SENATE AND HOUSE STILL FAR APART ON KEY PROPOSAL
The House and Senate remain at loggerheads over the issue of establishing a school voucher program in the state.
The voucher program is the centerpiece of Governor Reynolds’ education initiatives for the 2022 Legislative Session.
So far the Senate has approved the bill (SF 2369) that includes this program, but the House has not, and there is no indication that the chamber plans on considering the legislation.
This disagreement between the legislative chambers has brought budget negotiations to a standstill.
The per diem (expense) payments for lawmakers for the 2022 Legislative Session end on April 19th.
TELL HOUSE MEMBERS YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT A VOUCHER PROPOSAL
As the House continues to assess its level of support for a school voucher program, it is important that you share your views on the proposal with members of the House of Representatives.
To find the House of Representatives members in your area, and their contact information, please visit the webpage below:
Bills of Interest:
(HF - House File, HSB - House Study Bill, SF - Senate File, SSB - Senate Study Bill)
SF 2369 (formerly SF 2349 and SSB 3080) - Governor’s School Omnibus (M) - Included in this 20-page bill are provision that establish a student first scholarship program and a student first enrollment supplement fund; require the boards of directors of school districts to publish certain specified information regarding curriculum; as well as modifying provisions related to required social studies instruction, open enrollment, teacher librarian endorsements, competent private instruction, and special education.
Approved by the Senate 31-18. Referred to House Appropriations
SF 2195 (formerly SSB 3003) - Mental Health Professional Loan Program (F) - This bill establishes the mental health professional loan repayment program within the college student aid commission. The bill provides that the commission is to administer the mental health professional loan repayment program for purposes of providing loan repayments for mental health professionals who agree to practice in an eligible practice area.
The bill limits the annual amount of loan repayment a mental health professional may receive to $8,000 for an eligible loan. The bill provides that the total loan repayments from the commission to a mental health professional shall not exceed $40,000.
“Mental health professional” means a non prescribing individual who holds at least a master’s degree from an eligible institution in a mental health field, including psychology, counseling and guidance, social work, marriage and family therapy, or mental health counseling.
On Senate debate calendar
HF 2578 - Health and Human Services Appropriations (F) - Included in this 79-page bill is the requirement that the DHS to submit a Medicaid state plan amendment to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to request the addition of functional family therapy and multisystemic therapy for youth as covered services under the Medicaid program. The Department will include functional family therapy and multisystemic therapy under the Medicaid program as covered services upon receipt of federal approval. The bill also includes a $200,000 appropriation for the provision of this therapy;
The bill also prohibits health carriers from excluding out-of-state health care professionals who provide services for mental health conditions, illnesses, injuries, or diseases from participating as providers via telehealth, under a policy, plan, or contract offered by the health carrier if the professional is licensed in Iowa, is able to deliver health care services for mental health via telehealth and is able to satisfy the same criteria that the carrier uses to qualify in-state professionals, who hold the same license as the out-of-state professional, as providers.
Also in the bill $7.4 million is appropriated for the reduction of the HCBS waiver waiting list for individuals with intellectual disabilities.
Approved by the House 60-35. Referred to Senate Appropriations
HF 2575 - Education Appropriations (F) - Included in this spending bill for fiscal year 2023 are two provisions of interest; 1) $1.5 M for the Mental Health Professional Loan Repayment Program; and 2) $3,183,936 for the continuation of the Children’s Mental Health School-Based Training and Support program
Approved by the House 58-36. Referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
HF 2567 (formerly HF 2505 and HSB 702) - Mandatory Reporters/School Employee Investigations (M) - The bill requires the Department of Education to develop and implement a process for the reporting and investigation of any incident that arises which may reasonably lead to the conclusion that a licensed practitioner employed by the board of directors of a school district or the authorities in charge of an accredited nonpublic school has violated any law. The bill establishes that the process requires the creation of a committee to investigate these incidents. The bill requires the committee to meet to evaluate the incident and determine whether the licensed practitioner should be placed on administrative leave during the investigation.
Approved by the House 93-0. Senate subcommittee of Sinclair, Goodwin and Quirmbach
HF 2554 (formerly HF 2553 and HF 2310) - Functional Family Therapy (M) - This bill requires the department of human services to submit a Medicaid state plan amendment to include functional family therapy (FFT) and multisystemic therapy (MST) for youth as covered services under the Medicaid program. Both FFT and MST are evidence-based treatments for youth that address a youth’s home and environment to reduce problematic behavior and divert the youth from the juvenile justice system. The language of this bill is also included in HF 2578.
Passed the House 94-0.
HF 2549 (formerly HF 2137 and HSB 537) - MH Professional Loan Repayment Program (F) - This bill establishes a mental health practitioner and mental health professional loan repayment program, and provides an appropriation. The bill requires the Iowa Student Aid Commission to establish a mental health practitioner loan repayment program for the purposes of providing loan repayments for mental health practitioners who agree to practice in service commitment areas for at least five years and meet the requirements of the program. “Mental health practitioner” means a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a mental health professional, a physician assistant practicing under the supervision of a psychiatrist, or a psychiatric advanced registered nurse practitioner. “Mental health professional” means an individual who holds at least a master’s degree from an eligible institution in a mental health field, including psychology, counseling and guidance, social work, marriage and family therapy, or mental health counseling.
Approved by the House 94-2.
HF 2398 (formerly HSB 656) - Doctors or Masters BOEE One Time Licenses and Non Public School Background Checks (M) - The bill allows the Board of Educational Examiners to have no renewal requirements for a practitioner who has been employed as a practitioner for at least ten years and has a master’s or doctoral degree. The bill also requires nonpublic schools to utilize the Iowa courts online system, sex offender registry and child abuse registry for employee background checks.
Approved by House 99-0. On the Senate debate calendar.
HF 2298 (formerly HF 2040) - Covid Vaccination Not Required For School (A) - This bill prohibits requiring an immunization against COVID-19 for a person to be enrolled in any licensed child care center, elementary or secondary school, or postsecondary school in Iowa prior to July 1, 2029, notwithstanding whether a person’s attendance is in person or virtual.
Approved by the House 57-36. On the House debate calendar.
Approved by both the House and Senate:
HF 2416 (formerly HF 2309) - Athletic Participation (A) - The bill requires an college, junior college or interscholastic athletic team, sport,or athletic event that is sponsored or sanctioned by an accredited nonpublic school, school district, or athletic organization must be designated as females, women, or girls; males, men, or boys; or coeducational or mixed based on the sex at birth of the participating students. The bill also requires that only female students, based on their sex, may participate in any team, sport, or athletic event designated as being for females, women, or girls. The bill defines “sex” to mean a person’s biological sex as either female or male, and provides that the sex listed on the student’s official birth certificate or certificate issued upon adoption may be relied upon if the certificate was issued at or near the time of the student’s birth.
Approved by the House 55-39. Approved by the Senate 31-17. Signed into law by the Governor.
SF 2197 (formerly SF 168) - Non Public School Special Services (M) - The bill requires the Department of Education to convene and provide administrative support to the task force. The bill requires the task force to study and make recommendations regarding how to better serve students enrolled in nonpublic schools who receive special education services. The bill requires the task force to submit a report that includes findings and recommendations for policy changes to the General Assembly by December 1, 2022.
Approved by the Senate 46-0. Approved by the House 94-0.