Office of Governmental Relations

2020 Legislative Updates

2020 Legislative Updates

The 2020 Iowa Legislature Adjourns: End of Session Highlights

June 17, 2020

The 2020 Iowa Legislature adjourned on Sunday, June 14. From this date, Governor Reynolds has 30 days to sign or veto legislation. This is the last government relations post on this website for this year. If you have any questions about this legislative session, please email mary.braun@uni.edu.

Highlights of budget legislation adopted during the 2020 Legislative Session that have an impact on UNI.

HF 2643 Omnibus Budget Bill

  • For FY 2021, reduces the overall Board of Regents state general fund appropriations by $8 million from the FY 2020 level, at the discretion of the Board, for all three public universities.
  • Requires the Department of Management, in consultation with the Legislative Services Agency, to determine the amount of state and federal appropriations made in FY 2020 for all state agencies.
  • UNI’s economic development state appropriations are funded at status quo.
  • Codifies that the Board of Regents has the authority to hire our own outside counsel for matters not associated with court matters. The Iowa Attorney General’s office will continue to represent the Board in matters before the courts. Non-court matters would include such things as patent work, intellectual property issues, other specialized contracts, Title IX, etc.

HF 2642 Infrastructure Budget bill

  • Fully funds UNI’s Industrial Technology Center request for renovation and expansion of the building over four years (total $40.5 million):

o   $1 million for FY 2021 (previously enacted)

o   $13 million for FY 2022

o   $18 million for FY 2023

o   $8.5M million for FY 2024

Policy bills that were adopted:

The Board of Regents regulatory relief bill, SF 2284, was adopted. The bill allows the Board to go into closed meetings to discuss UIHC issues the same as all other public hospitals’ boards, provides additional provisions to strengthen the universities economic development efforts and strikes/repeals outdated Code sections and reporting requirements.

The students’ medical amnesty bill, HF 684, was adopted. The bill establishes some immunity for persons under 21 for various alcohol offenses (being under the legal age, public intoxication, open container) if, in good faith, the person seeks emergency assistance for another due to an alcohol overdose. Requires the Board of Regents to adopt rules prohibiting sanctions by the universities.

The Governor’s Future Ready Iowa bill, HF 2629, which the Board of Regents supported, was adopted. It makes changes to last year’s Future Ready Iowa Act, including establishes requirements for K-12 computer science education for instruction in elementary/middle school and HS standards and allows for online education.

The Board of Regents supported the justice reform bill, HF 2647, which has been signed into law and is effective June 12, 2020. The bill prohibits choke holds by law enforcement unless an officer is in a life threatening situation, prohibits officers with misconduct from moving from one law enforcement entity to another, requires law enforcement agencies to provide annual training in de-escalation techniques and the prevention of bias in law enforcement, and empowers the attorney general to investigate a death caused by a law enforcement officer.

Other bills of interest:

HF 594 Prohibits the court’s authority to have a minor child removed from life-sustaining procedures when there is objection of the minor child’s parent or guardian, unless there is conclusive medical evidence that the minor child has died and any electronic brain, heart, or respiratory monitoring activity exhibited to the contrary is a false artifact. Adds the requirement of a 24 hour waiting period before an abortion is provided.

HF 2197 defines primary care residency programs as psychiatry, obstetrics, gynecology, family medicine, internal medicine, and emergency medicine for the purposes of qualifying for the medical residency training state matching grants program.

HF 2359 makes the Praxis Core entrance exam into teacher preparation programs voluntary instead of mandatory.

HF 2561 prohibits a hospital, doctor or procurement organization from determining the recipient of an anatomical gift based on the recipient’s disability unless that disability is medically significant.

HF 2585 updates deaf and hard of hearing terminology.

HF 2589 makes changes to Iowa’s Medical Cannabis law giving additional health care providers the authority to write prescriptions and by increasing the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cap to 4.5 grams for a 90-day period.

HF 2627, the Governor’s bill, which recognizes out-of-state licenses for several occupations and limits the reasons for disqualifying a person from receiving a professional license for a criminal conviction.

SF 2261 expands access to mental health services in K-12 schools via telehealth or in-person.

SF 2310 pertains to online learning coursework delivered to Iowa’s K-12 students. Online learning coursework offered by school districts, accredited nonpublic schools, and area education agencies is required to be rigorous, high-quality, aligned with the Iowa core and core content requirements and standards and the national standards of quality for online courses issued by an internationally recognized association for K-12 online learning. The coursework must be taught by an Iowa licensed teacher who has specialized training or experience in online learning, including but not limited to an online-learning-for-Iowa-educators-professional-development project offered by area education agencies, a teacher preservice program, or comparable coursework.

SF 2338 provides liability protections for business owners and health care providers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SF 2356 requires the State Board of Education to adopt rules on an advanced dyslexia specialist endorsement for teachers, in consultation with the Iowa Reading Research Center and the Board of Educational Examiners.  Establishes the Iowa Dyslexia board, which will include a member from higher education.

SF 2357 expands the role of physician assistants in Iowa, enabling them to better serve patients by allowing for full prescriptive rights, legal protections similar to other health care professions, and the ability to be reimbursed by Medicaid.

SF 2360 addresses violent student behavior in the K-12 classroom.

SF 2398 establishes a Rural Veterinary Loan Repayment Program within the College Student Aid Commission to provide loan repayments for individuals who agree to practice as licensed veterinarians in rural service commitment areas or in veterinary shortage areas in Iowa for four years. The program received a $300,000 appropriation in the Omnibus Budget Bill.

