Legislative Updates

  • 18 Feb 2020 10:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Next Friday Is The First Procedural Deadline

    The first procedural hurdle of the 2020 Session of the Iowa Legislative Session arrives this upcoming Friday, February 21st.

    The so called “First Funnel,” the day by which bills must be approved by one committee in the bill’s chamber or origin to remain eligible for continued consideration, takes place at the close business on Friday.

    There are three types of bill’s exempt from the procedural rules.  Bills in the Appropriations Committee, Ways and Means Committee and Government Oversight Committee are not governed by procedural deadlines requiring committee approval by specific dates.


    Bills of Interest:

    (SF = Senate File, SSB = Senate Study Bill, HF = House File, HSB = House Study Bill)

    SF 2190 (formerly SSB 3080) - Disruptive Students (M) - The bill does all of the following: Provides for the development and distribution of guidelines for schools to use in response to student behaviour that presents an imminent threat of bodily injury to a student or faculty; Requires teacher education programs to include individual education plans (IEP) and positive behavioural intervention strategies; Prohibits the use of “classroom clears” in a student’s IEP; Establishes a Therapeutic Classroom Incentive grant program; Appropriates money for student transportation to therapeutic classrooms; Provides for the submission of reports of student violence to the Commissioner of Public Safety.

    Approved by the Education Committee approved with amendment by Appropriations subcommittee

    SF 2155 (formerly SF 2065) - School Resource Officer Funding (M) - The bill authorizes school districts to raise additional funds via property taxes and income surtaxes under the instruction support program to fund a school resource officer.

    Approved by the Education Committee and referred to Ways and Means Subcommittee: Chapman, Quirmbach and R. Smith

    SF 2081 (formerly SSB 3020) - Student ID’s Suicide Prevention Number (F) - The bill requires schools to inlcude the national suicide prevention hotline telephone number on student ID cards.

    On Senate debate calendar

    SF 2067 - Excused Absences For Mental Health Treatment (F) - The bill requires schools to adopt policies permitting a student to take excused absences from school for mental health treatment.

    Subcommittee: Sinclair, Behn and Celsi

    SF 2027 - Student ID’s Suicide Prevention Number (F) - The bill requires schools to inlcude the national suicide prevention hotline telephone number on student ID cards.

    Subcommittee; Cournoyer, Edler and Wahls

    SF 376 - Mental Health Education Requirements (F) - The bill adds mental health awareness, coping skills and suicide prevention to the subject matter that must be included in a unit of health education.

    Subcommittee: Sinclair, Behn and J. Smith

    SF 342 - Immunity For Reporting Alcohol Injuries (F) - The bill provides immunity from certain alcohol related criminal offenses and prohibits certain disciplinary actions for persons who seek or require emergency assistance for alcohol overdoses.

    Subcommittee: Zaun, Nunn and R. Taylor

    SSB 3016 - Smoking Age Increase (F) - The bill increases the minimum age to purchase tobacco, tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, vapor products and cigarettes from 18 to 21.

    Approved by Subcommittee

    HF 2201 - Gender Identity in Schools (M) - This bill would allow parents to have their children excused from any program, curriculum, material, test, survey, questionnaire, activity, announcement, promotion or instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity.

    Approved by committee

    HSB 598 - Disruptive Students (M) - The bill does all of the following: Provides for the development and distribution of guidelines for schools to use in response to student behaviour that presents an imminent threat of bodily injury to a student or faculty; Requires teacher education programs to include individual education plans (IEP) and positive behavioural intervention strategies; Prohibits the use of “classroom clears” in a student’s IEP; Establishes a Therapeutic Classroom Incentive grant program; Appropriates money for student transportation to therapeutic classrooms; Provides for the submission of reports of student violence to the Commissioner of Public Safety.

    Approved by subcommittee


  • 09 Feb 2020 4:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    First Procedural Deadline Coming Up

    The first procedural hurdle of the 2020 Session of the Iowa Legislative Session arrives in just a few short weeks.

    The so called “First Funnel,” the day by which bills must be approved by one committee in the bill’s chamber or origin to remain eligible for continued consideration, takes place at the close business on Friday, February 21.

