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2017 Legislative Updates

2017 Legislative Updates

End of Session Wrap-Up

April 24, 2017

The 2017 Iowa Legislature adjourned sine die for the year on Saturday, April 22nd.  The Governor has 30 days to sign legislation into law.Interior of Iowa Capitol Dome

Here’s some highlights of legislation adopted this year that impacts UNI:

SF 130 – FY 17 De-appropriation Bill

Effective March 1st, UNI’s fiscal year (FY) 2017 general aid operating base budget was cut a total of $2.5 million in the de-appropriations bill.

HF 642 – Education Budget Bill

UNI’s FY18 appropriation was $3.3 million less then the original FY17 budget.

Here’s how UNI’s line-items are funded for FY 18 in the bill:

  • $93,712,362 for UNI’s general aid operating base budget, a reduction of $822,870 from FY 17 (after the de-appropriation).
  • $175,256 for recycling and reuse program, which is no change from FY 17.
  • $125,302 for the real estate program, which is no change from FY 17.
  • $5,446,375 for the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, which is housed at UNI. This is an increase of $246,375 from FY 17.
  • The bill did not provide a line-item appropriation to the Center for Violence Prevention/Governor's Office for Bullying Prevention.

There is also some policy language contained in this budget bill:

  • Repeals the All Iowa Opportunity Foster Care Grant financial aid program and allows the Iowa foster care students to be eligible and given priority in the All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship financial aid program.
  • Rescinds statutory requirements regarding summer reading programs and requirements for third grade retention.
  • Rescinds statutory requirements for teacher mentoring and induction programs and creates a voluntary teacher mentoring and induction option, which may be paid for by professional development funds at the school district level.

SF 513 – Economic Development Budget Bill

The bill provides status quo funding for UNI’s business and community services (BCS) from the Skilled Worker and Job Creation Fund. This includes $1,066,419 for UNI’s economic development programs and $900,000 of the $3 million appropriation to the Regents Innovation Fund. Five programs receive funding from the economic development appropriation and the Regents Innovation Fund:

  1. Center for Business Growth and Innovation (CBGI).  This group of programs works with business startups, small businesses and second stage companies across the state through Advance Iowa, assists Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) with IASourceLink (22,000 users) and Business Concierge (1,300 users), Dream Big Grow Here (100 companies) and hosts a regional Small Business Development Center (SBDC). 
  2. Institute for Decision Making (IDM) has assisted more than 750 communities across Iowa with their economic future.  The program plays a substantial role in regional development, regional entrepreneurship, workforce development, and assisting IEDA, Iowa Workforce Development and the Dept. of Education with special research and projects.  This is Iowa’s primary resource for local economic development strategies.  State funding serves as a match for a 5-year US Economic Development Administration University Center program for regional entrepreneurship that requires a full match of $150,000 per year.   
  3. Metal Casting Center (MCC) and Additive Manufacturing. Works with small and medium companies across the state and is the best equipped and innovative 3D design and printing center for casting companies in the US.  All branches of the military are using UNI’s MCC.  Just finishing a renovation and expansion of Additive Manufacturing space at TechWorks through a Strategic Infrastructure Fund grant of $2.7 million.  Provides services to Iowa’s foundries and supply chain.
  4. Strategic Marketing Services. Uses some of the Regents Innovation Fund money to match the cost of market research for small Iowa companies and special projects for IEDA and Iowa utility companies.
  5. Technology Transfer. Supports early stage faculty research with commercial potential; the Regents Innovation Fund is the only source of funds.  

HF 643 – Infrastructure Budget Bill

No UNI buildings were funded.

SF 516 – Standings and Miscellaneous Budget Bill

The art in State buildings requirement (that the universities dedicate at least one-half of one percent of the total estimated cost of a building or group of buildings to fine arts) was repealed.

Additional Policy Bills

Below is a partial list of policy bills you may find of interest that were adopted this session.

HF 217 adds a requirement that school administrators must report to the Board of Educational Examiners disciplinary actions taken against a licensed school employee for being on school grounds or at a school-sponsored activity while under the influence of, possessing, using, or consuming illegal drugs, unauthorized drugs, or alcohol.

HF 291: Only wages are mandated subject for collective bargaining. The bill lists permissible subjects.

HF 295: Provides for state preemption for setting the minimum wage.

HF 472: Makes teachers who receive forgivable loans under the teacher shortage programs ineligible to receive Teach Iowa Scholar grants, and makes a teacher who receives a Teach Iowa Scholar grant ineligible for the teacher loan forgiveness programs.

HF 473: Allows a General Education Degree applicant to apply to a High School Equivalency Program and a testing center. Requires the Department of Education to prescribe assessments rather than to adopt tests.

HF 517: Amends Iowa’s Firearms law including allowing for reasonable force. The Board of Regents is still allowed to ban weapons on campus.

HF 518: Updates Iowa’s workers compensation law.

HF 541: Updates Iowa’s real estate law.

HF 601: Confidentiality of certain cyber security and critical infrastructure information developed and maintained by a government body.

SF 238: Expands the criminal offense of sexual exploitation by a school employee to include a person employed by a school district full-time, part-time or as a substitute; and a person who performs services as a volunteer or contract employee for a school district and who has significant contact with students.

SF 240: Requires the Iowa Department of Education to issue a new Request for Proposals for the selection of a statewide assessment of student progress to be administered in the school year beginning July 1, 2018. The Department of Education must issue the Request for Proposals by July 1, 2017.

SF 274: Requires the Iowa Department of Education to establish high-quality standards for computer science education taught by elementary, middle and high schools. The Board of Educational Examiners is also required to establish endorsements and authorizations for computer science instruction, including traditional and nontraditional pathways for obtaining such endorsements or authorizations. The Department of Education is required to convene a computer science education work group (which is to include a representative of higher education) to identify and recommend measures for incentivizing school districts and accredited nonpublic schools to meet the goals.