Policy bills that did not pass:

HSB 585 would have required the Board of Regents to conduct a study regarding emergency preparedness and response at outdoor stadiums controlled by the Board.

HF 2192 would have required telehealth payment parity.

HF 2383 would have placed requirements on admissions to University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and University of Iowa Dental College.

HF 2519 would have created an interstate Curing Disease Compact.

HF 2539 would have established measures for deaf and hard of hearing language and literacy development (LEAD-K).

HF 2572 would have prohibited all governmental entities, including the Board of Regents institutions, from using design build alternative delivery method for construction projects and would have allowed all governmental entities to use construction manager at risk alternative delivery method. 

SSB 3017 would have required a custodian of a public building to only be authorized to raise the flags of the United States of America, the State of Iowa, the national league of prisoner of war/missing in action families, and an official flag adopted by the political subdivision that owns or operates the public building.

 


This Week at the Statehouse – 2020 Legislative Session Resumes

June 5, 2020

Since March 16th, the Legislature paused their regular session due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. They returned on June 3rd and are debating both policy bills and budget bills for the next couple of weeks to finish their work.

The Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) met on Friday, May 29, after legislative leaders requested they meet again and update revenue estimates due to the state’s partial shutdown. The REC was established as a way to arrive at consensus on state revenue estimates to be used by both the Governor and Legislature for the budget process. Membership is comprised of the Governor’s designee, the Director of the Legislative Services Agency and a third person agreed upon by the other two members.

Because the May REC estimate was lower than their March estimate, the Governor and the Legislature need to use this May estimate when crafting the budget for the remaining of this fiscal year, FY 2020, and for next fiscal year, FY 2021. The law allows spending up to 99% of the revenue estimate.

The May 2020 numbers are as follows:

  • FY 2020: $7.9412 billion, which is an increase of $82.4 million or 1% as compared to FY 2019, but is a decrease of $149.5 million as compared to the March REC estimate. The current FY 2020 budget with the supplemental appropriations already approved this year spends $7.752 billion, which is below their new estimate.
  • FY 2021: $7.8766 billion, which is a decrease of $64.6 million or -0.8% as compared to the revised FY 2020 estimate, and a decrease of $360.1 million as compared to the March REC estimate.

Now that the REC has met, we expect the Legislature to release their budget targets for each subject area soon so the start of the appropriations and budgeting process can begin in earnest. Because the FY 2021 estimate is less than the revised FY 2020 estimate, we need to wait until we see the budget bills to determine if there will be any cuts.

Floor debate and committee debate filled this first week back. Today marks the end of the second funnel when Senate bills and joint resolutions must be reported out of House committees and House bills and joint resolutions must be reported out of Senate committees. This does not apply to budget and tax bills.

A few of the Board of Regents policy bills we’re monitoring that remain alive this legislative session:

HF 684 establishes some immunity for persons under 21 for various alcohol offenses (being under the legal age, public intoxication, open container) if, in good faith, the person seeks emergency assistance for another due to an alcohol overdose. Requires the Board of Regents to adopt rules prohibiting sanctions by the universities. Passed House 98-0; passed Senate Judiciary Committee and is on the Senate Calendar for consideration.

HF 2359 makes the Praxis Core entrance exam into teacher preparation programs voluntary instead of mandatory. Passed House 98-0; passed Senate Education Committee and is on the Senate Calendar for consideration

HF 2361 prohibits employers from requiring that employees have a microchip implanted or from offering incentives for employees who do get microchipped. Passed House 98-0; passed Senate Judiciary Committee and is on the Senate Calendar for consideration.

HF 2443 strikes requirements for a student to show proficiency in reading, math and science to participate in the senior year plus program. Passed House 98-0; passed Senate Education Committee and is on the Senate Calendar for consideration.

HF 2541 / SF 2377 establishes an interim study on the disclosure of officer personnel files related to a Brady-Giglio list and to study implementing such a list statewide. Passed House 100-0; attached to SF 2377 on the Senate Calendar for consideration.

HF 2627 recognizes out-of-state licenses for several occupations and limits the reasons for disqualifying a person from receiving a professional license for a criminal conviction. On House Ways and Means Calendar.

SF 2261 expands access to mental health services in K-12 schools via telehealth or in-person. Passed Senate 49-0; Passed House with amendment 92-4; Senate concurred with House amendment and passed 50-0; will be sent to Governor.

SF 2284 is the Board of Regents regulatory relief bill that strikes/repeals outdated Code sections and provides additional provisions to strengthen the universities economic development efforts. Passed Senate 49-0; passed House Education Committee and is on the House Calendar for consideration.

SF 2310 repeals the Iowa learning online initiative in the Department Education and authorizes the AEAs to offer, in partnership with school districts, an online learning program to deliver distance education to Iowa’s secondary students. Passed Senate 49-0; passed House Education Committee and is on the House Calendar for consideration.

SF 2414 / HF 2629 makes changes to last year’s Future Ready Iowa Act. Among other things, this bill establishes requirements for K-12 computer science education, including instruction in elementary/middle school and HS standards, including allowing online education. Both bills are on each chambers Appropriations Committee calendar and eligible for consideration.

SF 2329 includes occupational therapists as health care providers for treating concussions at high school sport contests. Passed Senate 49-0; passed House Education Committee and is on the House Calendar for consideration

SF 2356 requires the State Board of Education to adopt rules on an advanced dyslexia specialist endorsement for teachers, in consultation with the Iowa Reading Research Center and the Board of Educational Examiners.  Establishes the Iowa Dyslexia board, which will include a member from higher education. Passed Senate 49-0; passed House Education Committee and is on the House Calendar for consideration.