    There are three types of bill’s exempt from the procedural rules.  Bills in the Appropriations Committee, Ways and Means Committee and Government Oversight Committee are not governed by procedural deadlines requiring committee approval by specific dates.

    Bills of Interest:

    (SF = Senate File, SSB = Senate Study Bill, HF = House File, HSB = House Study Bill)

    SF 2190 (formerly SSB 3080) - Disruptive Students (M) - The bill does all of the following: Provides for the development and distribution of guidelines for schools to use in response to student behavior that presents an imminent threat of bodily injury to a student or faculty; Requires teacher education programs to include individual education plans (IEP) and positive behavioral intervention strategies; Prohibits the use of “classroom clears” in a student’s IEP; Establishes a Therapeutic Classroom Incentive grant program; Appropriates money for student transportation to therapeutic classrooms; Provides for the submission of reports of student violence to the Commissioner of Public Safety.

    On Senate debate calendar

    SF 2155 (formerly SF 2065) - School Resource Officer Funding (M) - The bill authorizes school districts to raise additional funds via property taxes and income surtaxes under the instruction support program to fund a school resource officer.

    Passed by Ed Committee and referred to Ways and Means

    SF 2081 (formerly SSB 3020) - Student ID’s Suicide Prevention Number (F) - The bill requires schools to include the national suicide prevention hotline telephone number on student ID cards.

    On Senate debate calendar

    SF 2067 - Excused Absences For Mental Health Treatment (F) - The bill requires schools to adopt policies permitting a student to take excused absences from school for mental health treatment.

    Subcommittee: Sinclair, Behn and Celsi

    SF 2027 - Student ID’s Suicide Prevention Number (F) - The bill requires schools to inlcude the national suicide prevention hotline telephone number on student ID cards.

    Subcommittee; Cournoyer, Edler and Wahls

    SF 376 - Mental Health Education Requirements (F) - The bill adds mental health awareness, coping skills and suicide prevention to the subject matter that must be included in a unit of health education.

    Subcommittee: Sinclair, Behn and J. Smith

    SF 342 - Immunity For Reporting Alcohol Injuries (F) - The bill provides immunity from certain alcohol related criminal offenses and prohibits certain disciplinary actions for persons who seek or require emergency assistance for alcohol overdoses.

    Subcommittee: Zaun, Nunn and R. Taylor

    SSB 3016 - Smoking Age Increase (F) - The bill increases the minimum age to purchase tobacco, tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, vapor products and cigarettes from 18 to 21.

    Approved by Subcommittee

    HF 2201 - Gender Identity in Schools (M) - This bill would allow parents to have their children excused from any program, curriculum, material, test, survey, questionnaire, activity, announcement, promotion or instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity.

    Subcommittee: T. Moore, Salmon and Stead

    HSB 598 - Disruptive Students (M) - The bill does all of the following: Provides for the development and distribution of guidelines for schools to use in response to student behavior that presents an imminent threat of bodily injury to a student or faculty; Requires teacher education programs to include individual education plans (IEP) and positive behavioral intervention strategies; Prohibits the use of “classroom clears” in a student’s IEP; Establishes a Therapeutic Classroom Incentive grant program; Appropriates money for student transportation to therapeutic classrooms; Provides for the submission of reports of student violence to the Commissioner of Public Safety.

    Approved by subcommittee


  • 03 Feb 2020 4:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Major School Classroom Management Bill in The Senate


    Senate Study Bill 3080, a multifaceted bill targeted at dealing with disruptive students in the classroom, has been approved by a subcommittee.

    The bill does all of the following:

    1.     Provides for the development and distribution of guidelines for schools to use in response to student behavior that presents an imminent threat of bodily injury to a student or faculty;

    2.     Requires teacher education programs to include individual education plans (IEP) and positive behavioral intervention strategies;

    3.     Prohibits the use of “classroom clears” in a student’s IEP;

    4.     Establishes a Therapeutic Classroom Incentive grant program;

    5.     Appropriates money for student transportation to therapeutic classrooms;

    6.     Provides for the submission of reports of student violence to the Commissioner of Public Safety


    As of 1/31 the bill is supported by the Iowa Association of School Boards, Professional Educators of Iowa; Area Education Agencies, Urban Education Network, Rural School Advocates of Iowa and the State’s YMCAs.


