03/12/21 Legislative Update

12 Mar 2021 1:53 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Budget Rumblings Begin

Now is the time in the Legislative Session when the focus of the Legislature turns from strictly policy to policy and finances and taxes.

Unofficial, behind-the-scenes talks have begun related to the construction of the fiscal year 2023 budget.

We continue to keep a close eye on, and a sharp ear tuned to, education spending talks, and will update you as soon as any news comes out.


Bills of interest :

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.

Passed the Senate 48-0. Referred to House Human Resources


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 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.

Passed the House 97-0. Referred to Senate Human Resources


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.

Approved by the House 96-0. Senate State Government subcommittee: Koelker, Bisignano and Cournoyer


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. 


Signed into law:

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




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