SF 2360 addresses violent student behavior in the K-12 classroom. Passed Senate 50-0; passed House Appropriations Committee and is on the House Appropriations Committee Calendar for consideration.

SF 2364 / HF 2572 prohibits all governmental entities, including the Board of Regents institutions, to use design build alternative delivery method for construction projects and allows all governmental entities to use construction manager at risk alternative delivery method. SF 2364 passed Senate 29-20; attached to HF 2572 on House Calendar for consideration.

If you have any questions, please email me at mary.braun@uni.edu.

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Session Suspended at Least 30 Days

March 17, 2020

On Monday, March 16, the Legislature adopted measures to suspend the 2020 legislative session for at least 30 days as the state works to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

A resolution needed to be passed to extend the 2020 regular session because Iowa’s constitution (Article III, section 14) says neither house shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which they may be sitting. Iowa law also says (Code Chapter 2.1) the sessions of the general assembly shall be held annually at the seat of government, unless the governor shall convene them at some other place in times of pestilence or public danger. Each annual session of the general assembly shall commence on the second Monday in January of each year. The general assembly may recess from time to time during each year in such manner as it may provide, subject to Article III, section 14 of the Constitution of the State of Iowa.

The House and Senate passed SCR 102, which says that upon the adjournment of the House of Representatives and the Senate on March 16, 2020, both houses will remain adjourned until 10:00 a.m. on April 15, 2020. The Legislative Council may shorten or further extend the adjournment if deemed necessary. The joint rules are suspended during the extended adjournment and until action is taken upon the reconvening of the General Assembly.

Before adjourning, the House and Senate also passed a bill appropriating dollars for the current fiscal year, giving the Governor additional emergency powers, providing a budget continuation in the off chance the General Assembly will not reconvene prior to July 1, 2020, and waiving the requirement for Iowa schools to reschedule days canceled.

SF 2408 passed unanimously in both chambers:

  • Appropriates a supplemental appropriation for the current budget year, fiscal year 2020, as follows:
    • $525,000 to the State Hygienic Lab for additional COVID-19 testing
    • $89 million to Medicaid
    • $1.7 million to Hawk-I
    • $595,000 to Glenwood Resource Center
  • Increases the governor’s transfer authority between budget line items within the state’s budget
  • Provides for a continuation of the current budget for July and August, if needed, and will only go into effect if the Legislature is unable to meet again prior to the end of the 2020 fiscal year (July 1, 2020) – this does not apply to the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund, Road Use Tax Fund, and several other non-state general fund moneys
  • Provides emergency powers to the governor to spend up to 10% ($20 million) of the Economic Emergency Fund  during the 30 days for needs related to the COVID-19 outbreak, and the Legislative Council may approve, if necessary, up to a total of $196 million in funding without the Legislature convening
  • Waives the requirement for Iowa schools to reschedule days canceled following Governor Reynolds’ recommendation to close for at least four weeks

Legislative leaders said in a statement “… the goal of pausing session is to protect higher risk members of the Legislature, staff, and public potentially at risk during the legislative session and follow the expert guidance provided by the Center for Disease Control and Iowa Department of Public Health. Additionally, at this time, the focus of state government needs to be on managing the COVID-19 outbreak.”

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 9

March 13, 2020

This has been an interesting week at the State Capitol. It started with the Legislature receiving a briefing on the coronavirus COVID-19. Then the Board of Regents asked the three universities to move as quickly as possible towards the ability to deliver instruction virtually after spring break. Talk about the coronavirus continues at the Capitol. But as of today, the legislative session will continue as usual.

The Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) met on Thursday, March 12. The REC was established as a way to arrive at consensus on state revenue estimates to be used by both the Governor and Legislature for the budget process. Membership is comprised of the Governor’s designee, the Director of the Legislative Services Agency and a third person agreed upon by the other two members.

In general, the March REC did not change their estimates in any significant amount. The March numbers are as follows:

  • FY 2020 - $8,090.70 million which is an increase of $76.1 million as compared to the December REC estimate
  • FY 2021 - $8,236.70 million which is a decrease of $12.3 million as compared to the December REC estimate

If the REC in their March meeting raises the State’s net general fund revenue estimate for the subsequent fiscal year, the Governor and Legislature are to use the lower amount estimated in December. If the REC during the March meeting lowers the net general fund revenue estimate for the subsequent fiscal year, than the Governor and Legislature are to use the lower amount.

Now that the REC has met, we expect the Legislature to release their budget targets for each subject area soon so the start of the appropriations and budgeting process can begin in earnest.

Floor debate and committee debate filled the week again as lawmakers work to get their legislation to the other chamber for consideration. The end of next week marks the second funnel day when Senate bills and joint resolutions must be reported out of House committees and House bills and joint resolutions must be reported out of Senate committees. This does not apply to budget and tax bills.

A few of the Board of Regents registered bills that had action this week:

HF 2361 prohibits employers from requiring that employees have a microchip implanted or from offering incentives for employees who do get microchipped. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill and it is now eligible for House consideration.

HF 2541 establishes an interim study on the disclosure of officer personnel files related to a Brady-Giglio list and to study implementing such a list statewide. The bill passed the House and it is now in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

SF 2298 exempts certain retired peace officer from having to be certified by the Department of Transportation to teach drivers education. The bill passed the Senate and it is now in the House Transportation Committee.