    The bill may be considered by the Senate Education Committee this upcoming week. We will keep you updated.

    House Subcommittee Meeting Scheduled For Classroom Management Proposal


    The House of Representatives companion bill to Senate Study Bill 3080, House Study Bill 598, will be discussed the evening of February 5 in the Room 103 of Capitol Building beginning at 6:00 pm.

    Bills of Interest:

    Special Note - A small amount of bills introduced last year have been reassigned subcommittees and may be considered this year, that is why some bills with three digit numbers appear on this bill list.

    (SF = Senate File, SSB = Senate Study Bill, HF = House File, HSB = House Study Bill)

    SF 2081 (formerly SSB 3020) - Student ID’s Suicide Prevention Number (F) - The bill requires schools to inlcude the national suicide prevention hotline telephone number on student ID cards.

    On Senate debate calendar

    SF 2067 - Excused Absences For Mental Health Treatment (F) - The bill requires schools to adopt policies permitting a student to take excused absences from school for mental health treatment.

    Subcommittee: Sinclair, Behn and Celsi

    SF 2065 - School Resource Officer Funding (M) - The bill authorizes school districts to raise additional funds via property taxes and income surtaxes under the instruction support program. 

    Approved by subcommittee

    SF 2027 - Student ID’s Suicide Prevention Number (F) - The bill requires schools to inlcude the national suicide prevention hotline telephone number on student ID cards.

    Subcommittee; Cournoyer, Edler and Wahls

    SF 376 - Mental Health Education Requirements (F) - The bill adds mental health awareness, coping skills and suicide prevention to the subject matter that must be included in a unit of health education.

    Subcommittee: Sinclair, Behn and J. Smith

    SF 342 - Immunity For Reporting Alcohol Injuries (F) - The bill provides immunity from certain alcohol related criminal offenses and prohibits certain disciplinary actions for persons who seek or require emergency assistance for alcohol overdoses.

    Subcommittee: Zaun, Nunn and R. Taylor

    SSB 3080 - Disruptive Students (M) - The bill does all of the following: Provides for the development and distribution of guidelines for schools to use in response to student behavior that presents an imminent threat of bodily injury to a student or faculty; Requires teacher education programs to include individual education plans (IEP) and positive behavioral intervention strategies; Prohibits the use of “classroom clears” in a student’s IEP; Establishes a Therapeutic Classroom Incentive grant program; Appropriates money for student transportation to therapeutic classrooms; Provides for the submission of reports of student violence to the Commissioner of Public Safety.

    Approved by subcommittee

    SSB 3016 - Smoking Age Increase (F) - The bill increases the minimum age to purchase tobacco, tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, vapor products and cigarettes from 18 to 21.

    Approved by subcommittee

    HF 2201 - Gender Identity in Schools (M) - This bill would allow parents to have their children excused from any program, curriculum, material, test, survey, questionnaire, activity, announcement, promotion or instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity.

    Referred to Education

    HSB 598 - Disruptive Students (M) - The bill does all of the following: Provides for the development and distribution of guidelines for schools to use in response to student behaviour that presents an imminent threat of bodily injury to a student or faculty; Requires teacher education programs to include individual education plans (IEP) and positive behavioural intervention strategies; Prohibits the use of “classroom clears” in a student’s IEP; Establishes a Therapeutic Classroom Incentive grant program; Appropriates money for student transportation to therapeutic classrooms; Provides for the submission of reports of student violence to the Commissioner of Public Safety.

    Subcommittee: Dolecheck, T, Moore, Fry, R. Smith and Donahue - 02/05 @ 6:00 pm


  • 28 Jan 2020 11:31 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    From our school mental health advocacy partners the Iowa School Mental Health Alliance, ISHMA, and Please Pass The Love.

