Office of Governmental Relations

2021 Legislative Updates

2021 Legislative Updates

The Iowa Legislature Adjourns: End of Session Highlights

May 20, 2021

The 2021 Iowa Legislature adjourned on Wednesday, May 19. 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 this year that have an impact on UNI:

HF 868 Education Budget Bill – The Regents universities are flat funded for FY 2022. Language is added that prohibits reducing money for universities’ police departments in FY 2022.

UNI’s line items are funded as follows:

  • $98,296,620 for base operations
  • $6,354,848 million for STEM education
  • $172,768 for the recycling and reuse center
  • $123,523 for real estate education

The bill requests the legislative council to establish an interim study committee to examine the administrative costs, staffing levels, and allocation of staff at the Regents universities, as well as the graduation and student retention rates for each academic program. The study committee is to submit a report, including findings and recommendations, by December 15, 2021, for the 2022 legislative session.

The bill requires the director of the Iowa department of education, in consultation with Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates (IJAG), to convene a task force on growing a diverse prekindergarten through grade twelve teacher base in Iowa. The task force will include representatives from public and private institutions of higher education engaged in practitioner preparation. The bill spells out their duties.

HF 871 Economic Development Budget Bill – UNI is funded at status quo level in the economic development budget bill, including the FY 21 cut to the additive manufacturing center. UNI’s line items are funded as follows:

  • $3,000,000 for Regents Innovation Fund ($900,000 to UNI)
  • $1,066,419 for UNI Business and Community Services (BCS)
  • $394,321 for additive manufacturing center

HF 862 Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund – There are no changes to the previously enacted infrastructure funding for UNI’s Industrial Technology Center renovation: $13M in FY 22, $18M in FY 23, and $8.5M in FY 24.

Policy bills that were adopted:

HF 675 Establishes new standards for substitute teacher authorizations.

HF 744 University free speech requirements - Mandates free speech training for select campus leaders; allows for the termination of faculty who knowingly and willingly violate the free speech rights of students;  and makes student government access to student funds contingent on compliance with the First Amendment.

HF 746 Veterinarian Malpractice - This bill would provide a statute of limitations for an action brought for professional negligence or malpractice against a person licensed to practice veterinary medicine.

HF 802 Racism and sexism mandatory training prohibitions - The bill prohibits race and sex stereotyping in official workplace training programs and provides “specific defined concepts” that cannot be used in such training.  The bill further requires institutional heads to ensure that any mandatory staff training provided by an employee of an agency, governmental entity, or governmental subdivision, or by a contractor hired by the agency, governmental entity, or governmental subdivision does not teach, advocate, encourage, promote, or act upon stereotyping, scapegoating, or prejudice toward others on the basis of demographic group membership or identity. 

HF 889  - COVID Vaccine Passport - The bill would prohibit the state or any political subdivision from including on an identification card issued information regarding COVID-19 vaccinations status of the individual.  The bill would also prohibit a business or governmental entity (including Regents institutions), from requiring a customer, patron, client, patient, or other person who is invited onto the premises to furnish proof of having received a vaccination for COVID-19 prior to entering the premises of a business or governmental entity. The bill would not prohibit a business or governmental entity from implementing a COVID-19 screening protocol that does not require proof of vaccination for COVID-19.

SF 342 Omnibus law enforcement bill including officer disciplinary actions and qualified police immunity.

SF 619 Telehealth parity, Manufacturing 4.0 and other tax provisions - The bill mandates insurance companies reimburse mental health providers for telehealth visits at the same rate as in person visits.

Policy bills that did not pass:

HF 153 Requires public policy events director

HF 166 Research sponsorship disclosure

HF 222 Reduces appropriations if use 1619 Project as part of history curriculum

HF 343 Allows weapons on campus

HF 383 Medication abortions

HF 399 Requires common course numbering

HF 468 Dental and medicine admissions/medical residencies 

HF 487 Medical residencies at University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics

HF 496/SF 41 Prohibits Tenure

HF 592/SF 557 Medical malpractice

HF 604 LEAD-K (Language Equality and Acquisition for Deaf Kids)

HSB 162 Prohibits requiring masks off campus

HSB 199 Requires publishing course syllabi on website for two years

HSB 246 Requires in-person spring commencement

HSB 66 Prohibits design build to be used on Regents construction projects 

SF 245 Allows Name, Image and Likeness for student athletes

SF 292 Regent survey of political party

 

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 18

May 14, 2021

The legislature is in their second week of overtime. There was no action on any of the appropriation bills affecting the Regents.

Senate and House committees did meet to move their respective tax cut bills. There was no floor action in either the Senate or the House as the leaders within the majority party of both chambers are meeting behind closed doors to negotiate on the final budget and tax cut agreements.

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

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 17

May 7, 2021

After debate this week, a few policy bills we are following are now on their way to the Governor’s desk:

HF 744 University Free Speech – Provides for training, prohibitions and requirements relating to first amendment rights at public K-12 school districts and public higher education institutions, as follows:

  • Regents universities and community colleges must provide training on free speech under the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States to all students, faculty, and staff on an annual basis, which elected officials and staff shall be permitted to attend.
  • Each member of the student government organization will be required to have instruction and training on the first amendment, including descriptions of what is or is not protected.
  • A student government organization’s access to and authority over any moneys disbursed to the student government organization will be contingent upon the student government organization’s compliance with the first amendment. If, after exhaustion of all administrative appeals, it is determined that a student government organization knowingly and intentionally violated the first amendment rights of a member of the campus community or that an action or decision of a student government organization is in violation of the first amendment, the institution will suspend the student government organization’s authority to manage and disburse student fees for a period of one year. During this period of suspension, student fees will be managed and disbursed by the university.
  • Regents universities must develop materials, programs and procedures to ensure that those who are responsible for discipline, instruction, or administration of the campus community, or who have oversight of student government organizations, or distribute activity fee funds, understand the policies, regulations and duties of the institution regarding free expression on campus.
  • Regents universities and community colleges must protect the first amendment rights of the institution’s students, staff, and faculty and establish and publicize policies that prohibit institutional restrictions and penalties based on protected speech, including political speech. An institution cannot retaliate against a member of the campus community who files a complaint.
  • If it is determined, after exhaustion of all available administrative and judicial appeals, that a faculty member knowingly and intentionally restricts the protected speech or otherwise penalizes a student, the faculty member will be subject to discipline by the institution through the normal disciplinary processes of the institution, and such discipline may include termination depending on the totality of the facts. If the faculty member is licensed by the board of educational examiners, the BOEE will conduct a hearing and the faculty member may be subject to disciplinary action by the BOEE.
  • Similar first amendment provisions are provided for K-12 school districts.

