2020 Session also included many of these provisions and requires DE in working with AEAs to provide professional development and best practice strategies for appropriate and inappropriate responses to addressing behavior in classrooms by July 1, 2023. That technical support plus the expansion of therapeutic classroom grants would be a better answer to this problem. UEN is registered opposed to the bill.


HF 597 Library Programs and Explicit Content: requires schools to have a library program that supports student achievement, requires a board policy on library material selection and removal, defines “Age-appropriate” and specifies that such appropriate materials do not include any material with descriptions or visual depictions of a sex act as defined in section 702.17 or section 728.1. Notwithstands the definition for human growth and development curriculum (sex education), which is regulated by section 279.50. The bill was approved by the House Education Committee and moves to the House Calendar. UEN expressed concerns that “descriptions” of sex acts defined in 702.17 are included in literary classics, nonfiction books about criminal justice, human trafficking, slavery and even anatomy. However, this proposed legislation is much clearer and less punitive than other proposals, including the HSB 222 Governor’s Parents’ Rights and Transparency Bill which did not receive approval this week in the House Education Committee. UEN is registered as Undecided on this bill and hopes to further address the descriptive definitions to protect access to those materials used by students when it is truly age appropriate.


SF 480 Internet Posting of Publications: requires the Iowa Secretary of State to establish and maintain an online portal through which public posting entities shall post statutorily required public notices. Requires the portal to be searchable by entity (county, city, school) and by public notice type (meeting notices, minutes, elections, abandoned property, proposed rulemaking, and proposed public project). Sets a fee of $5 per posting. Requires the posting to meet time requirements, the purpose, date, location and time of the public meeting, the current contact information of the entity (phone number and email address), instruction for submitting public comments (if applicable). Specifies that the public entity is solely responsible for the content and is required to remove the notice within 14 days of expiration of the required time the posting was to be available to the public. Requires a physical copy to be posted on a bulletin board or other prominent place designated for that purpose. Allows the public entity to also post on the entity’s website, social media account or in a newspaper. Requires the public entity to publish in the newspaper of general circulation, at least 3 times between the enactment date of this bill and July 1, 2024, notice of the new procedure to find postings, including the internet address of the new portal. The bill doesn’t apply to the office of the Governor, the General Assembly, and exempts notices about Iowa Administrative Rules and notices about the Iowa Constitution. The bill amends various Code sections that currently require public notices be posted, including Iowa Code 279.36 regarding schools. The bill was approved by the Senate Technology Committee and moves to the Senate Calendar. UEN is registered in support.


SF 496 Governor’s Parents’ Rights, Transparency, Library Books and Civics Graduation Test (formerly SSB 1145) Amended and Passed by Senate Education Committee: this bill by the Governor was amended and approved by the Senate Education Committee this week, moving it to the Senate Calendar as SF 496. As amended, it now includes the following provisions:

  • Sec. 1 Administrative Rules: requires the State Board of Education to adopt rules that require school districts and charter schools to periodically review library materials and determine if any contain obscene or sexually explicit materials. This section defines “obscene material” and “sexually explicit material” consistent with Iowa Code 279.80, a new Code section written in Section 17 of the bill.
  • Sec. 2 DE Book List: requires DE to keep a list of books that local school boards have removed from libraries or classrooms. (Sec. 16 of the bill requires districts to report to DE within 7 days if school board removed materials that are obscene or sexually explicit.) Once on the list, all districts must get written parent consent for students to access the book.
  • Sec. 3 Human Growth and Development Content: adds the qualifiers that kindergarten and grades 1-6 human growth and development be age-appropriate and research-based. Also strikes HPV and AIDS references from grades 1-6 and 7-8. Sections 5, 10 and 12 also remove HPV (and vaccination) and HIV/AIDS from content requirements
  • Sec. 4 Civics Test: requires 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. School districts and accredited nonpublic schools are required to report the INS test results to the DE by June 30 annually.
  • Secs. 6-9 Charter Application: requires charter schools to comply with parent permission for exams & screenings for physical and mental health and K-6 prohibition against gender ID and sexual activity instruction.
  • Sec. 11 Human Growth and Development Content: requires age-appropriate human growth and development content in grades 1-6, including self-esteem, stress management, interpersonal relationships and domestic abuse (but not gender identity or sexual activity content).
  • Sec. 13 Formal Mental or Physical Exam or Survey: requires parent written consent for a student to participate in a formal 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. The notice is required to include a copy of the exam or survey or a link to an internet site where the parent may access it. Exempts hearing or vision exams.
  • Sec. 14 Gender Identity/Sexual Activity Instruction: 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-5 or K-6 if 6th grade is in the elementary school.
  • Sec. 15 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 Notification to DE of Removed Book: includes definitions of obscenity and sexually explicit materials and requires the district to notify the DE within 7 days if a book is removed due to obscenity or sexually explicit material.
  • Sec. 17 Parental Rights in Education:
    • defines gender ID, minor child under 18, obscene material, and sexually explicit material (and defines it as meeting all of three criteria) as: 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 or2) and there is substantially similar other material available that doesn’t include the above. Defines visual depiction.
    • 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 believes the notification may result in serious harm to the child, but 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 name 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 written parent permission for the student to participate.
    • If DE investigates and district has violated any of the requirements in Sec. 17, the 1st violation: DE warning to school board. The 2nd violation (if investigation determines the superintendent or licensed employee knowingly violated the rules) requires the BOEE to conduct an ethics investigation which may result in disciplinary action. The bill requires the State board to adopt rules to administer section 17.
  • Sec. 18 Protection of Student Rights: requires prior written consent for a student to take part in a survey, analysis, activity or evaluation that reveals information about the student or their family, whether it is personally identifiable or not. Applies to information about political affiliations or beliefs of the student or parent, mental or psychological problems of the student or family, sexual behavior, orientation, or attitudes, illegal, antisocial, self-incrimination, or demeaning behavior, critical appraisals of other individuals with whom the student has close familial relationships, legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships (attorneys, physicians, or ministers), religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student/parent, income (except when required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a program or for receiving financial assistance.
    • Prohibits school employees/contractors to answer any question pertaining to a student in any survey related to social-emotional abilities, competencies, or characteristics of the student, unless the district provides to the parent detailed information about the survey (who created it, who sponsors it, how survey information is used, and how information is stored.) Requires written parent consent allowing the district to answer questions in the survey pertaining to the student.
  • Sec. 19 Library Materials Review Committee: prohibits a minor student from serving on a reconsideration committee reviewing a book with obscene or sexually explicit material.
  • Sec. 20: Addition of Materials to Library: requires the school board to formally approve new material for the library, including a determination that the material does not constitute or contain obscene or sexually explicit material.
  • Sec. 21 & 22 Home School Special Education: removes the requirement that student with IEP have prior AEA special education director approval for dual enrollment services. 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. 23: Parents’ Rights: 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. 25: Unfunded Mandates: 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.)

UEN is registered opposed to the bill, now on the Senate Calendar.


SSB 1126 More Income Tax Relief: this bill picks up where the historic tax cuts of 2022 left off by ratcheting down the alternative income tax rate and the individual income tax rate (and also lowering corporate income taxes).

  • The bill ratchets down the alternative tax rate:
    • 1/1/26 3.95%
    • 1/1/27 3.35%
    • 1/1/28 3.00%
  • Ratchets down the individual income tax rate
    • 1/1/2026 3.55%
    • 1/1/2027 2.95%
    • 1/1/2028 2.50%
  • Beginning Nov. 1, 2029, DOM evaluates the Individual Income Tax Elimination Fund and if funds are available, continues to lower the rate by a defined formula until the income tax rate is zero.
  • Renames the Taxpayer Relief Fund as the Individual Income Tax Elimination Fund.
  • Does not provide for an increase in the rate if revenues lag and there are not sufficient funds in the Individual Income Tax Elimination Fund.