SF 2329 includes occupational therapists as health care providers for treating concussions at high school sport contests. The House Education Committee passed the bill and it is now eligible for House consideration.

If you have any questions, please email me at mary.braun@uni.edu.

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 8

March 6, 2020

We’re at the halfway point! Week 8 marked the 50th day of the 100-day legislative session.

The Iowa Department of Education released their high school graduation rates this week, which climbed to a record high of 91.6 percent in 2019. According to their statement: Data show 91.6 percent of students in Iowa’s Class of 2019 graduated within four years, up from 91.4 percent in the Class of 2018. Since 2011, Iowa’s four-year graduation rate has increased 3.3 percentage points overall, with significant gains in nearly every student demographic subgroup. For example, graduation rates for Hispanic students have climbed by 9.3 percentage points, students whose first language is not English have increased by 8.8 percentage points, and African American students have gone up 8.4 percentage points since 2011. For more information, visit the Iowa Department of Education’s website.

Floor debate and committee debate filled the week as lawmakers work to get their legislation to the other chamber for consideration. March 20 marks the Legislature’s second funnel, when Senate bills and joint resolutions must be reported out of House committees and House bills and joint resolutions must be reported out of Senate committees. This does not apply to budget and tax bills.

A few of the Board of Regents registered bills that had action this week:

HF 684 establishes some immunity for persons under 21 for various alcohol offenses (being under the legal age, public intoxication, open container) if, in good faith, the person seeks emergency assistance for another due to an alcohol overdose. Requires the Board of Regents to adopt rules prohibiting sanctions by the universities. The House passed the bill 98-0 and sent it to the Senate for consideration.

HF 2417 requires employers to treat employees who adopt a child in the same manner as a biological child. The House passed the bill 94-1 and sent it to the Senate for consideration.

HF 2443 strikes requirements for a student to show proficiency in reading, math and science to participate in the senior year plus program. The House passed the bill 98-0 and sent it to the Senate for consideration.

HF 2504 requires governments to use the definition of anti-Semitism from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance when considering whether there has been a violation of a law or policy prohibiting discriminatory acts. The House passed the bill 51-45 and sent it to the Senate for consideration.

The start of the appropriations and budgeting process will begin in earnest next week. On March 12, the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) is scheduled to meet. This three-person committee meets in October, December and March to produce revenue projections. Iowa law limits the governor and the legislature to spending no more than 99% of the REC estimate. The governor and legislature must use the December REC estimate when producing the following fiscal year budget, unless the March estimate comes in lower. From everything I’m hearing, revenues will most likely be the same or higher for this upcoming March 20 estimate. Budget subcommittee chairs are currently working behind the scenes crafting next year’s budget bills for state agencies, including UNI, using the December REC estimate

If you have any questions, please email me at mary.braun@uni.edu.

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 7

February 28, 2020

UNI presented our budget request for the modernization of the Industrial Technology Center (ITC) to the Transportation, Infrastructure & Capitals budget subcommittee this week. Mike Zwanziger, Assistant Vice President & Director of Facilities Management, provided a powerpoint that showed previous UNI buildings they supported with state infrastructure dollars (Bartlett Hall and Schindler Education Center) and what their $39.7 million investment into the ITC would do. In total, 45% of UNI’s general education fund buildings were constructed between 1965 and 1980 and only 40% of those buildings have been renovated to date. Renovation focus reduces our deferred maintenance and improves building efficiencies. As a comparison, the remodeled Schindler Education Center saves the university over $244,000 per year in realized energy savings. Funding the ITC would also eliminate $12 million of deferred maintenance.

President Mark Nook was also on a legislative panel this week. The House Appropriations Committee had higher education experts provide information regarding Future Trends in Higher Education Enrollment. Other panelists were Mark Wiederspan, Executive Director of the Iowa College Student Aid Commission, Central College President Mark Putnam and Northeast Iowa Community College president Dr. Wee. Mr. Wiederspan noted that for Iowa, total college enrollment will go up around 7% until 2024 and then go back down around 7%. They used actual K-12 enrollment so better data shows a 7% decline and not as much as previously reported of a 12-20% decline. President Nook talked about there being already 15,000 unfilled jobs available in Iowa. Seeing a decline in our college enrollments is a bigger issue for our workforce and our economy than it is for our higher education institutions. Our higher education institutions are going to be part of the solution because we’re going to work very hard to get more and more of those students into higher education and ready for those jobs.

Week 7 was also consumed by floor debate in both the Senate and House. Here are a few bills that had action this week:

HF 2359 makes the Praxis Core entrance exam into teacher preparation programs voluntary instead of mandatory. Passed House; in Senate Education Committee

SF 2284 is the Board of Regents regulatory relief bill that strikes/repeals outdated Code sections and provides additional provisions to strengthen the universities economic development efforts. Passed Senate; in House Education Committee

SF 2310 repeals the Iowa learning online initiative in the Department Education and authorizes the AEAs to offer, in partnership with school districts, an online learning program to deliver distance education to Iowa’s secondary students. Passed Senate; in House Education Committee

SF 2329 includes occupational therapists as health care providers for treating concussions at high school sport contests. Passed Senate; in House Education Committee

SF 2356 requires the State Board of Education to adopt rules on an advanced dyslexia specialist endorsement for teachers, in consultation with the Iowa Reading Research Center and the Board of Educational Examiners.  Establishes the Iowa Dyslexia board, which will include a member from higher education. Passed Senate; in House Education Committee

SF 2360  addresses violent student behavior in the K-12 classroom. Passed Senate; in House Appropriations Committee

If you have any questions, please email me at mary.braun@uni.edu.