HF 802  Prohibits Mandatory Training of Specific Defined Concepts – Provides for requirements related to racism or sexism trainings at, and diversity and inclusion efforts by, all governmental state and local agencies and entities, public school districts, community colleges and Regents universities. As it relates to the Regents universities:

  • Each Regent university may continue training that fosters a workplace and learning environment that is respectful of all employees and students. However, the president, vice presidents, deans, department directors, or any other administrator must ensure that any mandatory staff or student training provided by an employee or by a hired contractor does not teach, advocate, act upon or promote specific defined concepts. This does not preclude them from responding to questions regarding specific defined concepts raised by participants in the training.
  • “Specific defined concepts” is defined to include all of the following.
    1. That one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex.
    2. That the United States and the state of Iowa is fundamentally racist or sexist.
    3. That an individual, solely because of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.
    4. That an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of the individual’s race or sex.
    5. That members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex.
    6. That an individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by the individual’s race or sex.
    7. That an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex.
    8. That any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress on account of that individual’s race or sex.
    9. That meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a particular race to oppress another race.
    10. Any other form of race or sex scapegoating or any other form of race or sex stereotyping.
  • University diversity and inclusion efforts shall discourage students from discriminating against another by political ideology or any characteristic protected under the federal Civil Rights Act and applicable state law.
  • Employees are prohibited from discriminating against students or employees by political ideology or any other characteristic protected under the federal Civil Rights Act and applicable state law.
  • These provisions shall not be construed to do any of the following:
    • Inhibit or violate the first amendment rights of students or faculty, or undermine a public university’s duty to protect to the fullest degree intellectual freedom and free expression. The intellectual vitality of students and faculty shall not be infringed.
    • Prevent a public university from promoting racial, cultural, ethnic, or academic diversity or inclusiveness, provided such efforts are consistent with the provisions of the Iowa Civil Rights Act and other applicable state law.
    • Prohibit discussing specific defined concepts as part of a larger course of academic instruction.
    • Create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or inequity by any party against the state of Iowa, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
    • Prohibit a state or federal court or agency of competent jurisdiction from ordering a training or remedial action containing discussions of specific defined concepts as a remedial action due to a finding of discrimination, including discrimination based on race or sex.
    • Prohibit the use of curriculum that teaches the topics of sexism, slavery, racial oppression, racial segregation, or racial discrimination, including topics relating to the enactment and enforcement of laws resulting in sexism, racial oppression, segregation, and discrimination.

HF 889  COVID Vaccine Passport – Prohibits the state or any political subdivision from including on an identification card issued information regarding COVID-19 vaccinations status of the individual.  The bill also prohibits a business or governmental entity (including Regents institutions) from requiring a customer, patron, client, patient, or other person who is invited onto the premises to furnish proof of having received a vaccination for COVID-19 prior to entering a premises of a business or governmental entity. The bill does not prohibit a business or governmental entity from implementing a COVID-19 screening protocol.  The bill would take effect upon enactment. 

The House also started debating their budget bills this week. These are their initial drafts; these are not the final budget appropriations.

HF 862 Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund – There are no changes to the previously enacted infrastructure funding for UNI’s Industrial Technology Center renovation in the House infrastructure budget bill: $13M in FY 22, $18M in FY 23, and $8.5M in FY 24.

HF 868 Education Budget Bill – The House does not provide any additional dollars to the Regents universities for FY 2022, requires tuition to be frozen, and prohibits reducing money for universities’ police departments. The bill also requests the legislative council to establish an interim study committee to examine the administrative costs, staffing levels, and allocation of staff at the Regents universities, as well as the graduation and student retention rates for each academic program. The study committee is to submit a report, including findings and recommendations, by December 15, 2021, for the 2022 legislative session.

HF 871 Economic Development Budget Bill – UNI is funded at status quo level in the House economic development budget bill, including the FY 21 cut to the additive manufacturing center. UNI’s line items are funded as follows:

  • $3,000,000 for Regents Innovation Fund ($900,000 to UNI)
  • $1,066,419 for UNI Business and Community Services (BCS)
  • $394,321 for additive manufacturing center

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

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 16

April 30, 2021

Like the previous week, the legislature continues working through some remaining policy bills and appropriations bills.  There was no action on any of the appropriation bills affecting the Regents this week.

The Senate did confirm all three Board of Regents that needed Senate confirmation: Mike Richards, Greta Rouse and Abby Crow.

HF 744 University Free Speech – The bill passed the House with the House accepting most of the Senate changes.  The House did not accept the provision that codified the creation of the Regents Free Speech Committee.  The bill goes back to the Senate for consideration with amendment S3173.

HF 802 Racism and Sexism Training - The bill passed the Senate this week with an amendment that slightly narrowed the focus of the bill but provisions related to the Regents did not materially change.  The bill now goes to the House for consideration with amendment H1428.

HF 889  COVID Vaccine Passport - The bill would prohibit the state or any political subdivision from including on an identification card issued information regarding COVID-19 vaccinations status of the individual.  The bill would also prohibit a business or governmental entity (including Regents institutions) from requiring a customer, patron, client, patient, or other person who is invited onto the premises to furnish proof of having received a vaccination for COVID-19 prior to entering a premises of a business or governmental entity. The bill would not prohibit a business or governmental entity from implementing a COVID-19 screening protocol that does not require proof of vaccination for COVID-19.  The bill would take effect upon enactment.  The bill was approved by the House this week and now awaits debate in the Senate.

Today was the last day the legislators got paid their per diems so we’re nearing the end of the 2021 legislative session. They will be back next week to work on the state’s budget, any tax policy and any remaining policy bills.

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

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 15

April 23, 2021

This week, the legislature continued working through some remaining policy bills and appropriations bills.  There was no action on any of the policy and appropriation bills affecting the Regents this week.

Governor Reynolds did submit the three Board of Regents that need Senate confirmation: Mike Richards, Greta Rouse and Abby Crow. It is anticipated they will be voted out of the Senate Education committee early next week.

Next Friday is the last day the legislators get paid their per diems so we’re nearing the end of the 2021 legislative session.