    Please give specific attention and respond to the action request on a new bill SSB 3080 surrounding violence in classrooms. You can find out more about the specifics from the bill here: https://whotv.com/2020/01/27/iowa-senator-introduces-bill-to-take-on-violent-behavior-in-classrooms/

    There is no educator, admin, mental health professional, parent or child that is supportive of violence in a classroom, but as a state, we have to be careful to invest in creating strong sustainable children's and school mental health systems rather reactive approaches that can do more damage than good.

    We know many of you have already contacted the Senate Education Committee, which is great, but we ask that you remember to approach with kindness and respect. You will be heard with more weight if you lead using your expertise and stories versus anger. You have every right to be angry, too, but sandwich that in middle.

    Feel free to use any language you want, but a suggested email may say something such as:

    Dear Senators,

    Thank you for your service. I am writing in strong opposition to SSB 3080 and encourage you to fully fund our children's mental health system and amend the bill to incorporate research and evidence-based school mental health and trauma-informed practices that are showing exceptional results across the nation and within our state. ((((This is a good place to indicate your professional role and share relevant stories))))

    Respectfully,

    Your name

    Send to:

    amy.sinclair@legis.iowa.gov,chris.cournoyer@legis.iowa.gov, herman.quirmbach@legis.iowa.gov, jerry.behn@legis.iowa.gov, claire.celsi@legis.iowa.gov, eric.giddens@legis.iowa.gov, jeff.edler@legis.iowa.gov, craig.johnson@legis.iowa.gov, tim.kraayenbrink@legis.iowa.gov, mark.lofgren@legis.iowa.gov, ken.rozenboom@legis.iowa.gov, jackie.smith@legis.iowa.gov, annette.sweeney@legis.iowa.gov, zach.wahls@legis.iowa.gov, brad.zaun@legis.iowa.gov,charles.schneider@legis.iowa.gov

    For those wanting more explicit reasons why this bill is concerning, here are a few:

    1. Therapeutic rooms are great, but a competitive grant program means that those able to write better grants will get the services. Second issue is that we have a dismal workforce. Right now, in the metro, we have therapist agencies that are desperate to hire, but there is a very shallow pool.

    2. On the side, this language could open up a bevy of lawsuits for school districts. See Felix versus Hawaii in the 1990s (it cost the state $1 billion dollars). Many districts in our state have significant sped deficit because our state reimbursement doesn't come close to being able to meet the needs schools are having to pay for. Federal law requires the least restrictive environment is determined by the IEP team.

    3. We cannot emphasize enough how directly related this is to school mental health. This is the direct consequence of not having a thriving children's mental health system. Research and evidence is clear around the nation and internationally that when we put in high levels of prevention and supports we see a significant decrease in behaviors.

    4. We fully agree that we need to increase our special education service delivery models, but again we need to fund that.

    5. We're alarmed that we have included the words "detention facility" in the bill. Many of the behaviors we see in schools are a result of trauma and untreated mental illness. We absolutely, positively cannot treat and effectively change behavior with incarceration. Over 65% of those incarcerated have a mental illness.

    6. There is an overrepresentation of persons of color identified having behavior disorders and do not receive mental health treatment. This would only exacerbate this.

    7. We appreciate the language around using the IEP team, but the word "reevaluation" is a particular review that is used every three years. I am assuming they mean a "review" or perhaps a manifestation determination meeting? Hypothetically, let's say that team says a student needs additional services beyond a self-contained classroom, then what? I work with thousands of educators across the state in the smallest to largest districts. This is the exact issue. They want to get the students help, but there is nowhere to get the help. There are so few resources for this.

    8. We love the idea of data collection of violence against teachers.

    9. Sec. 7 Section 280.21 and following sections are concerning. There needs to be language in there about employees having de-escalation techniques, using restorative practices. The language is too ambiguous and does not adhere to best preventative practices nor evidence-based crisis techniques. If an adult is laying hands on a child there needs to be a comprehensive crisis plan in place to keep everyone safe.

    10. The return on investment is small to fund reactive measures yet far higher to fund preventative measures.

    11. The language in this bill does not align with what we know about toxic stress, brain science, and mental illness and will further stigmatize and ostracize those needing help.