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 6

February 21, 2020

UNI Day at the Capitol was Monday. What a great day to showcase the university to lawmakers. Photos from the day are at the end of this post.

Week 6 is the end of the first funnel. This is the self-imposed deadline when Senate policy bills need to come out of a Senate committee and House policy bills need to come out of a House committee to remain eligible for debate this legislative session. This date does not apply to spending and tax bills. There were several bills of interest that have come out of committee and remain alive and several bills that died in committee.

Bills of interest that remain alive:

HF 684 establishes some immunity for persons under 21 for various alcohol offenses (being under the legal age, public intoxication, open container) if, in good faith, the person seeks emergency assistance for another due to an alcohol overdose. Requires the Board of Regents to adopt rules prohibiting sanctions by the universities.

HF 2120 requires the Department of Education to develop protocols to help schools implement current suicide prevention requirements.

HF 2303 requires governments to use the definition of anti-Semitism from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance when considering whether there has been a violation of a law or policy prohibiting discriminatory acts.

HF 2443 strikes requirements for a student to show proficiency in reading, math and science to participate in the senior year plus program.

HF 2457 requires students to complete a course on bleeding control as part of health education by the end of high school.

HF 2470 recognizes out-of-state licenses for several occupations and limits the reasons for disqualifying a person from receiving a professional license for a criminal conviction.

HF 2359 makes the Praxis Core entrance exam into teacher preparation programs voluntary instead of mandatory.

HSB 651 allows interior designers to "stamp and seal" construction documents for the purpose of obtaining a building permit provided the scope of work includes interior work only and no structural changes to the building.

SF 316 creates a special education interim study committee that will include a higher education representative from the Board of Regents institutions.

SF 2080 prohibits state and local governments and schools from making payments for ransomware attacks.

SF 2284 is the Board of Regents regulatory relief bill that strikes/repeals outdated Code sections and provides additional provisions to strengthen the universities economic development efforts.

SF 2293 makes changes to the Peace Officer/Emergency Workers Bill of Rights.

SF 2310 repeals the Iowa learning online initiative in the Department Education, maintains the current standards, requirements, and rules relating to online learning programs and coursework provided at the secondary school level, and authorizes the AEAs to offer, in partnership with school districts, an online learning program to deliver distance education to Iowa’s secondary students.

SF 2313 / HF 2384 makes changes to last year’s Future Ready Iowa Act. Among other things, this bill establishes requirements for K-12 computer science education, including instruction in elementary/middle school and HS standards, including allowing online education.

SF 2329 includes occupational therapists as health care providers for treating concussions at high school sport contests.

SF 2330 allows student-athletes to benefit financially from their name, image and likeness, effective July 1, 2023.

SF 2356 requires the State Board of Education to adopt rules on an advanced dyslexia specialist endorsement for teachers, in consultation with the Iowa Reading Research Center and the Board of Educational Examiners.  Establishes the Iowa Dyslexia board, which will include a member from higher education.

SF 2360 / HSB 598  addresses violent student behavior in the K-12 classroom.

SSB 3142 requires all agency and regulation review, creates a Sunset Advisory Committee to review boards and agencies, and establishes a process for scheduling a sunset for all licensing boards.  

SSB 3153 / HSB 674 prohibits the use of design build alternative delivery method for construction projects and makes changes to the construction manager at risk alternative delivery method.

Bills of interest that have died:

HSB 585 would have required the Regents institutions to study, plan and provide a report concerning emergency preparedness and response at outdoor stadiums.

SF 459 would have required all employers to allow all employees who have a permit to carry a weapon to lock their guns in their vehicle in the employer parking lots.

SF 2052 would have allowed, in lieu of instruction by a licensed physical education teacher, instruction for the water safety component of a PE course by a certified swim instructor at the YMCA.

SF 2057 would have required public and private accredited elementary, secondary, and postsecondary institutions to establish a process by which students may appeal coursework grades based on alleged political bias.

SF 2161 would have allowed weapons on campus.

SSB 3017 would have limited which flags can be displayed on public buildings.

If you have any questions, please email me at mary.braun@uni.edu.

Upcoming events in the legislature:

Feb. 26 – Regents institutions presenting infrastructure requests to the Transportation, Infrastructure & Capitals Appropriations Subcommittee (including UNI’s Industrial Technology Center request)

Click on the photo to see the full photo gallery

All UNI students, faculty, staff, and administrators attending on the grand staircase with Governor Reynolds, Lt. Governor Gregg, other state legislators and TC and TK On the House chamber floor is Rep. Salmon, Rep. Donahue, Rep. Jacoby, Rep. Brown-Powers, TK, Pres. Nook, Rep. Kressig, TC, Rep. Williams, Rep. Ras Smith and Rep. Winckler Governor Reynolds and Randy Pilkington with UNI Business and Community Services TK, Rep. Bloomingdale and TC Rep. Brown-Powers with UNI School of Music violinists Rep. Brink with UNI student Caleb Gipple UNI President Mark Nook and Sen. Cournoyer Northern Iowa Student Government students with Rep. Brown-Powers and Sen. Dotzler on the grand staircase Sen. Giddens with UNI College of Social and Behavioral Sciences TC, President Nook, Governor Reynolds, TK Sen. Kraayenbrink with UNI industrial technology students Speaker Pat Grassley with his UNI constituents Jenn Cormaney and Isaac Ubben Pres. Nook, Rep. Kressig, Rep. Jacoby and Rep. Williams Rep. Mohr with UNI student CJ Carter Rep. Worthan with UNI's Military Science table Rep. Ras Smith and Pres. Nook with UNI's Military Science table Northern Iowa Student Government students at the top of the Capitol Rep. Winckler at the College of Education table UNI student Elle Boeding with Sen. Zumbach on second floor rotunda TC and TK in front of the Iowa Capitol building

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 5

February 14, 2020

Happy Valentine’s Day! One more week before the Legislature’s first funnel date, when Senate policy bills need to come out of a Senate committee and House policy bills need to come out of a House committee to remain eligible for debate this legislative session. This date does not apply to spending and tax bills.