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

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 14

April 16, 2021

This week, the House and Senate continued to work on budget bills within their respective appropriations committees. We expect full floor debate on budget bills to start next week. The House and Senate are still not in agreement on state appropriations funding.

The difference with the House and Senate in the education budget bill is the House provides zero increase to the Regents universities (including UNI) and freezes tuition. The Senate restores last year’s $8 million cut to the Regents universities (including UNI) but provides no new dollars. The Senate does not freeze tuition.

Budget bills the Board of Regents are following:

The House will start:

  • Agriculture & Natural Resources

HF 860  https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ba=HF860&ga=89

SF 598 https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ba=SF598&ga=89

  • Education

HF 868 https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ba=HF868&ga=89

SF 596 https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ba=SF596&ga=89

  • Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund

HF 862 https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ba=HF862&ga=89
SF 600 https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ba=SF600&ga=89

  • Federal Block Grants

The Senate will start:

  • Economic Development

SF 595 https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ba=SF595&ga=89
HF 871 https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ba=HF871&ga=89

  • Health & Human Services

SSB 1267 https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ba=SSB1267&ga=89

  • Standing Appropriations

The House also amended the Senate’s law enforcement omnibus bill, SF 342, this week. As amended by the House, the bill is an Act relating to public records including confidentiality, access, and enforcement of public violations; uniform commercial code filings; certain employment matters including certain benefits, workers’ compensation, civil service examinations, and sheriff salaries; qualified immunity; communications in professional confidence; law enforcement including officer rights and disciplinary actions, eluding law enforcement, and the carrying of firearms; assaults involving lasers; the enforcement of laws; public disorder, assault, harassment, criminal mischief, unlawful obstruction of certain highways, and disorderly conduct; civil liability for certain vehicle operators; and window tinting; and providing penalties. The bill is currently on the Senate Calendar with the House amendment.

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

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 13

April 9, 2021

The House and Senate have started the budget process this week. Here are the budget bills the Board of Regents is tracking and where they stand, as of today. These are NOT final numbers.

The House will start:

The Senate will start:

  • Economic Development –  SF 595
  • Health & Human Services – not introduced yet
  • Standing Appropriations – not introduced yet

In the House education budget bill, there is no additional money provided in FY 22 than FY 21 for the three Regent universities, which includes the FY 21 cuts. There is also language in the bill that freezes tuition and mandatory fees for all three Regent universities for FY 22 at FY 21 levels. UNI’s line items are funded at:

  • $98,296,620 base operations funding
  • $6,354,848 for Governor's STEM Advisory Committee
  • $172,768 for the recycling and reuse center
  • $123,523 for real estate education

The Board of Regents statement on the tuition freeze language:

There has been national debate and proposals about freezing tuition for college students. We all have the same goal of keeping college affordable and accessible for students. However, the economics of a college education is not a one size fits all approach. The Board of Regents has studied tuition and developed a five year tuition plan that has successfully managed tuition increases. During the pandemic the Board froze tuition to ease the burden on those attending Iowa’s public universities. Understanding what resources are needed - including setting tuition and decisions on when to make adjustments to maintain the quality of Iowa's public universities - is one of the Board's most important functions. The responsibility of setting tuition rests with the Board and should continue as such to avoid politicizing Iowa's tuition rates.

Iowans have worked for generations to build up our universities into what they are today – major economic engines that educate students from across the state; produce world class research and contribute immeasurably to the quality of life we all enjoy.  

As this legislative session enters its final phase, we look forward to working with all legislators and the Governor to provide our universities the resources necessary to ensure our universities are even stronger for the next generation.

In the Senate economic development budget bill, UNI was funded at status quo level, including the FY 21 cut to the additive manufacturing center. UNI’s line items are funded as follows:

  • $3,000,000 for Regents Innovation Fund ($900,000 to UNI)
  • $1,066,419 for UNI Business and Community Services (BCS)
  • $394,321 for additive manufacturing center

There are no changes to the previously enacted infrastructure funding for UNI’s Industrial Technology Center renovation in the House infrastructure budget bill: $13M in FY 22, $18M in FY 23, and $8.5M in FY 24.

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

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 12

April 2, 2021

The Legislature’s second funnel week ended today. Three major bills that died included the House’s bill to prohibit tenure, the Senate’s Name Image and Likeness bill for student athletes, and the big tech company censorship bill. Next week the legislators will continue floor debate on policy bills and appropriations and ways and means committee debate.

Last week, I provided the Senate’s budget targets. We hope to see the House’s budget targets early next week. This year, the Education Budget bill is starting in the House and the Economic Development Budget bill is starting in the Senate.

Policy Bills that Remain Alive After the Second Funnel

Here is a list of some of the policy bills the Board of Regents is tracking that remain alive this session.

HF 744 Free Speech. An Act providing for training, prohibitions, and requirements relating to first amendment rights at school districts and public institutions of higher education. The Senate Education Committee amendment contains the student government language originally in SF 478, as follows:

  • Each member of the student government organization will be required to have instruction and training on the First Amendment, including descriptions of what is or is not protected.
  • A student government organization’s access to and authority over any moneys disbursed to the student government organization will be contingent upon the student government organization’s compliance with the First Amendment. If, after exhaustion of all administrative or judicial appeals, it is determined that a student government organization knowingly and intentionally violated the First Amendment rights of a member of the campus community or that an action or decision of a student government organization is in violation of the First Amendment, the institution will suspend the student government organization’s authority to manage and disburse student fees for a period of one year. During this period of suspension, student fees will be managed and disbursed by the university.