    12. Our AEAs are already doing what this bill is proposing, but they are doing it better and with less funding. The AEAs have some of the most highly trained experts in the state that have implemented some of the most comprehensive school mental health and trauma-informed systems and are seeing amazing results because of it.

    13. Finally, as career educators that have worked with some of the most challenging kids on the planet, even after being at the hands of violence, we absolutely can say that if we put in the systems we need into place we would not have these behaviors. The system has failed these kids and until we ramp up our systems we will continue to see exasperated behaviors by children.


  • 26 Jan 2020 12:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Committee Approves ISSWA Legislative Ask!

    On a unanimous vote, the Senate Education Committee gave its go ahead to an ISSWA Legislative Priority.

    The bill, Senate File 2081 (formerly Senate Study Bill 3020) requires schools to include the telephone number and text line of the Your Life Iowa suicide prevention line on school student ID cards for students in junior high through high school.

    No word yet on when the full Senate will consider this important bill.  We will keep you updated.


    ISSWA / ISPA Legislative Day At the Iowa Statehouse

    Make plans now to attend the association’s Day At The Hill on March 4th!

    It will be a great opportunity to talk with your local State Representatives and Senators about the needs and concerns of School Psychologists and the students you serve.

    Bills of Interest:

    Special Note - A small amount of bills introduced last year have been reassigned subcommittees and may be considered this year, that is why some bills with three digit numbers appear on this bill list.

    (SF = Senate File, SSB = Senate Study Bill, HF = House File, HSB = House Study Bill)

    SF 2081 (formerly SSB 3020) - Student ID’s Suicide Prevention Number (F) - The bill requires schools to inlcude the national suicide prevention hotline telephone number on student ID cards.

    On Senate debate calendar

    SF 2067 - Excused Absences For Mental Health Treatment (F) - The bill requires schools to adopt policies permitting a student to take excused absences from school for mental health treatment.

    Subcommittee: Sinclair, Behn and Celsi

    SF 2065 - School Resource Officer Funding (M) - The bill authorizes school districts to raise additional funds via property taxes and income surtaxes under the instruction support program. 

    Subcommittee: Lofgren, Cournoyer and Quirmbach - meeting 1/27 @ 4:00 pm

    SF 2027 - Student ID’s Suicide Prevention Number (F) - The bill requires schools to include the national suicide prevention hotline telephone number on student ID cards.

    Subcommittee; Cournoyer, Edler and Wahls

    SF 376 - Mental Health Education Requirements (F) - The bill adds mental health awareness, coping skills and suicide prevention to the subject matter that must be included in a unit of health education.

    Subcommittee: Sinclair, Behn and J. Smith

    SF 342 - Immunity For Reporting Alcohol Injuries (F) - The bill provides immunity from certain alcohol related criminal offenses and prohibits certain disciplinary actions for persons who seek or require emergency assistance for alcohol overdoses.

    Subcommittee: Zaun, Nunn and R. Taylor

    SSB 3016 - Smoking Age Increase (F) - The bill increases the minimum age to purchase tobacco, tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, vapor products and cigarettes from 18 to 21.

    Approved by subcommittee


  • 20 Jan 2020 9:07 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Legislative update from the Jim Obradovich from the Capitol Group:

    Subcommittee Meeting Set For ISSWA Legislative Priority!

    Just one week into the 2020 Session of the Iowa Legislature, a priority of the Iowa School Social Workers Association is ready for consideration.

    Tuesday, January 21 the subcommittee assigned to Senate Study Bill 3020 will meet. 

    The bill is an ISSWA legislative priority. It requires schools to include the telephone number of the National Suicide Prevention Hotline on school student ID cards.

    The meeting will take place at 3:00 pm in the Senate Lounge.

    Please take a moment and send a short note in support of the bill to the following members of the subcommittee:

    Sen. Jeff Edler - jeff.edler@legis.iowa.gov

    Sen. Annette Sweeney - annette.sweeney@legis.iowa.gov

    Sen. Jackie Smith - jackie.smith@legis.iowa.gov

    Governor Proposes Keeping School Mental Health Training Appropriation!

    Included in her proposed budget for fiscal year 2021 is the continuation of an ISSWA backed appropriation for school mental health training.