SF 413: Strikes the 15 year statute of repose and replaces it with a statute of repose that is specific to certain structures (nuclear power plants, or interstate pipelines, 15 years; residential construction, 10 years; and actions related to, or improvement to other real property, including university property, 8 years)

As always, if you have any questions do not hesitate to email me at mary.braun@uni.edu.

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 14

April 14, 2017

The Legislature began debating budget bills this week. Here’s a summary of those that affect UNI:

HF 642/SF 511 – Education Budget Bill

UNI is cut an additional $822,870 to our general aid operating base budget. This is on top of the recent $2.5 million deappropriation, for a total of $3.3 million. Combined, this amounts to a 3.4% cut to our base budget.  To compare, last session the Legislature had only provided us an additional $2.8 million in new dollars for FY 17 for our operating budget.

Here’s how the bills fund our line-items:

  • $93,712,362 for UNI’s general operating budget, a cut of $822,870 from the current fiscal year (FY) 17 after the deappropriation and $3,345,370 below the original appropriation for FY 17
  • $175,256 for recycling and reuse program, which is no change from FY 17
  • $125,302 for the real estate program, which is no change from FY 17
  • $5,446,375 for the Governor’s STEM Council, which is housed at UNI. This is an increase of $246,375 from FY 17

The bill also:

  • Repeals the All Iowa Opportunity Foster Care Grant financial aid program and allows the foster care students to be eligible and given priority to the All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship financial aid program.
  • Allows the Iowa Tuition Grants that students at for-profit and private colleges and universities can access to increase from $6,000 to the average resident tuition and mandatory fees for two semesters or the equivalent of undergraduate study at the Board of Regents institutions.
  • Rescinds statutory requirements regarding summer reading programs and requirements for third grade retention.
  • Rescinds statutory requirements for teacher mentoring and induction programs and creates a voluntary teacher mentoring and induction option, which may be paid for by professional development funds at the school district level.
  • Funding for the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University is eliminated and their groundwater protection fund dollars are transferred to the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Center at ISU (language is also contained in the agriculture and natural resources budget bills HF 641/SF 510)

SSB 1196 – Economic Development Budget Bill

The bill provides status quo funding for UNI’s business and community services funding from the Skilled Worker and Job Creation Fund. This includes $1,066,419 for UNI’s economic development programs and $900,000 of the $3 million appropriation to the Regents Innovation Fund. Five programs receive funding from the economic development appropriation and the Regents Innovation Fund:

  1. Center for Business Growth and Innovation (CBGI).  This group of programs works with business startups, small businesses and second stage companies across the state through Advance Iowa, assists Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) with IASourceLink (22,000 users) and Business Concierge (1,300 users), Dream Big Grow Here (100 companies) and hosts a regional Small Business Development Center (SBDC). 
  2. Institute for Decision Making (IDM). Has assisted more than 750 communities across Iowa with their economic future.  The program plays a substantial role in regional development, regional entrepreneurship, workforce development, and assisting IEDA, Iowa Workforce Development and the Dept. of Education with special research and projects.  This is Iowa’s primary resource for local economic development strategies.  State funding serves as a match for a 5-year US Economic Development Administration University Center program for regional entrepreneurship that requires a full match of $150,000 per year.   
  3. Metal Casting Center (MCC) and Additive Manufacturing. Works with small and medium companies across the state and is the best equipped and innovative 3D design and printing center for casting companies in the US.  All branches of the military are using UNI’s MCC.  Just finishing a renovation and expansion of Additive Manufacturing space at TechWorks through a Strategic Infrastructure Fund grant of $2.7 million.  Provides services to Iowa’s foundries and supply chain.
  4. Strategic Marketing Services. Uses some of the Regents Innovation Fund money to match the cost of market research for small Iowa companies and special projects for IEDA and Iowa utility companies.
  5. Technology Transfer. Supports early stage faculty research with commercial potential; the Regents Innovation Fund is the only source of funds. 

The bills also transfer the Iowa Energy Center at Iowa State University to the Iowa Economic Development Authirity effective Oct. 1st. The Center is then sunset on July 1, 2022.

HF 643 – Infrastructure Budget Bill

The bill does not provide any funding for our request to modernize Rod Library.

The Iowa Legislature is holding a public hearing on Monday, April 17th from 10am to noon at the State Capitol Building in Des Moines regarding all of the budget bills.  Here’s how you can sign up if you want to come to Des Moines and voice your concerns: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/committees/publicHearings?meetingID=25619&action=viewOnlineSignup

Next week Tuesday is the 100th day of session which is when legislators’ per diem expenses end.

As always, if you have any questions do not hesitate to email me at mary.braun@uni.edu.

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 13

April 7, 2017

The Legislature released their fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget targets this week. Their spending level, $7.245 billion is $38 million below the Governor’s revised budget recommendation and $14 million below the current revised budget. The targets spend 98% of total available revenue (which is $7.364 billion). These targets maintain the $40 million already committed to K-12 education for FY 2018.

For the education budget subcommittee, the target is $18 million below the revised FY 17 appropriation. For the economic development budget subcommittee, no money will be transferred from the Skilled Worker and Job Creation Fund which is where UNI gets nearly $2 million in state funding for Business and Community Services. No details of these budget subcommittees has been released as well as no details from the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund for our Rod Library infrastructure request.

All budget subcommittee meetings are on call for next week. We’re hoping for details about each of the budget bills early next week.