Passed House and on Senate Calendar eligible for debate with a Senate Education Committee amendment

HF 802 Divisive Concepts. An Act providing for requirements related to racism or sexism trainings at, and diversity and inclusion efforts by, governmental agencies and entities, school districts, and public post-secondary educational institutions. The chair of the Senate Education Committee said the majority party will be filing an amendment to the bill before if passes the Senate. We do not know what will be in the amendment but assume it will apply to removing some of the additional governmental entities the House added and delete some K-12 curriculum language. Passed House and on Senate Calendar eligible for debate

HF 259 Implanting Microchips. An Act concerning the implantation or insertion of microchips or other devices in employees by employers. Passed House and on Senate Calendar eligible for debate with a Senate Labor Committee amendment

HF 364 Athlete Agents. An Act relating to prohibited conduct by athlete agents and making penalties applicable. Passed House and on Senate Calendar eligible for debate

HF 388 Child Development. An Act relating to the duties of the child development coordinating council. Passed House and on Senate Calendar eligible for debate

HF 675 Substitute Teachers. An Act relating to rules adopted by the board of educational examiners establishing standards for substitute teacher authorizations. Passed House and on Senate Calendar eligible for debate

HF 722 Teach Iowa Loans. An Act relating to the transfer, deposit, and appropriation of moneys to the teach Iowa scholar fund from the teacher shortage forgivable loan repayment fund and the teacher shortage loan forgiveness repayment fund. Passed House and on Senate Calendar eligible for debate

HF 770 Teacher Professional Development Courses. An Act relating to licensure renewal requirements adopted by rule by the board of educational examiners. Passed House, in Senate Education Committee

SF 183 Prohibits Design Build. An Act relating to a construction manager-at-risk commercial construction alternative delivery method and prohibiting certain other alternative delivery methods in the public sector. Passed Senate and on House Calendar eligible for debate

SF 342 Brady List. An Act relating to officer disciplinary actions (including a legislative Brady List Interim Study Committee requirement). Passed Senate and on House Calendar eligible for debate

SF 476 Qualified Police Immunity. An Act relating to qualified immunity, the peace officer, public safety, and emergency personnel bill of rights, uniform commercial code filings, and protected information of law enforcement officers and state or federal judicial officers and prosecutors. Passed Senate and on House Calendar eligible for debate

SF 492 Unemployment benefits. An Act relating to unemployment insurance and including effective date and applicability provisions. On Senate Calendar eligible for debate (companion to HF 754 on House Calendar)

SF 541 Distributed Ledgers. An Act relating to electronic transactions by permitting the use of distributed ledger technology and smart contracts. On Senate Calendar to consider House amendment

SF 547 Iowa Scholar Program. An Act relating to applicant priority and grant award amounts under the teach Iowa scholar program (priority given to minority persons). Passed Senate and on House Calendar eligible for debate

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

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 11

March 26, 2021

This week is the week before the second funnel week. April 2 is the legislature’s second self-imposed deadline for policy bills to remain eligible this session. Senate files must pass the Senate and out of a House Committee and House files must pass the House and out of a Senate committee for them to remain eligible this year. This date does not apply to tax, spending and government oversight bills. Week 11 has been a lot of floor debate, subcommittee and committee meetings.

Also this week, the Senate Republicans released their budget targets, as follows:

Overview of tax relief provisions included in Senate Republican budget targets:

  • Elimination of the revenue triggers in the 2018 tax cut.
  • Elimination of the mental health levy on property taxes.
  • Elimination of the inheritance tax.

Overview of FY 2022 increases in Senate Republican budget targets:

  • Education funding increases over $80 million including:
    • An increase of $55.3 million for K-12 education.
    • An increase of $25 million for higher education including additional dollars for Last Dollar Scholarships.
  • Healthcare funding increases of $98.1 million including:
    • An increase of $15 million for provider increases for nursing homes and home and community-based service providers.
    • An increase of $60 million for mental health services. Over the next 2 years the state will provide over $125 million for mental health services.
  • Public safety funding increases of $13 million including:
    • An increase of almost $5 million for the Department of Public Safety.
    • An increase of just over $4.0 million for the Department of Corrections.
  • One time expenditures for broadband are not included in these targets.

This year, the Education Budget bill is starting in the House and the Economic Development Budget bill is starting in the Senate. We are still waiting for the House Republicans to release their budget targets.

Free Speech Bills

The Senate subcommittee on HF 744 met this week. They recommended an amendment and passage of the bill. The Senate Education Committee will meet next week to debate the bill. While the amendment hasn’t been filed, we believe it will include the student government language from their original SF 478, as follows:

  • Each member of the student government organization will be required to have instruction and training on the First Amendment, including descriptions of what is or is not protected.
  • A student government organization’s access to and authority over any moneys disbursed to the student government organization will be contingent upon the student government organization’s compliance with the First Amendment. If, after exhaustion of all administrative or judicial appeals, it is determined that a student government organization knowingly and intentionally violated the First Amendment rights of a member of the campus community or that an action or decision of a student government organization is in violation of the First Amendment, the institution will suspend the student government organization’s authority to manage and disburse student fees for a period of one year. During this period of suspension, student fees will be managed and disbursed by the university.

The Senate subcommittee on HF 802 met this week. They recommended an amendment and passage of the bill. The Senate Education Committee will meet next week to debate the bill. While the amendment hasn’t been filed, we believe it will make changes on who the divisive topics language will apply to and whether it applies to K-12 curriculum.

I will know more next week on what is included in the Senate versions of these two bills.

Other Bills of Interest 

HF 675 An Act relating to rules adopted by the board of educational examiners establishing standards for substitute teacher authorizations. Passed House and on Senate Calendar eligible for debate

HF 722 An Act relating to the transfer, deposit, and appropriation of moneys to the teach Iowa scholar fund from the teacher shortage forgivable loan repayment fund and the teacher shortage loan forgiveness repayment fund. Passed House and on Senate Calendar eligible for debate

HF 770 An Act relating to licensure renewal requirements adopted by rule by the board of educational examiners. Passed House, in Senate Education Committee

HF 795 An Act relating to seizure disorders and establishing certain requirements for school districts, accredited nonpublic schools, and the department of education. Passed House, in Senate Education Committee

SF 183 An Act relating to a construction manager-at-risk commercial construction alternative delivery method and prohibiting certain other alternative delivery methods in the public sector. Passed Senate and on House Calendar eligible for debate

SF 476 An Act relating to qualified immunity, the peace officer, public safety, and emergency personnel bill of rights, uniform commercial code filings, and protected information of law enforcement officers and state or federal judicial officers and prosecutors. Passed Senate and on House Calendar eligible for debate

SF 580 An Act prohibiting the state or a political subdivision of the state from entering into contracts with, or providing tax incentives or specified benefits to, certain companies that censor online content. The bill has passed the Senate and been referred to the House Judiciary Committee. No subcommittee has been assigned to date.

New bills continue to be filed. As of today, the Board of Regents are registered on 477 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).

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

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 10

March 19, 2021

The state's Revenue Estimating Conference met today and set the revenue estimates that are used when determining state appropriations. Their March estimates are higher than their December estimates so the Legislature will continue to use the December estimates for their upcoming budget work. This link shows the December estimates that will be used by the Legislature when crafting their budget bills. Hopefully I'll have budget bill targets soon so we'll get a better sense on how much state appropriations will be allocated for education.

