3/5/21 Legislative Update

05 Mar 2021 7:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

“First Funnel” Claims A Few Victims

The first procedural hurdle of the 2021 Iowa Legislative Session arrived at the close of business yesterday.

The so-called “first funnel” is the date by which a bill must be approved by a standing committee of its house of origin to remain eligible for further consideration that year.

One of the bills not making the “cut” this session is Senate File 80. The bill states that if a student will be asked by a school employee to identify the pronoun by which the student prefers to be called, the school needs to provide written notification of such action to the parent or guardian of the student at least one week before such action occurs.

Other bills calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty, increasing the minimum wage and raising the tax on tobacco products were among a large group that failed to clear the first legislative hurdle in 2021.

The next procedural deadline, the “second funnel,” comes on April 2.  That is the date by which a bill must be approved by a standing committee of the chamber opposite of its origin to remain eligible for further consideration.  

Appropriations, Ways and Means and Government Oversight committee bills are the exceptions to the “funnel” rules, as they are exempt from procedural deadlines.


Special note:

The first list are bills that remain eligible for further consideration.  The second list with bill numbers that are struck through are no longer eligible this session.

Bills of interest (eligible for further consideration):

SF 524 (formerly SSB 1227) - Psych Bed Tracking (F) - This bill establishes an inpatient psychiatric bed tracking system study committee.

The department of public health shall submit a report of the study committee detailing the committee’s findings and recommendations, including a proposed date to implement real-time electronic data tracking, to the general assembly and the governor no later than December 15, 2021.

On Senate debate calendar


SF 354 (formerly SF 163) - CEU Hardship Relief (M) - The bill authorizes a licensing board to extend the deadline to satisfy continuing education requirements by up to 90 days if a board finds that a licensee is experiencing an unforeseen financial or medical hardship and the licensee submits a request to a licensing board to extend the deadline due to the financial or medical hardship accompanied by evidence that the licensee or a member of the licensee’s family is experiencing a financial or medical hardship.

Passed the Senate 48-0. Referred to House State Government


SF 258 (formerly SF 117) - Surtax for School Safety Officers (M) - This bill authorizes school districts to raise additional amounts of property tax or income surtax under the instructional support program for certain school resource officer expenses.

Approved by the Ed Committee. Approved by Ways and Means Subcommittee


SF 160 - Get Back Into the Classroom (A) - This bill, a priority of Governor Reynolds, sets forth the criteria for a school district to provide in-person instruction.

Passed the Senate 29-18; Passed the House 59-39. Signed into law by Governor Reynolds 1/29


SF 159 (formerly SSB 1065) - Governor’s Public Education Plan (A) - The bill relates to the funding and operation of educational offerings in the state by establishing a student first scholarship program for certain pupils attending a nonpublic school, modifying provisions governing voluntary diversity plans, and creating a new charter school program.

Approved by the Senate 26-21 Referred to House Education.


HF 784 (formerly HF 706) - Telehealth Reimbursement (F) - This bill requires a health carrier (carrier) to reimburse a healthcare professional (professional) or facility for health care services (services) provided to a covered person by telehealth on the same basis and at the same rate as the carrier would apply to the same services provided to the covered person by the professional or facility in person. As a condition of reimbursement, the carrier is prohibited from requiring that an additional professional be located in the same room as the covered person while services for a mental health condition, illness, injury, or disease are delivered via telehealth by another professional to the covered person.

On House debate calendar


HF 773 (formerly HF 479) - MH Services Study (F) - This bill requires the department of human services (DHS) to conduct a statewide study of the current availability of mental health services in the state, including the potential value of pursuing a section 1115 demonstration waiver as specified under the federal 21st Century Cures Act, to provide for reimbursement for services provided in settings that qualify as institutions for mental diseases. DHS shall submit a final report of the results of the study to the governor and to the  general assembly by February 15, 2022. The bill takes effect upon enactment.