Also this week, the three Board of Regents appointments received unanimous confirmation from the Senate. Nancy Boettger is a former teacher who served in the Iowa Senate from 1995 to 2015. Nancy Dunkel is a retired banker who served in the Iowa House from 2013 to 2017 and also served on the Iowa Economic Development Board. Regent Sherry Bates has served on the board for two years and is being re-appointed. They will start their six-year terms on May 1st.

There are only 11 days left until the 100th day of session, April 18, which is when legislators per diem expenses end.

As always, if you have any questions do not hesitate to email me at mary.braun@uni.edu.

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 12

March 31, 2017

The Governor’s revised budget recommendations were released on Tuesday evening. For fiscal year 17, the Governor’s revised budget recommendation uses money from the cash reserves fund to fill the $131 million deficit. He pays this back with the fiscal year 18 ending balance and an appropriation in fiscal year 19.

For fiscal year 18, the Governor’s revised general fund budget recommendations cut the three public universities base budgets an additional $3 million on top of the cuts we’ve already received in fiscal year 17. UNI is cut an additional $572,000. He does recommendt funding UNI's Center for Violence Prevention at our requested level of $250,000 and provides a $279,000 increase to the Governor's STEM Advisory Council, which is housed at UNI. Also, as part of his recommendation, he transfers $17 million of gaming revenue from the Skilled Worker and Job Creation Fund into the general fund. Part of that transfer comes from eliminating the three universities economic development and entrepreneurship funding for one year, fiscal year 18, and then the money is restored in fiscal year 19. All of the UNI’s state funding for business and community services, just over $2 million, comes from this fund.

We expect joint legislative targets early to mid-week next week. The Legislature is the governmental body that crafts the budget and appropriates the funds to state agencies and the universities. Reports in the newspapers say their general fund targets will be lower than the Governor’s recommendations. No budget subcommittees are scheduled for next week. Once the targets are set I expect the budget bills to move pretty quickly.

The second funnel week in the Legislature ended on Friday. For a bill to remain alive this session House bills needed to be voted out of Senate Committees and Senate bills needed to be voted out of House Committees. This does not apply to spending, taxing and government oversight bills.

Below is a partial list of policy bills you may find of interest that remain alive this session.

HF 217 adds a requirement that school administrators must report to the Board of Educational Examiners disciplinary actions taken against a licensed school employee for being on school grounds or at a school-sponsored activity while under the influence of, possessing, using, or consuming illegal drugs, unauthorized drugs, or alcohol (signed into law).

HF 295: Provides for state preemption for setting the minimum wage (signed into law on Thursday).

HF 472: Makes teachers who receive forgivable loans under the teacher shortage programs ineligible to receive Teach Iowa Scholar grants, and makes a teacher who receives a Teach Iowa Scholar grant ineligible for the teacher loan forgiveness programs.

HF 473: Requires a student to show demonstrated competence in core areas rather than satisfactory competence. Allows a General Education Degree applicant to apply to a high school equivalency program and a testing center.

HF 517: Amends Iowa’s Firearms law including allowing for reasonable force. The bill no longer prohibits campuses from banning weapons; that decision will remain with the Board of Regents.

HF 518: Updates Iowa’s workers compensation law (signed into law on Thursday).

HF 541: Updates Iowa’s real estate law.

SF 238 expands the criminal offense of sexual exploitation by a school employee to include a person employed by a school district full-time, part-time or as a substitute; and a person who performs services as a volunteer or contract employee for a school district and who has significant contact with students.

SF 240 requires the Department of Education to issue a new Request for Proposals for the selection of a statewide assessment of student progress to be administered in the school year beginning July 1, 2018. The assessment must measure individual student growth and be aligned to the Iowa Core for grades three through eight, and at least one high school grade. The assessment must be capable of measuring student performance in English language arts, mathematics and science. The assessment must be available in both paper-and-pencil and computer-based formats. Proposals incapable of assessing performance in English language arts, including reading and writing, mathematics, and science are not to be considered. The Department of Education must issue the Request for Proposals by April 30, 2017.

SF 274 requires the Department of Education to establish high-quality standards for computer science education taught by elementary, middle and high schools. The Board of Educational Examiners is also required to establish endorsements and authorizations for computer science instruction, including traditional and nontraditional pathways for obtaining such endorsements or authorizations. The Iowa Department of Education is required to convene a computer science education work group to identify and recommend measures for incentivizing school districts and accredited nonpublic schools to meet the goals.

SF 349 strikes the $6,000 limit on the amount of an Iowa tuition grant for full-time students who attend private colleges and universities, and limits the grant to no more than the average cost of tuition and fees at the state universities.

SF 350: Allows a General Education Degree applicant to apply to a High School Equivalency Program and a testing center. Requires the Department of Education to prescribe assessments rather than to adopt tests.

SF 385: Updates the Uniform Athletic Agent Act.

SF 413: Reduces the Statute-of-Repose for real property improvement to 8 years.

Upcoming events:

Apr. 18 – 100th day of session when legislators per diem expenses end.

As always, if you have any questions do not hesitate to email me at mary.braun@uni.edu.

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 11

March 24, 2017

The Legislature spent the week debating bills in committee and on the floor within their respective chamber. They are working on policy bills due to next Friday being the second legislative funnel deadline. By March 31st, House bills need to pass the House and be voted out of a Senate Committee and Senate bills need to pass the Senate and be voted out of a House Committee for them to remain eligible for consideration this session. This does not apply to spending, taxing and government oversight bills.

If you would like to see the full list of bills that the Board of Regents is registered to lobby on2017 Senate Confirmation Hearing for Nancy Boettger, Sherry Bates, and Nancy Dunkel click here. Click on Retrieve Bills by Client and type in Board of Regents, State of Iowa as the Client Name. When you click on the Submit button you’ll get the list of bills sorted by the date the registration was filed (most recently registered bills come up first).