House passes their two free speech bills this week

HF 744 Regents Univerisites and Community Colleges Free Speech – The House amended and passed their bill, HF 744, which pertains to free speech for the Regents universities and community colleges. The bill is now in the Senate Education Committee, which has scheduled a subcommittee meeting on Tuesday, March 23. The bill as amended does the following:

  • Regents universities must develop materials, programs and procedures to ensure that those who are responsible for discipline, instruction, or administration of the campus community, or who have oversight of student government organizations, or distribute activity fee funds, understand the policies, regulations, and duties of the institution regarding free expression on campus.
  • Regents universities and community colleges must protect the first amendment rights of the institution’s students, staff, and faculty and establish and publicize policies that prohibit institutional restrictions and penalties based on protected speech, including political speech. An institution cannot retaliate against a member of the campus community who files a complaint.
  • If it is determined, after exhaustion of all available administrative and judicial appeals, that a faculty member knowingly and intentionally restricts the protected speech or otherwise penalizes a student, the faculty member will be subject to discipline by the institution through the normal disciplinary processes of the institution, and such discipline may include termination depending on the totality of the facts. If the faculty member is licensed by the board of educational examiners, the BOEE will conduct a hearing and the faculty member may be subject to disciplinary action by the BOEE.
  • Regents universities and community colleges must provide training on free speech under the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States to all students, faculty, and staff on an annual basis, which elected officials and staff shall be permitted to attend.
  • Similar first amendment provisions provided for K-12 school districts.

HF 802 Divisive Concepts – The House amended and passed their bill, HF 802, which prohibits mandatory training on divisive concepts. They amended their bill to apply to all governmental entities in Iowa not just Regents universities. The bill is now in the Senate Education Committee, which has scheduled a subcommittee meeting on Tuesday, March 23. The bill as amended does the following:

  • The judicial branch and all state and local government entities may continue training that fosters a workplace and learning environment that is respectful of all employees and students. However, the governmental entity must ensure that any mandatory staff training provided by an employee or by a hired contractor does not teach, advocate, act upon or promote divisive concepts. This does not preclude them from responding to questions regarding divisive concepts raised by participants in the training.
  • “Divisive concepts” is defined in the bill to include all of the following.
      1. That one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex.
      2. That the United State and the state of Iowa is fundamentally racist or sexist.
      3. That an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.
      4. That an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of the individual’s race or sex.
      5. That members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex.
      6. That an individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by the individual’s race or sex.
      7. That an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex.
      8. That any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress on account of that individual’s race or sex.
      9. That meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a particular race to oppress another race.
      10. Any other form of race or sex stereotyping or any other form of race or sex scapegoating.

(a)    “Race or sex stereotyping” means a scribing character traits, values, moral and ethical codes, privileges, status, or beliefs to a race or sex, or to an individual because of the individual’s race or sex.

(b)    “Race or sex scapegoating” means assigning fault, blame, or bias to a race or sex, or to members of a race or sex because of their race or sex, or claiming that, consciously or unconsciously, and by virtue of persons’ race or sex, members of any race are inherently racist or are inherently inclined to oppress others, or that members of a sex are inherently sexist or inclined to oppress others.

  • Employees are prohibited from discriminating against students or employees, and institution diversity and inclusion efforts shall discourage employees and students of the institution from discriminating against another, by color, race, ethnicity, sex, gender, political ideology or any other characteristic protected under the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and applicable state law.
  • These provisions shall not be construed to do any of the following:
    • Inhibit or violate the First Amendment rights of students or faculty, or undermine a public university’s duty to protect to the fullest degree intellectual freedom and free expression. The intellectual vitality of students and faculty shall not be infringed.
    • Prevent a public university from promoting racial, cultural, ethnic, or academic diversity or inclusiveness, provided such efforts are consistent with the provisions of the Iowa Civil Rights Act and other applicable state law.
    • Prohibit discussing divisive concepts as part of a larger course of academic instruction.
    • Create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or inequity by any party against the state of Iowa, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
    • Prohibit a state or federal court or agency of competent jurisdiction from ordering a training or remedial action containing discussions of divisive concepts as a remedial action due to a finding of discrimination, including discrimination based on race or sex.
  • Similar divisive concepts provisions provided for K-12 school districts.

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

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 9

March 14, 2021

This is the first week post funnel. The major debate this week was that the Senate passed their free speech bill to the House, SF 478. Details of the bill can be found in Week 7 of This Week at the Statehouse. The two bills House bills are on the House’s Monday debate calendar (HF 744 and HF 802).

The Senate Ways and Means subcommittee also passed SF 571, which provides penalties if big tech social media companies censure speech. The bill has contract language that would affect the Regents institutions allowing us sever their contracts but are not required to do so. The bill is on the Senate Ways and Means committee agenda for Monday afternoon, with an amendment.

Other bills we’re tracking that had action this week:

HF 675 An Act relating to rules adopted by the board of educational examiners establishing standards for substitute teacher authorizations. Passed House, in Senate Education Committee

HF 722 An Act relating to the transfer, deposit, and appropriation of moneys to the teach Iowa scholar fund from the teacher shortage forgivable loan repayment fund and the teacher shortage loan forgiveness repayment fund. Passed House, in Senate Appropriations Committee

HF 770 An Act relating to licensure renewal requirements adopted by rule by the board of educational examiners. Passed House, in Senate Education Committee

HF 795 An Act relating to seizure disorders and establishing certain requirements for school districts, accredited nonpublic schools, and the department of education. Passed House, in Senate Education Committee

SF 534 An Act relating to law enforcement and certain criminal offenses, and providing penalties. Passed Senate, in House Public Safety Committee

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

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 8

March 5, 2021

The Legislature’s first funnel deadline ended today, March 5. We now know which policy bills are still alive and which ones have died. As a reminder, this does not apply to tax, spending and government oversight bills.

