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The end of session usually includes a collection of important, but controversial bills that have passed in one chamber but not the other. This leads to either the House or the Senate holding the position that any action to finish session must include their priority policy bill. Among these this year are the governor’s E-15 standard bill passed by the House to sell more ethanol. The Senate has passed new re-employment language to get those laid off back into a new job more quickly.

The House has sent us a good Pharmacy Benefits Manager bill that the Senate is still working on, and the Senate has passed a huge Education bill that includes school choice provisions for families. These issues will be most likely be negotiated until the end, with a flurry of compromise and bill passage leading us to the end of the 2022 session.

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The education bill, SF 2369, will probably be the most difficult. It is made up mostly of agreed-to language. Here is a quick break-down to fit the space available:

  • Creates a parent and guardian bill of rights relating to having access to information about their child’s education
  • Adds federal pupil’s rights language to Iowa Code
  • Creates a Student First Scholarship program for students at or below 400% FPL or students with an Individualized Educational Program with a cap of 10,000 total scholarships to be divided half and half between the 400% FPL applicants and students with an IEP
  • Extends operational sharing until 2034 and adds school resources officers to the eligible shared functions
  • Allows schools to appeal to the School Budget Review Committee to go over the cap of 21 up to 24 for the purpose of operational sharing. The SBRC may grant a supplemental amount from the Student First Operational Sharing Fund. This fund receives a funding from the student first scholarship program.
  • Requires students to pass a civics test as a condition of graduation
  • Strikes the requirement that the director of special education at the AEA of the child’s district of enrollment approve placement under competent private instruction
  • Changes code to allow the siblings or stepsiblings to open enroll together if one of the siblings is open enrolling under good cause
  • Eliminates the Praxis exam requirement for graduation from a teacher prep program
  • Allows educators with advanced degrees to have their district professional development verified by their administrator, and this would serve as their renewal requirement for licensure
  • Requires mandatory reporters to report child abuse, even if the child is over age 12
  • Makes all school employees over 18 mandatory reporters
  • Requires that if a licensed school employee reports child abuse and believes another licensed school employee is responsible, the name of the licensed school employee being accused will be in the report

As I said, this is a large bill. The House has passed much of this language. The hold-up for the end of session is the school choice language. In part 2 of this legislative report I will focus in on that section of the bill.

I predicted that we will finish early this year, and I have been proven wrong. There are still some large bills plus the budget being negotiated. We hit our 100th day this week, and on that day the House and Senate pages are sent home, our individual clerks end their work and legislator expense payments ended. This usually helps move things along.

Author: Jason Schultz

State Sen. Jason Schultz served three terms in the House prior to being elected to the Iowa Senate. Schultz served seven years in the National Guard and served as volunteer fire fighter for the Schleswig Volunteer FD for 13 years, two years as the department's chief.

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