On House debate calendar


HF 691 (formerly HSB 172) - Nonlicensed Practitioners (M) - This bill requires the department of human services to amend the Medicaid state plan approved March 10, 2015, and retroactively effective to December 1, 2014, relating to preventive services for early and periodic screening, diagnosis, and treatment benefits, beginning July 1, 2021, to provide that the types of nonlicensed practitioners providing such services may include, in addition to noncertified staff with a bachelor’s degree in education, psychology, social work, occupational therapy, physical therapy, or speech language pathology.

On House debate calendar


HF 585 (formerly HSB 76) - Safe and Sound Program (A) - This bill provides for the establishment of the safe and sound program within the department of public safety, for participation in or use of the program by schools and students, and for penalties for providing false identification information through the program.

The safe and sound program is established for purposes of developing and implementing a system for receiving anonymous reports and other information from the public in regard to potential self-harm and potential harm or criminal acts including threats of violence, sexual abuse, assault, or bullying directed at school students and school entities.

Disappointingly the proposal as written does not provide anonymity for those who make reports of suspected incidents of concern.  The bill also provides immunity from liability to the department of public safety yet does not provide such protections for school employees.

On House debate calendar.


HF 485 (formerly HF 107) - In-Person Clinical Supervision (M) - The bill provides that the board of social work and the board of behavioral science shall not require that supervision of an applicant for a license as a social worker, marital or family therapist, or mental health counselor be completed in-person.

On House debate calendar


HF 285 (formerly HSB 61) - 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. The bill as proposed would also likely impede the use of therapeutic music by non music therapists.

Approved by the House 89-4. 



Bills of interest (NOT eligible for further consideration):


SF 168 - AEA Special Ed Service Mandate (M) - This bill requires that certain services and support that an area education agency (AEA) must provide to a nonpublic school student must, if the parent or guardian of the student receiving the services grants permission, be provided on the nonpublic school premises.

Approved by subcommittee


SF 80 - Student Pronouns (A) - This bill requires a school district, if a student will be asked by a school employee or in a school communication to identify the pronoun by which the student prefers to be called, or will be asked to take a survey on pronoun preference, to provide written notification of such action to the parent or guardian of the student at least one week before such action occurs. After the identification or survey has occurred, the bill requires the school district to provide the student’s identification or survey response to the student’s parent or guardian upon request.

Subcommittee: Sinclair, Carlin and Celsi


SF 78 - Psychology Compact (M) - This bill creates an interstate compact to allow psychologists from other states to practice telepsychology with patients living in Iowa, to practice “face-to-face” psychology on a temporary basis in Iowa, and to allow Iowa psychologists to practice telepsychology with patients in other states.

Not approved by subcommittee


SF 58 - Human Growth and Development Curriculum (F) - This bill provides that the age-appropriate and research-based instruction in human growth and development, which each school board must provide, must include instruction regarding dating violence and affirmative, conscious, and voluntary consent to engage in sexual activity.

Subcommittee: Sinclair, Rosenboom and J Smith


SF 9 - 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. The bill as proposed would also likely impede the use of therapeutic music by non music therapists.

Subcommittee: Whiting, Giddens and Schultz


SSB 1070 - Safe and Sound Program (A) - This bill provides for the establishment of the safe and sound program within the department of public safety, for participation in or use of the program by schools and students, and for penalties for providing false identification information through the program.

The safe and sound program is established for purposes of developing and implementing a system for receiving anonymous reports and other information from the public in regard to potential self-harm and potential harm or criminal acts including threats of violence, sexual abuse, assault, or bullying directed at school students and school entities.

The proposal does not provide anonymity for those who make reports of suspected incidents of concern.  The bill also provides immunity from liability to the department of public safety yet does not provide such protections for school employees.

Not approved by subcommittee


HF 101 - Teacher Recruitment and Retention Task Force (M) - This bill directs the director of the department of education to establish and convene a teacher recruitment and retention task force. If the bill does move forward it should be expanded to include school social worker recruitment and retention.

Referred to Education




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