Here is a list of the major bills we’re tracking that directly impact UNI:

Alive

  • SF 478 Free Speech, includes language that mandatory staff or student training does not teach, advocate, act upon, or promote divisive concepts (race and sex stereotyping) – on Senate Calendar
  • HF 744 Free Speech (on House Calendar)
  • HSB 258 Mandatory staff or student training does not teach, advocate, act upon, or promote divisive concepts (race and sex stereotyping) (will get a new bill number when placed on the House Calendar)
  • SF 402 Big Tech Companies Censorship – bill was amended that tax incentive contracts will be severed if they have been found to violate by a court; for the Regents institutions, the language says we may sever the contracts but are not required to do so (will get a new bill number when placed on the Senate Calendar)
  • SF 183 Prohibits Design Build; allows construction manager at risk – passed Senate, on House Calendar

Alive but no action anticipated and believe will become ineligible at the Second Funnel (April 2) 

  • HF 496 Tenure – on House Calendar
  • SF 245 Name Image Likeness for college student-athletes – on Senate Calendar

Ineligible for further action as of the First Funnel (March 5)

  • SF 41 Senate’s Tenure bill
  • HSB 246 In Person Commencement
  • HSB 199 Publishing Syllabi on website for two years
  • HF 343 Weapons on Campus
  • HF 153 Public Policy Events Director
  • HF 222 Reduces appropriations if use 1619 Project as part of history curriculum
  • HF 399 Common Course Numbering
  • HSB 162 Prohibits requiring students and employees to wear masks and social distance while off campus
  • HSB 66 Regent Spending of nonstate dollars requires Act of the General Assembly
  • HF 166 Research Sponsorship Disclosure
  • SF 292 Regent Survey of Political Party

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

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 7

February 26, 2021

This week is the week before funnel week. There have been a lot of subcommittee and committee meetings. New bills continue to be filed. As of today, the Board of Regents are registered on 398 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).

Free Speech Bills

The Senate Education Committee amended and passed their free speech bill out of committee this week by a vote of 11-4. The bill is now on the Senate calendar eligible for debate. Effective July 1, 2021, SF 478 specifically requires:

1)      The Board of Regents to annually appoint a three-member, nonpartisan, Free Speech Committee to receive complaints regarding freedom of expression.

2)      Universities develop materials, programs and procedures to ensure that those who are responsible for discipline, instruction, or administration of the campus community, or who have oversight of student government organizations, or distribute activity fee funds, understand the policies, regulations, and duties of the institution regarding free expression on campus.

3)      Universities protect the first amendment rights of the institution’s students, staff, and faculty and establish and publicize policies that prohibit institutional restrictions and penalties based on protected speech, including political speech. A university cannot retaliate against a member of the campus community who files a complaint.

4)      If it is determined, after exhaustion of all available administrative and judicial appeals, that a faculty member knowingly and intentionally restricts the protected speech or otherwise penalizes a student, the faculty member will be subject to discipline by the institution through the normal disciplinary processes of the institution, and such discipline may include termination depending on the totality of the facts. If the faculty member is licensed by the board of educational examiners, the BOEE will conduct a hearing and the faculty member may be subject to disciplinary action by the BOEE.

5)      Specific language affecting student governments:

  • Each member of the student government organization will be required to have instruction and training on the First Amendment, including descriptions of what is or is not protected.
  • A student government organization’s access to and authority over any moneys disbursed to the student government organization will be contingent upon the student government organization’s compliance with the First Amendment. If, after exhaustion of all administrative or judicial appeals, it is determined that a student government organization knowingly and intentionally violated the First Amendment rights of a member of the campus community or that an action or decision of a student government organization is in violation of the First Amendment, the institution will suspend the student government organization’s authority to manage and disburse student fees for a period of one year. During this period of suspension, student fees will be managed and disbursed by the university.

6)      Prohibits race and sex stereotyping training by universities and K-12 schools.

  • Each university may continue training that fosters a workplace and learning environment that is respectful of all employees and students. However, the university president will ensure that any mandatory staff or student training provided by an employee or by a contractor hired by the institution does not teach, advocate, act upon, or promote divisive concepts. This does not preclude them from responding to questions regarding divisive concepts raised by participants in the training.
  • Divisive concepts is defined to include all of the following.
    • That one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex.
    • That the state of Iowa is fundamentally racist or sexist.
    • That an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.
    • That an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of the individual’s race or sex.
    • That members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex.
    • That an individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by the individual’s race or sex.
    • That an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex.
    • That any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of that individual’s race or sex.
    • That meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a particular race to oppress another race.
  • Institution diversity and inclusion efforts shall discourage students from discriminating against another, and its employees from discriminating against students, for any characteristic protected under Iowa and federal Civil Rights Acts.
  • These provisions shall not be construed to do any of the following:
    • Inhibit or violate the First Amendment rights of students or faculty, or undermine a public university’s duty to protect to the fullest degree intellectual freedom and free expression. The intellectual vitality of students and faculty shall not be infringed.
    • Prevent a public university from promoting diversity or inclusiveness, provided such efforts are consistent with the provisions of this section, Iowa’s Civil Rights Act, and other applicable law.
    • Prohibit discussing divisive concepts as part of a larger course of academic instruction.
    • Create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or inequity by any party against the state of Iowa, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
    • Prohibit a state or federal court or agency of competent jurisdiction from ordering a training or remedial action containing discussions of divisive concepts as a remedial action due to a finding of discrimination, including discrimination based on race or sex.

The subcommittee on the House free speech bill, HSB 237, voted their bill out of subcommittee this week by a vote of 2-1. The House version of the free speech bill does not include the language prohibiting race and sex stereotyping training by universities and K-12 schools. That language is included in a separate bill, HSB 258.

The end of next week, March 5, is 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 tax, spending and government oversight bills. Next week I’ll include the list of bills that remain alive and have died.

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

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 6

February 19, 2021

This week, the free speech bill we’ve been anticipating has been filed. The subcommittee meeting on SSB 1205 was held on Wednesday and we anticipate the bill being voted out of Senate Education Committee next week.

Effective July 1, 2021, the bill specifically requires:

1)      The Board of Regents to annually appoint a three-member, nonpartisan, Free Speech Committee to receive complaints regarding freedom of expression.

2)      Universities develop materials, programs and procedures to ensure that those who are responsible for discipline, instruction, or administration of the campus community, or who have oversight of student government organizations, understand the policies, regulations, and duties of the institution regarding free expression on campus.

3)      Universities protect the first amendment rights of the institution’s students, staff, and faculty and establish and publicize policies that prohibit institutional restrictions and penalties based on protected speech, including political speech. A university cannot retaliate against a member of the campus community who files a complaint for a violation.