Week 5 continued with legislative committee and subcommittee meetings. New bills continue to be filed.  The subcommittee on the Board of Regents regulatory relief bill was held on Thursday. SSB 3132 eliminates many reporting requirements and outdated Code language pertaining to the Regents institutions and adds some language allowing the institutions to expand and stimulate economic growth.

A few other bills of interest that had action this week:

HF 2359 makes the Praxis Core entrance exam into our teacher preparation program voluntary instead of mandatory. The bill also eliminates the requirement that institutions offering such a program must deny admission to any candidate who does not successfully pass the test. Instead, the bill requires that if an institution offers the test, the institution must report to the Department of Education by August 1 annually the percentage of students whose scores on the tests administered during the prior fiscal year were above, at, and below the minimum passing score set by the institution, as well as report any services or opportunities to retake the test the institution may make available to a student who fails the test.  The department must compile the reports and publish the compiled information on the department’s internet site. The bill is on the House calendar and eligible for debate.

SF 2190 / HSB 598  addresses violent student behavior in the K-12 classroom.  SF 2190 is on the Senate Calendar for consideration and HSB 598 is expected to pass out of House Education Committee next week. Both Republicans and Democrats are working on these bills and will come to some agreement by the end of session. These are the bills that allow for therapeutic rooms in schools.

SF 2058  / HF 2282 are the two bills that allow student-athletes to benefit financially from their name, image and likeness. The effective date of the Senate bill would be July 1, 2023; the House bill has an earlier implementation date of January 1, 2022. The Senate subcommittee held their meeting last week and the House subcommittee meeting is scheduled for next Monday. We believe this issue should be determined through the NCAA or by Congress and not have 50 different state rules.

HF 2384 / SSB 3077  are the changes made to last year’s Future Ready Iowa bill. Among other things, this bill establishes requirements for K-12 computer science education, including instruction in elementary/middle school and HS standards, including allowing online education. This bill does not make any changes to the Future Ready Iowa grant that students going to 4-year colleges could receive. HF 2384 in on the House calendar and SSB 3077 is expected to be voted out of Senate Commerce Committee next week.

If you have any questions, please email me at mary.braun@uni.edu.

Upcoming events in the legislature:

Feb. 17 – UNI Day at the Capitol, first floor rotunda, 11:30am – 2:30pm

Feb. 26 – Regents institutions presenting infrastructure requests to the Transportation, Infrastructure & Capitals Appropriations Subcommittee (including UNI’s Industrial Technology Center request)

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 4

February 7, 2020

Week 4 was a short week because of the Iowa caucuses on Monday. Legislative committee and subcommittee meetings continued to be held. New bills continue to be filed.  This link will provide a complete list of bills we are tracking (in the box marked as lobbyist, type in Mary Braun).

The Board of Regents regulatory relief bill was introduced this week. SSB 3132 eliminates many reporting requirements and outdated Code language pertaining to the Regents institutions and adds some language allowing the institutions to expand and stimulate economic growth. A Senate Education Committee subcommittee meeting has been scheduled for next Thursday.

A few bills of interest that were either introduced this week or subcommittee meetings were held:

SF 316 – The House Education Committee amended this bill to add a member from the Board of Regents institutions on the special education interim study committee created in the bill. We are working to make sure we can get a UNI representative on this study committee. The bill is now on the House Calendar for consideration.

SF 2190 / HSB 598 – addressing violent student behavior in the K-12 classroom.  Both bills held subcommittee meeting this week. SF 2190 did pass out of the Senate Education Committee and is now on the Senate Calendar for consideration.

HSB 585 – The House State Government subcommittee decided not to advance the bill that would have required the Regents institutions to study, plan and provide a report concerning emergency preparedness and response at outdoor stadiums. We had concerns about filing a report. We don’t want to skirt the requirements of this legislation, but we also don’t want to provide people a playbook on how best to circumvent the security we have at all three institutions.

SF 2161 – weapons on campus. Introduced in Senate Education Committee.

HF 2282 - allow student-athletes to benefit financially from their name, image and likeness. The bill has been introduced in the House Education Committee.

The Legislature’s first funnel date, when Senate policy bills need to come out of a Senate committee and House policy bills need to come out of a House committee to remain eligible for debate this legislative session, is February 21. This date does not apply to spending and tax bills.

On Friday, the Legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee (ARRC) met and discussed a Board of Educational Examiners administrative rule (ARC 4870C) that guides credit hour requirements for the All Science, All Social Studies, All English, All Business and Teacher Librarian certifications in Iowa. The faculty in pre-service teaching programs at all three Regents universities raised concerns about the sudden and drastic nature of these proposed changes. Also of concern is the lack of dialogue with the teacher preparation programs to ensure an understanding of what content would be sacrificed in these future teachers, or what alternatives there may be to help ensure all Iowa schools have qualified teachers in each of these subject areas.