This week, on Wednesday, two new members and one re-appointment to the Iowa Board of Regents had their confirmation hearings before the members of the Senate Education Committee.  Nancy Boettger is a former teacher who served in the Iowa Senate from 1995 to 2015. Nancy Dunkel is a retired banker who served in the Iowa House from 2013 to 2017 and also served on the Iowa Economic Development Board. Regent Sherry Bates has served on the board for two years and is being re-appointed to a six-year term. We expect the three conferees to be confirmed by the full Senate in early April. They will start their terms on May 1st.

We are awaiting for House and Senate leaders to release their fiscal year (FY) 2018 targets for each budget subcommittee. There are no budget subcommittee meetings scheduled for next week. The big decline in the March revenue estimate has put a huge challenge on the state’s budget. The Governor’s revised FY 2017, FY 2018 and FY 2019 budgets are expected to be dropped next Wednesday. We expect joint legislative targets soon after that, hopefully by the end of next week.

Upcoming events:

Mar. 29 – Last day for Governor Branstad to submit his revised FY 2017 and FY 2018 budget recommendations (because of the lower March revenue estimates).

Mar. 31 – Second funnel date when House bills need to be voted out of Senate Committees and Senate bills need to be voted out of House Committees for them to remain eligible for consideration this session. This does not apply to spending, taxing and government oversight bills.

Apr. 18 – 100th day of session when legislators per diem expenses end.

As always, if you have any questions do not hesitate to email me at mary.braun@uni.edu.

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 10

March 17, 2017

The state’s budget estimate has been lowered for fiscal year 2017 and 2018. The Governor and Legislature have to use these lower revenue estimates to craft this year’s and next year’s state budget. Clck here to read a summary from the Legislature's non-partisan Legislative Services Agency.

Last December, the three-member Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) reduced the current fiscal year budget, FY 17, by nearly $100 million. This week, the REC projected another reduction of state revenues of $131 million. The REC lowered their December estimate to $7.106 billion. From FY 16, this represents a 2.7% increase.

The Governor and Legislature have already approved Senate File 130 earlier this session, which provided selective deappropriations to state agencies for FY 17 including $2.5 million to UNI. To make up the new $131 deficit, the Governor and Legislative leaders are recommending dipping into the state’s cash reserve fund. Currently, the state has $738 million in reserve funds — $184.5 million in the economic emergency fund and $553.5 million in the cash reserve.

As for next year’s budget, FY 18, the REC reduced their estimate from 4.8% to 3.6% growth, for a total of $7.365 billion. Although this estimate is lower than their December estimate, it is a $258.5 million increase from the new FY 17 estimate. Iowa’s spending limitation law means the Legislature and the Governor can only spend, at the most, 99% of this amount, which is $7.291 billion.

We are waiting for House and Senate leaders to release their FY 18 targets for each budget subcommittee. There are no budget subcommittee meetings scheduled for next week.

Upcoming events:

Mar. 31 – Second funnel date when House bills need to be voted out of Senate Committees and Senate bills need to be voted out of House Committees for them to remain eligible for consideration this session. This does not apply to spending, taxing and government oversight bills.

Apr. 18 – 100th day of session when legislators per diem expenses end.

As always, if you have any questions do not hesitate to email me at mary.braun@uni.edu.

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 9

March 10, 2017

The Legislature spent this week debating bills on the floor and in committees. A few Education Committee Bills that may interest you include:

SF 274 requires the Department of Education to establish high-quality standards for computer science education taught by elementary, middle, and high schools. The Board of Educational Examiners is required to establish endorsements and authorizations for computer science instruction, including traditional and nontraditional pathways for obtaining such endorsements or authorizations.

The bill establishes a computer science professional development incentive fund where schools, or a collaborative of one or more school districts, accredited nonpublic schools, and area education agencies, may apply to the department for moneys to provide proven professional development activities for Iowa teachers in the area of computer science education. The following findings and declarations from the general assembly are established in the bill:

  • That instruction in high-quality computer science for elementary, middle school, and high school students establishes a foundation for personal and professional success in a high-technology, knowledge-based Iowa economy.
  • It is the goal of the general assembly that by July 1, 2019, each accredited high school offer at least one high-quality computer science course, each accredited middle school offer instruction in exploratory computer science, and each accredited elementary school offer instruction in the basics of computer science.
  • It is the intent of the general assembly to appropriate moneys for purposes of the computer science professional development incentive fund for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2018.

The Department of Education is required to convene a computer science education work group to identify and recommend measures for incentivizing school districts and accredited nonpublic schools to meet the goals. The membership of the work group will represent K-12 school districts and accredited nonpublic schools, higher education, business, labor, legislators and other appropriate stakeholders. Findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation, in a report to the governor, the state board of education, and the general assembly must be submitted by November 1, 2017. [The Senate passed the bill and it is now in the House Appropriations Committee for consideration]

SF 240 requires the Department of Education to issue a new Request for Proposals for the selection of a statewide assessment of student progress to be administered in the school year beginning July 1, 2018. The assessment must measure individual student growth and be aligned to the Iowa Core for grades three through eight, and at least one high school grade. The assessment must be capable of measuring student performance in English language arts, mathematics and science. The assessment must be available in both paper-and-pencil and computer-based formats. Proposals incapable of assessing performance in English language arts, including reading and writing, mathematics, and science are not to be considered. The Department of Education must issue the Request for Proposals by April 30, 2017. [The Senate passed the bill and it is now in the House Education Committee for consideration]

SF 349 strikes the $6,000 limit on the amount of an Iowa tuition grant for full-time students who attend private colleges and universities and limits the grant to no more than the average cost of tuition and fees at the state universities. [The Senate passed the bill and it is now in the House Education Committee for consideration]

HF 217 adds a requirement that school administrators must report to the Board of Educational Examiners disciplinary actions taken against a licensed school employee for being on school grounds or at a school-sponsored activity while under the influence of, possessing, using, or consuming illegal drugs, unauthorized drugs, or alcohol. [Both the House and Senate have passed the bill and it now awaits the Governor’s signature]

SF 238 expands the criminal offense of sexual exploitation by a school employee to include a person employed by a school district full-time, part-time or as a substitute; and a person who performs services as a volunteer or contract employee for a school district and who has significant contact with students. [The Senate passed the bill and it is now on the House calendar for consideration]

Upcoming events:

Mar. 14 – Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) meets and provides the revenue estimate for the state’s fiscal year (FY) 2017 and FY 2018 budgets. Iowa law says the Legislature can only spend 99% of the REC estimate.