4)      If it is determined, after exhaustion of all available administrative and judicial appeals, that a faculty member knowingly and intentionally restricts the protected speech or otherwise penalizes a student, the faculty member will be subject to discipline by the institution through the normal disciplinary processes of the institution, and such discipline may include termination depending on the totality of the facts. If the faculty member is licensed by the board of educational examiners, the BOEE will conduct a hearing and the faculty member may be subject to disciplinary action by the BOEE.

5)      Specific language affecting student governments:

  • Each member of the institution’s student government organization will be required to have instruction and training on the First Amendment, including descriptions of what is or is not protected under the amendment.
  • A student government organization’s access to and authority over any moneys disbursed to the student government organization will be contingent upon the student government organization’s compliance with the First Amendment. If, after exhaustion of all administrative or judicial appeals, it is determined that a student government organization knowingly and intentionally violated the First Amendment rights of a member of the campus community or that an action or decision of a student government organization is in violation of the First Amendment, the institution will suspend the student government organization’s authority to manage and disburse student fees for a period of two years. During this period of suspension, such student fees will be managed and disbursed by the university.

6)      Prohibits race and sex stereotyping training by universities and K-12 schools.

  • Each university may continue training that fosters a workplace and learning environment that is respectful of all employees and students. However, the university president will ensure that any mandatory staff or student training provided by an employee or by a contractor hired by the institution does not teach, advocate, act upon, or promote divisive concepts. This does not preclude them from responding to questions regarding divisive concepts raised by participants in the training.
  • Divisive concepts is defined to include all of the following.
    • That one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex.
    • That the state of Iowa is fundamentally racist or sexist.
    • That an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.
    • That an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of the individual’s race or sex.
    • That members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex.
    • That an individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by the individual’s race or sex.
    • That an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex.
    • That any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of that individual’s race or sex.
    • That meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a particular race to oppress another race.
    • Any other form of race or sex stereotyping or any other form of race or sex scapegoating.
  • Institution diversity and inclusion efforts shall discourage employees and students of the institution from discriminating against another by color, race, ethnicity, sex, or any other characteristic protected under the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and applicable state law.
  • These provisions shall not be construed to do any of the following:
    • Inhibit or violate the First Amendment rights of students or faculty, or undermine a public university’s duty to protect to the fullest degree intellectual freedom and free expression. The intellectual vitality of students and faculty shall not be infringed.
    • Prevent a public university from promoting racial, cultural, or ethnic diversity or inclusiveness, provided such efforts are consistent with the provisions of this section.
    • Prohibit discussing divisive concepts as part of a larger course of academic instruction.
    • Create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or inequity by any party against the state of Iowa, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

Committee and subcommittee meetings continue this week. New bills continue to be filed. As of today, the Board of Regents are registered on 349 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).

March 5 is 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 tax, spending and government oversight bills.

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

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 5

February 12, 2021

Week 5 continued with legislative committee and subcommittee meetings. New bills continue to be filed.  As of today, the Board of Regents are registered on 304 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).

Some bills of interest from this week:

SF 41 prohibiting tenure at public universities. Passed subcommittee 2-1. Eligible for debate in the Senate Education Committee.

HF 496 (formerly HF 49) prohibiting tenure at the institutions of higher learning governed by the state board of regents. Passed House Education Committee 12-9. Eligible for House floor debate.

SF 245 allows paying college student athletes. Passed subcommittee. Eligible for debate in Senate Judiciary Committee. No House companion bill.

HF 222 reduces funding for K-12 schools, community colleges and the Regents institutions who utilized any United States history curriculum that in whole or in part is derived from the New York Times “1619 Project”, or any similarly developed curriculum. Passed subcommittee 2-1. Eligible for debate in House Education Committee. No Senate companion bill.

HSB 199 requires Regents universities to publish on their website all course syllabus. Subcommittee meeting scheduled next Monday. No Senate companion bill.

HF 153 requires Regents universities to appoint a current employee as a director of public policy events, and require this employee to report to the universities’ general counsel office. Subcommittee meeting scheduled next Tuesday. No Senate companion bill.

HF 166 requires faculty or other employees or appointees of a community college or Regents universities who conducted or participated in sponsored research disclose the identity of each sponsor of the research. Passed subcommittee 2-1. Eligible for debate in House Education Committee. No Senate companion bill.

SF 292 requires the Regents universities to conduct a survey of all of the employees to determine the political party affiliations of all such persons, to disaggregate the survey results by job classification but not list the names of individual employees. Introduced in the Senate Education Committee.

SF 342 relates to officer disciplinary actions/ Brady list study. Eligible for Senate floor debate. No House companion bill.

SF 336 relates to the blood, bone marrow, and living organ donation incentive program. Eligible for Senate floor debate. No House companion bill.

HF 388 relates to eliminating two duties of the child development coordinating council. Passed House 94-0; eligible for Senate floor debate.

Although we have not yet seen any free speech bills filed, we do expect to see legislation.

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 March 5th. This date does not apply to tax, spending and government oversight bills.

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

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 4

February 5, 2021

It’s been another busy week at the Capitol with over a hundred bills being introduced. Subcommittee and committee meetings continue to be held.

On Tuesday, representatives of UNI, University of Iowa and Iowa State University presented short statements to the House Government Oversight Committee regarding free speech issues that occurred on their campuses last fall and answered the lawmakers’ questions. Representing UNI was Leah Gutknecht, Assistant to the President for Compliance & Equity Management; Allyson Rafanello, Dean of Students; and Steffoni Schmidt, Associate Director of Student Life and the Student Advisor to Northern Iowa Student Government.

On Wednesday, Randy Pilkington, Executive Director of UNI’s Business and Community Services, and Jerry Thiel, Director of the Metal Casting Center and Additive Manufacturing Center, presented our state fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget requests to the members of the House Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee. For the 21st consecutive year, UNI’s Business and Community Services (BCS) has provided assistance in all 99 counties.  Our FY 2022 requests are status quo at $2.3 million for economic and community development, additive manufacturing and to help small and mid-sized businesses succeed. A copy of the presentation can be found here.

Also on Wednesday, President Mark Nook presented UNI’s FY 2022 budget request to the House Education Appropriations Subcommittee, along with the presidents of the University of Iowa and Iowa State University. Our FY 2022 state appropriations request is $1.5 million in recovery funds from the FY 2021 cut plus an additional $4 million investment from the state. This request will allow us to continue our commitment to providing the high-quality education our students need to be successful professionals and leaders in Iowa's changing economy, while also ensuring a reasonable, predictable cost of education for Iowa families. We are also asking for $6.7 million for STEM education, real estate education and our recycling and reuse center. A copy of the presentation can be found here.

