Legislative Updates

  • 12 May 2019 4:14 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    2019 Legislative Session Comes to an End

    After a four day stretch of nearly 12-hour long days, the 2019 edition of the Iowa Legislature finally concluded its work during the afternoon of Saturday, April 27.

    The battle over how much to spend on health care programs and what, if any tax credits, would be approved were the focus of much of the consternation and deliberations that punctuated the ending days and hours.

    Governor Reynolds has until the end of May to either veto or sign into law the bills that were passed by both chambers.

    We will keep you updated on any action taken by the Governor on bills of interest.


    New Student Mental Health Program Funding Approved!

    The education spending plan, House File 758,  agreed to by the House and Senate contains $2.1 million dollars for a new school mental health awareness program.

    During budget negotiations, Representative Dave Kerr of Morning Sun was able fend off Senate efforts to not fund the program.

    Of the $2.1 million dollars appropriated, $1,200,000 will be allocated to the area education agencies to provide mental health awareness training for educators and schools.

    $750,000 will be allocated to the area education agencies to be used to identify a range of approaches to best meet the mental health needs of students and to strengthen community support for students.

    Finally $150,000 be used by the area education agencies to create a clearinghouse of mental health resources for use by schools and community providers.

    Thanks to all who contacted lawmakers to make sure that school mental health programming and community mental health programs are as integrated as possible.  Without your efforts, this would not have taken place!


    Whistle blower Protections Bill Sent To The Governor

    Senate File 502, a bill to add protections for school district and state employees who report suspected illegal activities, is awaiting the signature of Governor Reynolds.

    The bill prohibits adverse employment actions (i.e. firing or demotion) for disclosures of information by an employee of the state or a political subdivision of the state. The bill specifically authorizes disclosure of information by an employee to a person providing human resource management for the political subdivision of the state.

    The bill provides that an aggrieved employee may recover civil damages in an amount up to three times the employee’s annual wages and benefits at the time of the inappropriate adverse employment action.

    The bill also requires each political subdivision of the state to provide information to new employees of the authority of the office of ombudsman to investigate complaints and to provide information to all employees of the political subdivision, including the toll-free telephone number of the ombudsman.


    Other Bills Sent To The Governor:

    HF 690 (formerly HSB 206) - Children’s Mental Health (F) - The bill establishes a children’s behavioral health system and a children’s behavioral health system state board, and requires certain children’s behavioral health core services be provided.  The bill also includes the establishment of a single statewide 24-hour mental health crisis telephone hotline.

    Passed the House 83-14.  Passed by the Senate 46-2. Awaiting Governor’s action.

    HF 598 (formerly HF 197) - Sibling Class Assignments (M) - The bill allows the parents or guardians to request that twins (or any other level of multiples) be placed in the same classroom or different classrooms. Unless the principal determines that the requested placement would create a classroom disruption, the request would be honored.

    After the first grading period of the school year the principal and the students teachers can determine that the placement was disruptive and the students can be placed in different classes.

    Passed the House 91-5. Approved by the Senate 44-5. Awaiting Governor's action.


    Bill of interest:

    These bills remain eligible for continued consideration during the 2020 session of the Iowa Legislature.

    SF 547 (formerly SF 372) ESGs (A) - This bill provides education savings grants for pupils attending accredited nonpublic schools or specified public schools and establishes an education savings grant fund.

    Appropriations subcommittee: Breitbach, Celsi and Kraayenbrink.

    SF 500 (formerly SF 125) Needle Exchange Pilot Program (M) - The bill creates a needle exchange pilot program to be administered by DPH in cooperation with the department of public safety, the governor’s office of drug control policy, cities, counties, and nongovernmental organizations.

    On Senate debate calendar

    SF 438 (formerly SSB 1190) - Student Health, School Omnibus (M) - This omnibus bill strikes current law that requires a parent or guardian of a child enrolled in public and accredited nonpublic elementary schools or high schools to provide evidence to the school that the child has had a dental screening, a child’s vision screening and blood lead test. Instead the bill requires the person who performs the child’s screenings and tests to submit the information regarding completion to the department of public health.

    Passed the Senate 32-17. Amended and and Approved by House subcommittee

    SF 376 (formerly SF 270) - Health Education Requirements (F) - This bill adds mental health awareness, coping skills, and suicide prevention to the subject matter that must be included  in the unit of health education which school districts and accredited nonpublic schools must offer and teach in grades 7-12.