After ARRC received numerous public comments, including from the Board of Regents, they told the BOEE they expect them to include the education community in their discussions prior to them bringing back their final proposed rules. At the earliest, they would come back to the ARRC in April. I’ll keep you posted as the rules progress.

If you have any questions, please email me at mary.braun@uni.edu.

Upcoming events in the legislature:

Feb. 17 – UNI Day at the Capitol, first floor rotunda, 11:30am – 2:30pm

Feb. 19 – Regents institutions presenting infrastructure requests to the Transportation, Infrastructure & Capitals Appropriations Subcommittee (including UNI’s Industrial Technology Center request)

 

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 3

January 31, 2020

On Wednesday, January 29, Randy Pilkington, Director of Business and Community Services, and Jerry Thiel, Director of the Metal Casting Center and Additive Manufacturing Center, presented our fiscal year 2021 budget requests to the Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee. For the 20th consecutive year, UNI’s Business and Community Services (BCS) has provided assistance in all 99 counties.  In 2019, BCS served 3,362 clients, engaged 3,430 students, and 161 faculty and staff were involved in delivery of their services. Every $1 provided by the state is leveraged with $5 in private grants, fees or federal funding.

Our requests for FY 2021 are status quo funding:

  • The Skilled Worker and Job Creation Fund (SWJCF) appropriation of $1,066,419 to UNI is for ongoing economic development efforts related to the Metal Casting Center, the Institute for Decision Making, the Center for Business Growth and Innovation and Advance Iowa (UNI’s economic gardening program). UNI is required to focus expenditures on projects that will provide economic stimulus in Iowa and emphasize providing services to Iowa-based companies.
  • The expansion of the Additive Manufacturing Center related to investment castings technology and industry support started in FY 2020 with a $400,000 appropriation. To continue our efforts, we are again asking for $400,000 in FY 2021. The funds allow for engaging in higher levels of technology training and allow current staff members to concentrate more time on applied research and industry adoption. The funds support new full-time and student employee salaries to engage in higher levels of technology training.
  • A total of $3 million is appropriated to the Regents Innovation Fund for all three universities (UNI receives $900,000). The Regents universities invest these funds in opportunities that yield successful startups, innovative business assistance and critical research leading to commercialization.

A copy of the presentation can be found here.

Legislative committee and subcommittee meetings continued this week. New bills continue to be filed.  This link will provide a complete list of bills we are tracking (in the box marked as lobbyist, type in Mary Braun).

A few bills of interest that were either introduced this week or subcommittee meetings were held:

SF 316 – requesting the establishment of a special education interim study committee. Passed out of subcommittee with an amendment that would add a higher education institution representative (i.e. UNI). The bill and amendment are eligible for consideration in the House Education Committee.

SF 2052 – in lieu of instruction by a licensed physical education teacher, instruction for the water safety component of a physical education course may be provided by a certified swim instructor. After public several comments during the subcommittee meeting with concerns, including my comments from UNI, the bill was indefinitely postponed for consideration.

SF 2057 – requiring public and private accredited elementary, secondary, and postsecondary institutions to establish a process by which students may appeal coursework grades based on alleged political bias. Passed out of subcommittee and eligible for consideration in the Senate Education Committee.

SSB 3017 – limiting which flags can be displayed on public buildings. Passed out of subcommittee and eligible for consideration in the Senate State Government Committee.

SSB 3080 / HSB 598 – addressing violent student behavior in the K-12 classroom.  Both bills are in their respective Education Committees.

HSB 585 – requiring a study, plan and report by the Board of Regents concerning emergency preparedness and response at stadiums. Introduced in House State Government Committee.

HSB 586 – allowing alternative project delivery contracts for public construction bidding, including design-build or construction manager-at-risk contracts. Introduced in House State Government Committee.

The Legislature’s first funnel date, when Senate policy bills need to come out of a Senate committee and House policy bills need to come out of a House committee to remain eligible for debate this legislative session, is February 21. This date does not apply to spending and tax bills.

If you have any questions, please email me at mary.braun@uni.edu.

Upcoming events in the legislature:

Feb. 17 – UNI Day at the Capitol, first floor rotunda, 11:30am – 2:30pm

Feb. 19 – Regents institutions presenting infrastructure requests to the Transportation, Infrastructure & Capitals Appropriations Subcommittee (including UNI’s Industrial Technology Center request)

 

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 2

January 24, 2020

Legislative committee and subcommittee meetings are underway this week. New bills are being filed daily for consideration, and the bills introduced last session are also eligible to be debated this session. As of today, the Board of Regents are registered on 89 additional bills for this legislative session.  This link will provide a complete list of bills we are tracking (in the box marked as lobbyist, type in Mary Braun).

A few bills of interest that were either introduced this week or subcommittee meetings were held:

SF 459 – all employers are required to allow all employees who have a permit to carry a weapon to lock their guns in their vehicles in employer parking lots. Employee is defined to include contract employees and volunteers. This bill has been voted out of subcommittee and is now before the full Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration.

SF 2058 - allow student-athletes to benefit financially from their name, image and likeness. The bill has been introduced in the Senate Education Committee.

SSB 3017 – allows only certain flags to be flown on public buildings. The bill has been introduced in the Senate State Government Committee and a subcommittee meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 27.

The Legislature’s first funnel date, when Senate policy bills need to come out of a Senate committee and House policy bills need to come out of a House committee to remain eligible for debate this legislative session, is February 21. This date does not apply to spending and tax bills.