Mar. 31 – Second funnel date when House bills need to be voted out of Senate Committees and Senate bills need to be voted out of House Committees for them to remain eligible for consideration this session. This does not apply to spending, taxing and government oversight bills.

Apr. 18 – 100th day of session when legislators per diem expenses end.

As always, if you have any questions do not hesitate to email me at mary.braun@uni.edu.

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 8

March 3, 2017

The first funnel week in the Legislature ended this week. For a bill to remain alive this session House bills need to be voted out of House Committees and Senate bills need to be voted out of Senate Committees. This does not apply to spending, taxing and government oversight bills.

Two bills that did not survive the funnel were SF 41, which would have eliminated tenure at Regent universities and SF 288, which would have required political party balance for Regent universities faculty.

Below is a partial list of bills you may find of interest that did pass out of a committee and continue to remain alive this session. There is a second funnel date that continues to whittle down the list of bills eligible to be debated. The second funnel is March 31st, when House bills need to be passed out of Senate Committees and Senate bills need to be passed out of House Committees to remain alive.

Bills that remain eligible to be debated:

HF 217: Requires school administrators report disciplinary actions taken against a licensed school employee for being on school grounds or at a school-sponsored activity while consuming, possessing or being under the influence of drugs or alcohol to the Board of Educational Examiners.

HF 220: Requires High School students and General Education Degree applicants to pass the same civics exam as required for new U.S. citizens.

HF 265: Prohibits state and local agencies, governments and employees, including the state universities and the community colleges, from taking actions that limit the enforcement of federal immigration law to less than the full extent allowed by law. 

HF 295: Provides for state preemption for setting the minimum wage.

HF 419: Allows peace officers to teach drivers education.

HF 472: Makes teachers who receive forgivable loans under the teacher shortage programs ineligible to receive Teach Iowa Scholar grants, and makes a teacher who receives a Teach Iowa Scholar grant ineligible for the teacher loan forgiveness programs.

HF 473/SF 350: Requires a student to show demonstrated competence in core areas rather than satisfactory competence. Allows a General Education Degree applicant to apply to a High School Equivalency Program and a testing center.

HF 474: Directs the Iowa College Student Aid Commission to adopt rules on uncollectible student debt and on charging off uncollectible debt.

HF 507/SF 274: This Governor bill requires the state Board of Education to adopt computer science education standards and requires the Board of Educational Examiners to establish a computer science teacher endorsement. Requires the Department of Education to establish a computer science education workgroup to develop incentives for schools to offer high-quality computer courses.

HF 514: Changes the make-up of the Iowa College Student Aid Commission.

HF 517: Amends Iowa’s firearms law including allowing for reasonable force. The bill no longer prohibits campuses from banning weapons; that decision will remain with the Board of Regents.

HF 518/SSB 1170: Updates Iowa’s workers compensation law.

HSB 94: Authorizes the Iowa College Student Aid Commission to deny, suspend or revoke a post-secondary school’s registration if the school engages in certain prohibited conduct.

HSB 125: Updates Iowa’s real estate law.

SF 349: Strikes the $6,000 limit on the amount of an Iowa tuition grant for private colleges and universities. Limits the grant to no more than the average cost of tuition and fees at the state universities.

SF 385: Updates the Uniform Athletic Agent Act.

SSB 1137: Relates to educational programs developed or administered by the Department of Education or the State Board of Education, school districts, or accredited nonpublic schools, and to school-age children’s health screenings.

As always, if you have any questions do not hesitate to email me at mary.braun@uni.edu.

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 7

February 24, 2017

President Mark Nook presented UNI's fiscal year 2018 budget request to the Senators and Representatives on the Education Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday. Because 88% of students enrolled at UNI are from Iowa and 92% of the students from Iowa stay in Iowa after graduation, UNI educates Iowans for Iowa. This makes our partnership with the Iowa General Assembly so important; state appropriations account for 54% of UNI’s total operating budget.

Our request includes a 2% increase to our base operations budget plus an additional $2.5 million for strategic investments. These investments will change UNI's business model, increasing enrollment and proportion of non-resident students and maintaining or increasing outstanding work with retention, persistence, graduation and workforce development.

President Mark Nook presenting to Education Appropriations SubcommitteeFor the 2017 Iowa Legislative Session, UNI is focusing on the following priorities:

 - University Base Operations
 - Economic Development & Entrepreneurship
 - Center for Violence Prevention/Governor's Office for Bullying Prevention
 - Math & Science/Governor's STEM Advisory Council
 - Recycling and Reuse Center
 - Real Estate Education
 - Rod Library Modernization

More details on UNI's budget request can be found here. A copy of President Nook’s power point presentation can be found here.

The Legislature spent the remainder of the week mostly in subcommittee and committee work. Next Friday, March 3rd, if the first funnel date when House bills need to be voted out of House Committees and Senate bills need to be voted out of Senate Committees for them to remain eligible for consideration this session.

As always, if you have any questions do not hesitate to email me at mary.braun@uni.edu.