    Last year lawmakers approved a new $2.1 million appropriation for mental health awareness training for educators and schools; for 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; and for area education agencies to create a clearinghouse of mental health resources for use by schools and community providers.

    It is important to note that the Governor is asking lawmakers to dedicate $3 million dollars to the program for the 2021 fiscal year, an increase of $900,000!

    Attend The ISSWA / ISPA Legislative Day At the Iowa Statehouse

    Make plans now to attend the association’s Day At The Hill on March 4th!

    It will be a great opportunity to talk with your local State Representatives and Senators about the needs and concerns of School Psychologists and the students you serve.

    Shameless Plug!!!

    My wife, Kathie Obradovich is now Editor-In-Chief of the Iowa Capital Dispatch. To receive the Iowa Capitol Dispatch’s “Daily Dispatch” each morning for free, sign up at the Dispatch’s website: https://iowacapitaldispatch.com/

    Bills of Interest:

    Special Note - A small amount of bills introduced last year have been reassigned subcommittees and may be considered this year, that is why some bills with three digit numbers appear on this bill list.

    (SF = Senate File, SSB = Senate Study Bill, HF = House File, HSB = House Study Bill)

    SF 2027 - Student ID’s Suicide Prevention Number (F) - The bill requires schools to inlcude the national suicide prevention hitline telephone number on student ID cards.

    Referred to Education

    SF 376 - Mental Health Education Requirements (F) - The bill adds mental health awareness, coping skills and suicide prevention to the subnject matter that must be included in a unit of health education.

    Subcommittee: Sinclair, Behn and J. Smith

    SF 342 - Immunity For Reporting Alcohol Injuries (F) - The bill provides immunity from certain alcohol related criminal offenses and prohibits certain disciplinary actions for persons who seek or require emergency assistance for alcohol overdoses.

    Subcommittee: Zaun, Nunn and R. Taylor

    SSB 3020 - Student ID’s Suicide Prevention Number (F) - The bill requires schools to inlcude the national suicide prevention hotline telephone number on student ID cards.

    Subcommittee: Edler, J. Smith and Sweeney

    Subcommittee meeting - 1/21 in Senate Lounge at 3:00 pm

    SSB 3016 - Smoking Age Increase (F) - The bill increases the minimum age to purchase tobacco, tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, vapor products and cigarettes from 18 to 21.

    Subcommittee: Cournoyer, Celsi and R. Smith


  • 20 Jan 2020 8:54 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In December the ISSWA Board voted to adopt the Iowa School Mental Health Alliance, ISMHA, 2020 Legislative Priorities. ISMHA was formed in June 2019 at the Mental Health Symposium organized by Please Pass the Love. ISMHA’s mission is to bring together a large number of stakeholders, beyond just decision-makers, to gain a better understanding of what school mental health looks like, evaluate what is currently being done, assess target goal areas, develop a sustainable statewide action plan, and create an ongoing community of practice to elevate our state's school mental health access and practice. Being a state school mental health advocacy alliance their priorities directly align with our work as school social workers. Here are links to the legislative priorities ISSWA adopted:


  • 12 Jan 2020 10:44 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    New Chairs For Key House Committees

    Three new chairmen will lead House committees for the first time this upcoming Legislative Session.

    Rep. Gary Mohr takes over as the Chair of the House Appropriations Committee.  The House side of the joint House-Senate Infrastructure Appropriations Committee is now chaired by Rep. Jacob Bossman of Sioux City.

    Rep. Bobby Kaufmann of Wilton now leads his chamber’s State Government Committee.


  • 05 Jan 2020 12:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    • January 13 - First day of the 2020 Legislative Session

    • February 21 - “First Funnel,” the day by which bills must be approved by at least one committee in the bill’s chamber of origin to remain eligible for further consideration this Legislative session.

    • March 20 - “Second Funnel,” the day by which a bill must be approved by at least one committee in the bill’s non-originating chamber to remain eligible for further consideration this Legislative session.

    • April 21 - 100th calendar day of the Legislative Session (Lawmaker per diem expenses end)


  • 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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