This week I’ve also been discussing the proposed Board of Educational Examiner (BOEE) rules with the 10 members of the Legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee. The proposed rules would change the administrative rules that guide credit hour requirements for the All Science, All Social Studies, All English, All Business and Teacher Librarian certifications in Iowa. The faculty in pre-service teaching programs at all three Regents universities raised concerns about the sudden and drastic nature of these proposed changes. Also of concern is the lack of dialogue with the teacher preparation programs to ensure an understanding of what content would be sacrificed in these future teachers, or what alternatives there may be to help ensure all Iowa schools have qualified teachers in each of these subject areas.

The BOEE initial rules will be before the Legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee on February 7. Dr. Rachel Boon, Chief Academic Officer in the Board of Regents office, will provide public comments at this meeting, on behalf of the Board and the three universities. The Board believes that aligning Iowa certification standards with neighboring states is an insufficient justification for a change that could have impacts on student learning and preparation for the Iowa workforce and our outstanding postsecondary institutions in the state. Iowa’s Regent universities educate and train more than half of the PK-12 teachers and teacher librarians in the state. The perspectives of our universities and the faculty who provide this training is important to take into account when considering changes in certification and licensure standards.

If you have any questions, please email me at mary.braun@uni.edu.

Upcoming events in the legislature:

Jan. 29 – Randy Pilkington, Director of BCS, and Jerry Thiel, Director of the Metal Casting Center and Additive Manufacturing Center, will present our budget recommendations to the Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee

Feb. 17 – UNI Day at the Capitol, first floor rotunda, 11:30am – 2:30pm

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 1

January 17, 2020

Monday, January 13, 2020, started the second session of the 88th Iowa General Assembly. The majority of the week was spent convening organizational committee meetings and holding three joint sessions to hear from Governor Reynolds giving the Condition of the State, Acting Chief Justice Wiggins giving the State of the Judiciary, and Major General Corell giving the Condition of the National Guard.

The Iowa House leadership has changed. Monday started with the swearing in of the new House Speaker Pat Grassley. Former Speaker Linda Upmeyer decided not to seek re-election this November so stepped down. There is also a new House Majority Leader, Matt Windschidtl, who has replaced Representative Chris Hagenow. House Minority Leader Todd Prichard remains in his position. The Senate has the same leadership as last year, Senate President Charles Schneider, Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, and Senate Minority Leader Janet Petersen. This is the fourth year that the Republicans hold what is called a tri-fecta: the Governor, the Senate (32 Republicans and 18 Democrats) and the House (53 Republicans and 47 Democrats).

With 2020 being an election year, we anticipate most members will want to be done early to start campaigning. This is a 100-day session, which means the last day lawmakers will receive their daily per diem is April 21.

Governor Reynolds released her budget recommendations on Tuesday. She fully funds UNI's request for a major renovation and expansion of the Industrial Technology Center, a project that would expand the university's capacity to provide qualified applicants to industries struggling to meet Iowa's employment needs in high-demand fields. UNI requested the state fund $39.7 million, of the $43.9 million project, with a three-year investment including $1 million funded in the first year, $15.9 million in the second and $22.8 million in the third. This is the third year we've been requesting this funding so THANK YOU to EVERYONE who has helped in our lobbying efforts!

Governor Reynolds also recommended $3 million of our $4 million request that UNI would use to prevent tuition increases for Iowa students in the coming year.

Reynolds' budget proposal is the first step in creating the state's budget. In total, the governor's budget proposal includes:

  • $102.7 million for general education (a $3 million increase)
  • $39.7 million over three years for the ITC renovation and expansion
  • $6.4 million for STEM education (no change)
  • $1 million for economic development (no change)
  • $400,000 for Additive Manufacturing (no change)
  • $900,000 from the Regents Innovation Fund (no change)
  • $175,256 for the recycling and reuse center (no change)
  • $125,302 for real estate education (no change)

Additional information can be found in Governor Reynold’s Budget brief and Governor Reynold’s Budget book.

Details of UNI’s funding priorities can be found on our Panther Caucus website.

The Board of Regents also held their legislative breakfast on Wednesday with the nine board members, three university presidents and their student government leaders, and the superintendent of Iowa Education of Deaf & Blind. Here are photos of President Nook and our NISG student leaders with some of the lawmakers that stopped down to visit.

If you have any questions, please email me at mary.braun@uni.edu.

 

 

Click on the photo to see the full photo gallery

NISG Jacob Stites, NISG Isaak Espersen, NISG Jacob Levang, UNI President Mark Nook, UNI State Relations Officer Mary Braun UNI President Mark Nook and Senator Craig Johnson Regent Nancy Dunkel, Senator Eric Giddens and UNI President Mark Nook Senator Amy Sinclair and UNI President Mark Nook UNI President Mark Nook and Representative Gary Mohr Representative Dave Williams, Representative Charlie McConkey and UNI President Mark Nook UNI President Mark Nook, Representative Dave Kerr, former NISG president Drew Stensland and NISG Jacob Stites Representative Tracy Ehlert, Representative Molly Donahue and UNI President Mark Nook Representative Heather Matson and UNI President Mark Nook UNI President Mark Nook and Representative Sandy Salmon NISG Jacob Stites, NISG Jacob Levang, NISG Isaak Espersen, Regent Nancy Dunkel, Representative Bob Kressig, Senator Eric Giddens and UNI President Mark Nook