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 6

February 17, 2017

The fifth annual UNI Day at the Capitol in Des Moines was held on Monday, February 13th. Besides legislators stopping by to visit, Governor Terry Branstad and State Auditor Mary Mosiman were also able to spend some time with our faculty, staff and students. UNI Day at the Capitol is our day to showcase UNI's people and programs and the impact UNI has on the state of Iowa. Over 110 faculty, staff and students came from campus and presented displays and discussed their work. UNI alumni were also present to put a face to UNI. Please click on the attached photos of Governor Branstad, Auditor Mosiman and lawmakers interacting with our UNI students, faculty, staff and President Nook.

The Legislature spent the remainder of the week debating the collective bargaining bill. The final version of HF 291 passed on Thursday and Governor Branstad signed the bill into law on Friday.

Upcoming events:

Feb. 22 – President Mark Nook will present UNI’s fiscal year 2018 budget request to members of the Education Appropriations Subcommittee

Mar. 3 – First funnel date when House bills need to be voted out of House Committees and Senate bills need to be voted out of Senate Committees for them to remain eligible for consideration this session

As always, if you have any questions do not hesitate to email me at mary.braun@uni.edu.

Click on the photo to see the full photo gallery

UNI Alumni legislators and employees. F-R: Rep. Walt Rogers (R-Cedar Falls), Pres. Mark Nook, Provost Jim Wohlpart, Sen. Jeff Danielson (D-Waterloo), UNI State Relations Officer Mary Braun. B-R: Rep. Bob Kressig (D-Cedar Falls), Sen. Mark Costello (R-Imogene), Sen. Craig Johnson (R-Independence), Legislative Information Office Craig Cronbaugh, Rep. Brian Best (R-Glidden). TC is in the back. Cheryl Nook and Pres. Nook with State Auditor Mary Mosiman TC, Governor Branstad, Pres. Nook and Cheryl Nook Governor Branstad visits College of Education Governor Branstad with UNI students Governor Branstad with UNI's Center for Social and Behavioral Research Governor Branstad with UNI's ARTICenter Governor Branstad with UNI's Geographic Alliance of Iowa Governor Branstad with UNI's Counseling Center Governor Branstad with students from UNIBusiness Governor Branstad with Randy Pilkington, UNI's Director of Federal Relations and Director of Business and Community Services Governor Branstad meeting students with UNI's Business and Community Services Rep. Terry Baxter (R-Garner) with staff from UNI's Business and Community Services Sen. Tony Bisignano (D-Des Moines) meets students from UNI's Black Student Union Sen. Nate Boulton (D-Des Moines) vistis with Northern Iowa Student Government President Hunter Flesch Sen. Tod Bowman (D-Maquoketa) visits with students from UNI's College of Education Rep. Timi Brown-Powers (D-Waterloo) visits with UNI's College of Education Cell phone photos taken of Pres. Nook and UNI students in the Rotunda Sen. Jeff Danielson (D-Waterloo) visits with UNI's ROTC Sen. Jeff Danielson (D-Waterloo) with UNI's College of Education Pres. Nook, Sen. Dan Dawson (R-Council Bluffs), and student Maggie Miller Sen. Bill Dotzler (D-Waterloo), Pres. Nook, Sen. Pam Jochum (D-Dubuque) Sen. Bob Dvorsky (D-Coralville) visits with Pres. Nook Rep. Pat Grassley (R-New Hartford) visits with UNI students Rep. Lee Hein (R-Monticello) Sen. Craig Johnson (R-Independence) visits with students from UNI's College Republicans Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink (R-Fort Dodge) visits with UNI's College of Education Dean Gaetane Jean-Marie Rep. Bob Kressig (D-Cedar Falls) introduces Pres. Nook in the Iowa House of Represenatives Rep. Bob Kressig (D-Cedar Falls) introduces Pres. Nook in the Iowa House of Represenatives UNI School of Music musicians TC and Pres. Nook Rep. Zach Nunn (R-Bondurant) visits with UNI students Regent Pres. Pro Tem Katie Mulholland visits with UNI Foundation Chair Mark Oman Rep. Walt Rogers (R-Cedar Falls) visits with Northern Iowa Student Government students Rep. Walt Rogers (R-Cedar Falls) visits with UNI's Metal Casting Center Rep. Sandy Salmon (R-Janesville) visits with Pres. Nook Sen. Rich Taylor (D-Mt. Pleasant) visits with UNI's GeoTree Pres. Nook with Rep. John Wills (R-Spirit Lake) TC in the rotunda Rotunda display: Small university. Big education.

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 5

February 10, 2017

This week was dominated by the House and Senate Labor Committee’s voting on the collective bargaining bill, HF 291 and SF 213. Both committees adopted the bills and they are now eligible for debate in each chamber next week. Governor Branstad has already publically stated he will sign the bill when it gets to his desk.

A few newspaper stories on the bills:

Des Moines Register: Here are the 5 key changes in Iowa’s collective bargaining bill

Des Moines Register: Iowa collective bargaining bill advances to Senate floor

Cedar Rapids Gazette: Unions outraged as GOP fast-tracks ‘tweaks’ to Iowa’s labor law

Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier: Collective bargaining changes go to full Senate

Upcoming events:

Feb. 13 – #UNIDay2017 at the Capitol. Check out our tweets at @nipanthercaucus!

Feb. 16 – STEM Day at the Capitol

Feb. 22 – President Mark Nook will present UNI’s fiscal year 2018 budget request to members of the Education Appropriations Subcommittee

As always, if you have any questions do not hesitate to email me at mary.braun@uni.edu.