    On Senate debate calendar

    SF 342 - Alcohol Overdose Reporting Protection (F) - The bill provides that a person under the age of 21 shall not be charged or prosecuted for public intoxication, possession of alcohol under the legal age, use of a driver’s license by an underage person to obtain alcohol, or possession of an open container in a motor vehicle, if the person in good faith sought emergency assistance for the person or another person due to an alcohol overdose or because the person or other person is a victim of assault, sexual abuse, or human trafficking.

    On Senate Debate Calendar

    SF 160 (formerly SSB 1042) - School Emergency Plans (M) - The bill requires school boards and authorities in charge of accredited nonpublic schools to consider recommendations from the department of public safety relating to the development of high-quality emergency operations plans.

    On Senate debate calendar

    SF 73 - PPEL for School Security (F) - The bill adds school safety and security equipment to the list of eligible expenditures from school physical plant and equipment levy revenues.

    Subcommittee: Sinclar, Celsi and Zaun

    SF 31 - School Administrative Costs Limit (M) - This bill provides that for budget years beginning on or after July 1, 2020, the portion of the total authorized expenditures of a school district that is budgeted for, administrative costs shall not exceed percent of the total authorized expenditures of a school district. “Administrative costs” shall be defined by rules adopted by the department of education.

    Subcommittee: Approved by subcommittee

    HF 684 (formerly HSB 175) - Alcohol Overdose Reporting Protection (F) - The bill provides that a person under the age of 21 shall not be charged or prosecuted for public intoxication, possession of alcohol under the legal age, use of a driver’s license by an underage person to obtain alcohol, or possession of an open container in a motor vehicle, if the person in good faith sought emergency assistance for the person or another person due to an alcohol overdose or because the person or other person is a victim of assault, sexual abuse, or human trafficking.

    On House debate calendar

    HF 673 (formerly HF 349) - School Radon Testing (M) - This bill requires the board of directors of each public school district to have a short-term test for radon gas performed at each attendance center under its control at least once by July 1, 2022, and at least once every five years thereafter, and following new construction of an attendance center or additions, renovations, or repairs to an attendance center. If the results of such a test are at or above four picocuries per liter, the bill requires the board to have a second short-term test performed at the attendance center within 90 days. If  the results of a second test are at or above four picocuries per liter, the bill requires the board of directors of the public school district to retain a person credentialed to perform radon abatement measures to develop a radon mitigation plan within 90 days. The radon mitigation plan must be implemented within one year.

    On House debate calendar

    HF 504 - Health Education Requirements (F) - This bill adds mental health awareness, coping skills, and suicide prevention to the subject matter that must be included  in the unit of health education which school districts and accredited nonpublic schools must offer and teach in grades 7-12.

    Subcommittee: Approved by subcommittee

    HF 419 (formerly HSB 60) - Music Therapist Certification (M) - This bill requires any person claiming to be a music therapist to hold a music therapist board-certified credential granted by the certification board for music therapists or a professional designation in good standing listed on the national music therapy registry.

    Approved by the House 96-3.

    HF 349 - School Radon Testing (M) - This bill requires the board of directors of each public school district to have a short-term test for radon gas performed at each attendance center under its control at least once by July 1, 2022, and at least once every five years thereafter, and following new construction of an attendance center or additions, renovations, or repairs to an attendance center. If the results of such a test are at or above four picocuries per liter, the bill requires the board to have a second short-term test performed at the attendance center within 90 days. If  the results of a second test are at or above four picocuries per liter, the bill requires the board of directors of the public school district to retain a person credentialed to perform radon abatement measures to develop a radon mitigation plan within 90 days. The radon mitigation plan must be implemented within one year.

    Subcommittee: Approved by subcommittee

    HF 274 - School PE Stats (M) - The bill requires the department of education, beginning with the school year starting July 1, 2019, to annually compile reports on statistics and data relating to physical education classes and instruction offered by each school district as a whole and by attendance center in a format determined by the department.

    Approved by subcommittee

    HF 98 - Center For Suicide Prevention (M) - This bill establishes the Iowa center for suicide prevention in the department of education to provide, in a coordinated and comprehensive way, ongoing support to Iowa’s schools relating to suicide prevention and postvention and the identification of adverse childhood experiences and strategies to mitigate  toxic stress response, in the form of information, resources, and evidence-based training content.

    Subcommittee: Mommsen, Hanusa and Mascher

    HF 88 - School Safety Hotline (M) - The bill requires the department of public safety to establish a statewide, toll-free telephone hotline, internet site, and mobile internet application for the purpose of receiving reports from the public regarding threats or possible threats to school safety in this state.

    Subcommittee: Wheeler, Shipley and Staed


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