The bill was approved in Subcommittee this week and moves forward to the full Senate Ways and Means Committee. UEN opposes.


Other Survivors though Committees (House and Senate Education Committees and Others)

These bills were approved by the Senate Education Committee and survived the funnel:

  • SF 246 Drop Out Prevention Cap Equity: phases in authority until all districts are held to the 5% cap. The bill is in the Senate Ways and Means Committee. UEN supports.
  • SF 247 Districts with significant open enrollment in: allows districts with more than 35% Net Open Enrollment Into the district to request modified supplemental amount from the SBRC. The bill is in the Senate Ways and Means Committee. UEN is undecided.
  • SF 248 Impact of Technology Working Group/Study: UEN supports.
  • SF 250 Computer Science PD Fund Disbursements: allows teachers receiving computer science professional development grants to continue to expend the funds through the summer. UEN supports.
  • SF 251 Limit on District Administrative Expenses cannot exceed 5%. This bill is now in the Senate Ways and Means Committee. UEN opposes.
  • SF 389 Achievement Gap Working Group/Study, now on the Senate Calendar. UEN supports.
  • SF 391 Governor's School Flexibility (Chapter 12 Changes), now on the Senate Calendar. UEN supports.
  • SF 392 Teacher Shortage Omnibus (Internship license, Teach Iowa Scholar loan forgiveness eligibility, and Management fund for Teacher Recruitment/Incentive program, with limitations.) The bill is in the Senate Ways and Means Committee. UEN supports.
  • SF 482 School Bathrooms: requires bathroom use in a school to be based on biological sex at birth. UEN opposes since this state limitation would conflict with the current federal government requirements to accommodate transgender students via Title IX and also conflicts with Iowa civil rights Code. The bill is on the Senate Calendar.
  • SF 483 Seizure Disorder Training Mandate: requires schools to train all staff who might come in contact with students regarding emergency care, planning, and authorizations for assisting students experiencing a seizure and limitations of liability if staff assist. The bill is on the Senate Calendar. UEN is opposed.
  • SF 484 School Finance Interim Committee: requests the Legislative Council approve the School Finance Interim Committee during the 2023 Interim. The prior Interim Committee was held in December 2019. UEN supports this bill as amended. It is now on the Senate Calendar.
  • SF 485 Busing for Open Enrollment without resident Board Approval. This bill was amended in the Senate Education Committee to limit the distance a receiving district can travel into a resident district to no more than two miles. The bill was approved by the Senate Education Committee and moves to the Senate Calendar. Although this is better than the original version, UEN still opposes it.
  • SF 496 Governor's Parents' Rights, Transparency, Library Books, Civics Graduation Test, etc. This bill was amended by the Senate Education Committee and moves to the Senate Calendar. See changes described above. UEN oppose. See above for complete bill description as amended.


These bills were approved by the House Education Committee and survived the funnel:

  • HSB 206 Ombudsman Complaints and Disruptive Student Discipline: UEN opposes.
  • HF 101 Suicide Hotline on School ID Cards: UEN supports.
  • HF 132 Social Studies Instruction: requires US Government Content to include comparative analysis of democracy and other forms of government. UEN is undecided.
  • HF 134 Open Enrollment Busing w/o Resident District Permission: UEN opposes.
  • HF 180 Parent Consent re Gender Identity in School: UEN opposes.
  • HF 221 Licensure for Individuals from Other States/Countries: without first requiring a license from the prior jurisdiction, as long as they completed the steps necessary to obtain that license. UEN supports.
  • HF 253 Charter Student participation in District Athletics: UEN opposes.
  • HF 255 Teacher Intern License Program (online version): UEN opposes.
  • HF 256 BOEE Minimum Age of License 18: UEN supports.
  • HF 285 Requires Absences for Autism Treatment Programs be Excused absences: UEN is opposed.
  • HF 315 Approved Bus Driver Instruction Course: UEN is undecided.
  • HF 323 Authority to pay Student Teachers: UEN is undecided.
  • HF 327 Governor's School Flexibility Bill (Chapter 12 changes): UEN supports.
  • HF 348 Prohibits Gender ID and Sexual Orientation in K-6: UEN opposes.
  • HF 355 Licensure Renewal Exempting MA's and Higher from CEU Requirements: UEN is undecided.
  • HF 360 Adds Technology Specialist to Operational Sharing: UEN is undecided.
  • HF 367 Prohibits Employee or Student Discipline for using legal names and pronouns: UEN opposes.
  • HF 370 School Flexibility, Modernization, Bonding, Health PD Requirements Work Group (IASB's bill): UEN supports.
  • HF 379 Mandated Seizure Disorder Training: UEN opposes.
  • HF 390 30 Minutes of Physical Activity with Exceptions: UEN opposes.
  • HF 391 Home School Diplomas: UEN is undecided.
  • HF 393 Nonpublic School Withdraw of Request for State Accreditation: UEN is undecided.
  • HF 429 Inter-district Transfer if Student is Harassed or Bullied: UEN is undecided.
  • HF 430 Mandatory Reporters, BOEE license Renewal, Makeup of BOEE, and Background Checks: UEN was originally registered as undecided on the bill, but is now opposed to the bill, which was amended in the House Education Committee to change the makeup to the BOEE to include a majority of members as parents.
  • HF 437 Mandated Student Liaison on School Board: UEN opposes.
  • HF 459 Operational Sharing Original Weighting and 25-Student Cap: UEN is undecided.
  • HF 464 Home School: Removes limitation that no more than 4 unrelated students may be in one home school environment and allows charging tuition/fees. UEN is opposed.
  • HF 597 School Library Programs and Age-Appropriate Materials: UEN is undecided.


Bills approved by Other Committees that Survived the Funnel:

  • SSB 1168 Guns on School Grounds by Judiciary. Moves to the Senate Calendar with a new number. UEN opposes.
  • SF 202 Public Records Requests. This bill is on the Senate Calendar. UEN is undecided.
  • SF 480 Electronic Publication of Notices. See description above. UEN supports.
  • HSB 173 Guns on School Grounds by Judiciary. Moves to the House Calendar with a new number and an amendment. UEN opposes.
  • HF 339 Vacant School Demolition Grants. Approved by the House Committee on Economic Growth and Technology. Assigned to the House Appropriations Committee. UEN is undecided.
  • HF 350 Public Records Requests. This bill is on the House Calendar. UEN is undecided.
  • HF 409 (formerly HF 196) Comments at School Board Meetings: requires school board meetings to include at least 30 minutes for public comment, including both regular and special board meetings. This bill is on the House Calendar. UEN opposes.


Bills that Died: for now. Appropriations and Ways and Means bills are exempt from funnel deadlines. Additionally, ideas can reappear as amendments to other bills or to appropriations bills.

  • HF 73 Gun Safety Instruction. requires age-appropriate school gun safety programs in schools. UEN was undecided.
  • HF 233 ESA Enrollment Intention and Voluntary Second Enrollment Count Date. UEN is undecided.
  • HF 294 Minimum State School Aid. Specifies that the Iowa Code requirement of $300 per pupil minimum state school aid applies to regular program district cost and does not include state funding for categoricals (PD, TSS, TLC, EICS). UEN is undecided.
  • HF 297 PK Funding Bill. this bill Sponsored by Rep. Ingels 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 supports.
  • HF 341 Margarine Ban in School Lunches. UEN opposes.
  • HF 454 Administrators in Classrooms. Requires administrators to teach a semester class every 2 years. UEN opposes.
  • SF 269 Work-based Learning & Employer Liability: this bill protects employers who partner with school districts to offer work-based learning opportunities, internships and apprenticeships. UEN is undecided.


Advocacy Actions This Week

  • 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 the 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, and 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