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 4

February 3, 2017

On Wednesday, February 1st, Governor Branstad signed Senate File 130 into law. The bill is the fiscal year 2017 de-appropriations bill, which cuts our current state appropriation by $2 million.  The bill passed the Iowa Senate by a vote of 28-19 and the Iowa House by a vote of 58-38.

From Governor Branstad’s press release.

“Lt. Gov. Reynolds and I appreciate that the 1st bill passed by the Iowa legislature, responsibly balances the budget for fiscal year 2017,” said Gov. Terry Branstad.  “As I said in my Condition of the State address, these adjustments are required by law.  I’m pleased that the legislature made the tough decisions early in the session exempting K-12 education funding, Medicaid payments and property tax backfill for local governments from reduction, providing stability for Iowa schools, businesses, and families.”

Last week I mentioned that Interim President Jim Wohlpart sent an email to UNI faculty and staff (on Jan. 26) stating that with our careful budget management, we will manage this budget reduction. Over the last two years, we have worked collectively--Vice Presidents, Deans, Directors, Department Heads, Faculty and Staff--to build resiliency into our budget. In the past, we did not consistently or sufficiently allocate funding directly for strategic initiatives or goals of the strategic plan, nor did we allocate sufficient funds for necessary building renovations. In challenging economic times such as these, we have the opportunity to redirect these funds towards budget reductions.

Randy Pilkington, Director of UNI’s Business and Community Services, along with the University of Iowa and Iowa State University, presented our economic development efforts and budget requests to members of the Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday. We emphasized our collaboration and cooperation and that investing in university economic development is a good investment for Iowa. At UNI, we leverage $5 in private grants, fees and federal funding for every $1 from state. Here’s a news story from the Cedar Rapids Gazette. Attached are a couple photos from the committee meeting.

Mary Losch, Director of UNI’s Center for Social & Behavioral Research and Professor of Psychology, and Andrey Petrov, Director of ARCTICenter, Academic Director of GeoTREE Center, and Associate Professor of Geography, presented their applied research at the Iowa National Science Foundation (NSF) EPSCoR legislative breakfast at the Capitol on Wednesday. The Iowa NSF EPSCoR project ran from 2011 – 2017 and was a joint effort by Iowa’s three Regent universities. Attached are photos with lawmakers who stopped by to hear about their energy research and benefits of being green.

Upcoming events:

Feb. 13 – #UNIDay2017 at the Capitol. Check out our tweets at @nipanthercaucus!

Feb. 16 – STEM Day at the Capitol

Feb. 22 – President Mark Nook will present UNI’s fiscal year 2018 budget request to members of the Education Appropriations Subcommittee

As always, if you have any questions do not hesitate to email me at mary.braun@uni.edu.

 

Click on the photo to see the full photo gallery

Representatives of University of Iowa, Iowa State University and University of Northern Iowa presenting to the Economic Development Appropriations Committee UNI BCS Director Randy Pilkington presenting to the Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee UNI's Mary Losch and Andrey Petrov UNI's Mary Losch and Rep. Terry Baxter (R-Garner) UNI's Mary Losch and Rep. Michael Bergan (R-Dorchester) UNI's Mary Losch and Rep. Jane Bloomingdale (R-Northwood) Sen. Craig Johnson (R-Independence) and UNI's Mary Losch UNI's Mary Losch and Rep. Sharon Steckman (D-Mason City) UNI's Mary Losch and Rep. Louie Zumbach (R-Coggon)

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 3

January 27, 2017

This week was consumed with the fiscal year (FY) 2017 de-appropriations bill, SF 130, which cuts our current state appropriations.  On Thursday, the Senate passed the bill.  The House is expected to pass the bill next Monday, January 30th, and the Governor will sign it later next week.

Contained in the bill is a specific $2 million cut to UNI. While this is a large cut, the legislators did recognize the fact that UNI relies heavily on the state appropriation because we educate the highest percentage of Iowans (about 89% of our student population comes from Iowa).

Interim President Jim Wohlpart sent an email to UNI faculty and staff stating that with our careful budget management, we will manage this budget reduction. Over the last two years, we have worked collectively--Vice Presidents, Deans, Directors, Department Heads, Faculty and Staff--to build resiliency into our budget. In the past, we did not consistently or sufficiently allocate funding directly for strategic initiatives or goals of the strategic plan, nor did we allocate sufficient funds for necessary building renovations. In challenging economic times such as these, we have the opportunity to redirect these funds towards budget reductions.

We await the legislature's FY 2018 budget in order to determine the impact of the current economic challenges in the state on our budget going forward.

Remember #UNIDay2017 at the Capitol is February 13th! Check out our tweets at @nipanthercaucus.

And as always, if you have any questions do not hesitate to email me at mary.braun@uni.edu.

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 2

January 20, 2017

This week was a shorter week as the General Assembly honored Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday.

The Legislature continues to work on the state’s budget. The Senate has scheduled a subcommittee meeting for next Monday, Jan. 23rd, regarding the Governor’s fiscal year (FY) 2017 de-appropriations bill, SSB 1018. The Legislature is not working on next year’s budget, FY 2018, until they can resolve the current budget.

Information on the Governor’s budget recommendations for FY 2018 and FY 2019, in regards to the Board of Regents and other education departments funded within the Legislature’s Education Appropriations Subcommittee, can be found here.

A presentation was given to members of the House Education Committee by Ryan Wise, Director of the Iowa Department of Education. He highlighted several reports their agency completed.

  • Teacher Leadership and Compensation Status Report
  • Career and Technical Education Redesign Implementation Report 
  • Every Student Succeeds Act implementation updates
  • Iowa School Report Card
  • Iowa Postsecondary Readiness Report
  • Annual Condition of Education Report

Dr. Deborah Reed, Director of the Iowa Reading Research Center, also spoke to the House Education Committee on early literacy and the results of the summer reading pilot project. The purpose of the project was to investigate the effectiveness of intensive summer reading programs on the learning outcomes of students identified with reading difficulties at the end of Grade 3. Results of the study can be found here.

Remember #UNIDay2017 at the Capitol is February 13th! Check out our tweets at @nipanthercaucus

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 1

January 13, 2017

Monday, January 9th started of the 87th General Assembly and 149 newly elected state senators and state representatives were sworn into office. Nineteen of these lawmakers are UNI alumni and 23 are serving their first term. After January 31st, there will be one more newly elected representative; a special election is being held on that day to fill a Davenport representative seat. This means that 16% of the Legislature is brand new; it’s their first time serving in the Legislature in Des Moines. This gives us a great opportunity to explain to them why UNI is such a great university!

The Board of Regents held their legislative breakfast on Tuesday morning. Members of the Board of Regents, the presidents and student government leaders of the three universities, and the superintendent of the Iowa School for the Deaf and the Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired were in attendance and able to visit with lawmakers about our programs. UNI’s incoming President Mark Nook was also there. I’ve included photos of all the lawmakers our new president was able to visit. He also had his first meetings with several legislative leaders.

Governor Branstad released his budget recommendations this week.  He included over $114 million in cuts to 41 state agencies’ current fiscal year 17 budgets, which ends this June 30th. Included is a 4.3% cut to the Regents institutions totally $25.6 million. These are just recommendations. The Legislature is the branch of government that actually appropriates funding for state agencies. As of today, we have not seen the Legislature’s de-appropriations bill. The Governor’s budget recommendations can be found here.

Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady provided the Legislature with the Condition of the Judiciary. Written copy of the speech and support materials can be found here

Several pieces of legislation have already been introduced this year. One piece of legislation, SF 41, proposes to end tenure. The Board of Regents is registered in opposition to this legislation. At this time no subcommittee meeting has been scheduled on this bill. If you’d like to look at all the bills the Board of Regents is registered on, you can search lobbyist declarations here

I’ve prepared this power point presentation providing a 2017 legislative preview. If you have any questions do not hesitate to email me at mary.braun@uni.edu.

Click on the photo to see the full photo gallery

Rep. Clel Baudler (R-Greenfield) and Mark Nook Rep. Bruce Bearinger (D-Oelwein) and Mark Nook Sen. Joe Bolkcom (D-Iowa City) and Mark Nook Rep. Gary Carlson (R-Muscatine) and Mark Nook Sen. Mark Chelgren (R-Ottumwa) and Mark Nook Mark Nook, Regent Dakovich, Senate Page Olivia Habinck (Cedar Falls), and Sen. Jeff Danielson (R-Waterloo) Rep. Dave Deyoe (R-Nevada) and Mark Nook Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix (R-Shell Rock) and Mark Nook Sen. Bill Dotzler (D-Waterloo) and Mark Nook Mark Nook and Sen. Bob Dvorsky (D-Coralville) and Board of Regents Executive Director Bob Donley Sen. Jeff Edler (R-State Center) and Mark Nook Rep. Dean Fisher (R-Garwin) and his wife Vickie and Mark Nook Rep. Tedd Gassman (R-Scarville) and Mark Nook Sen. Rita Hart (D-Wheatland) and Mark Nook Rep. Jake Highfill (R-Johnston) and Mark Nook Sen. Wally Horn (D-Cedar Rapids), Mark Nook, and Senate Minority Leader Rob Hogg (D-Cedar Rapids) Rep. Dave Jacoby (D-Coralville), his daughter Ellie, and Mark Nook Sen. Pam Jochum (D-Dubuque) and Mark Nook Sen. Craig Johnson (R-Independence) and Mark Nook Sen. David Johnson (I-Ocheyedan) and Mark Nook Rep. Jerry Kearns (D-Koekuk) and Mark Nook Rep. David Kerr (R-Morning Sun) and Mark Nook Rep. Kevin Koester (R-Ankeny) and Mark Nook Sen. Jim Lykam (D-Davenport) and Mark Nook Sen. Liz Mathis (D-Cedar Rapids) and Mark Nook Rep. Todd Prichard (D-Charles City) and Mark Nook Sen. Amanda Ragan (D-Mason City) and Mark Nook Rep. Ken Rizer (R-Cedar Rapids) and Mark Nook Rep. Walt Rogers (R-Cedar Falls) and Mark Nook Sen. Ken Roozenboom (R-Oskaloosa) and Mark Nook Rep. Sandy Salmon (R-Janesville) and Mark Nook Sen. Amy Sinclair (R-Allerton) and Mark Nook Rep. Art Staed (D-Cedar Rapids) and Mark Nook Rep. John Wills (R-Spirit Lake) and Mark Nook Rep. Cindy Winckler (D-Davenport) and Mark Nook Sen. Brad Zaun (R-Urbandale) and Mark Nook Rep. Louis Zumbach (R-Coggon), NISG Alyssa Dixon, Mark Nook and NISG President Hunter Flesch NISG Alyssa Dixon, NISG Vice President Avery Johnson, Mark Nook and NISG President Hunter Flesch Mark Nook and Rep. Tom Moore (R-Griswold) and Sen. Dan Dawson (R-Council Bluffs) Sen. Herman Quirmbach (D-Ames) and Mark Nook Rep. Bob Kressig (D-Cedar Falls) and Mark Nook Rep. Tom Moore (R-Griswold) and Mark Nook Rep. Mike Sexton (R-Rockwell City) and Mark Nook Mark Nook with Education Budget Subcommittee Chairs Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink (R-Fort Dodge) and Rep. Cecil Dolecheck (R-Mt. Ayr) and Education Committee Chairs Sen. Amy Sinclair (R-Allereton) and Rep. Walt Rogers (R-Cedar Falls)