New bills are being filed daily for consideration. As of today, the Board of Regents are registered on 234 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).

Some bills of interest from this week:

SF 245 allows paying college student athletes. Introduced to Senate Judiciary Committee.

HF 343 allows carrying of weapons on the grounds of a school, community college, or university. Introduced to House Public Safety Committee.

HF 222 reduces funding for K-12 schools, community colleges and the Regents institutions who utilized any United States history curriculum that in whole or in part is derived from the New York Times “1619 Project”, or any similarly developed curriculum. Introduced to House Education Committee; subcommittee of Wheeler, chair, Smith and Stone.

HSB 162 prohibits Regents universities, private colleges and universities, and community colleges from requiring students and employees to wear masks and social distance while off campus. A subcommittee meeting was held this week and the bill was voted out 2-1 (Mitchell & Nordman aye; Bohannan nay). Awaits action 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 March 5th. This date does not apply to tax, spending and government oversight bills.

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

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 3

January 29, 2021

On Tuesday, Jan. 26, a House Education subcommittee was held on HF 49, prohibiting tenure at the Regents universities. The subcommittee voted the bill out on a 2-1 vote. It will be on the House Education Committee agenda next week. The Board of Regents is registered against this bill.

On Wednesday, Jan. 27, John Nash, Director of Facilities with the Iowa Board of Regents, presented the board’s $30 million deferred maintenance request to the members of the House Transportation, Infrastructure and Capitals Appropriations Subcommittee. A copy of his handout can be found here.

On Thursday, Jan. 28, by a vote of 28-19, the Senate passed SF 183, which allows governmental entities to use construction manager-at-risk on their construction projects and prohibits the Regents institutions from using the design-build alternative delivery method. The bill has been referred to the House State Government Committee. The Board of Regents is registered against this bill.

New bills are being filed daily for consideration. As of today, the Board of Regents are registered on 176 bills for this legislative session.  This link will provide a complete list of bills we are tracking: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/lobbyist/reports/declarations (in the box marked as lobbyist, type in Mary Braun).

One bill of interested filed this week is HSB 162/HF 204, An Act providing that public postsecondary institutions are prohibited from requiring students or employees to wear face masks or social distance off campus and only accredited private institutions that do not require students or employees to wear face masks or social distance off campus can qualify for the Iowa tuition grant program, and including effective date provisions (upon enactment).

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 March 5th. This date does not apply to tax, spending and government oversight bills.

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

Upcoming events in the legislature:

Feb. 2 – House Oversight Committee meeting to discuss free speech and the first amendment on Regent universities’ campuses with testimony from the three Board of Regents universities. Those present from UNI will be Leah Gutknecht, Assistant to President, Compliance & Equity Management; Allyson Rafanello, Dean of Students; and Steffoni Schmidt, Associate Director Student Life, Student Advisor to Northern Iowa Student Government.

Feb. 3 – Randy Pilkington, Executive Director of BCS, and Jerry Thiel, Director of the Metal Casting Center and Additive Manufacturing Center, will present UNI’s budget requests to the House Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee.

Feb. 3 – President Mark Nook will present UNI’s budget requests to the House Education Appropriations Subcommittee; joined by the president’s at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University presenting their budget requests.

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 2

January 22, 2021

The Legislature was not in session on Monday in remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The remainder of the week was spent in legislative committee and subcommittee meetings. The House had their first floor debate on Thursday afternoon approving House rules.

New bills are being filed daily for consideration. As of today, the Board of Regents are registered on 105 bills for this legislative session.  This link will provide a complete list of bills we are tracking: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/lobbyist/reports/declarations (in the box marked as lobbyist, type in Mary Braun).

On Wednesday, a Senate subcommittee was held on SSB 1018, which allows governmental entities to use construction manager-at-risk on their construction projects and prohibits the Regents institutions from using the design-build alternative delivery method on construction projects. The Board of Regents is registered against this bill.

On Thursday, a House subcommittee was held on HSB 66, which prohibits all Board of Regents institutions from spending any nonstate moneys, including federal funds, public or private gifts or donations, nonstate grants or receipts, and any other moneys from any nonstate public or private sources, unless the expenditure is approved by an Act of the general assembly. The Board of Regents is registered against this bill.

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 March 5th. This date does not apply to spending and tax bills.

Upcoming events in the legislature:

Jan. 26 – subcommittee on HF 49, prohibiting tenure at the Regents universities

Jan. 26 – Randy Pilkington, Executive Director of BCS, and Jerry Thiel, Director of the Metal Casting Center and Additive Manufacturing Center, will present UNI’s budget requests to the House Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee

Jan. 27 – John Nash with the Iowa Board of Regents office will present information on the Regents FY 22 deferred maintenance request of $30 million

Jan. 27 – House Oversight Committee meeting discusses free speech on Regent universities’ campuses

Feb. 3 – President Mark Nook will present UNI’s budget requests to the House Education Appropriations Subcommittee; joined by the president’s at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University presenting their budget requests

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

 


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 1

January 15, 2021

Monday, January 11, 2021 started the 89th Iowa General Assembly. Lawmakers spent the majority of the week convening organizational committee meetings and holding three joint sessions to hear from Governor Reynolds giving the Condition of the State, Chief Justice Christensen giving the State of the Judiciary, and Major General Corell giving the Condition of the National Guard.

The 2020 elections provided the Iowa House with 18 newly elected representatives and the Iowa Senate with eight new senators. The Republican Party continues to hold the majority in the Iowa House and Senate at 59-41 and 31-18, respectfully (a special election is scheduled on Jan. 26 to fill a seat in the Senate). Additional information can be found on the Legislature’s website.

This is a 110-day session, which means the last day lawmakers will receive their daily per diem is April 30.

The Capitol is not operating "business as usual". Protocols were sent out for the 2021 legislative session due to the pandemic. Legislators are expected to be in the Capitol building to participate and vote in committee meetings and floor debate. The Capitol Building is open to the public but there will be no guided tours. Constituents, lobbyists, and members of the public are encouraged to conduct business with legislators and staff via phone, email, or text to limit personal contact. Joint budget subcommittee are no longer meeting jointly. Senate committee meetings are being held in the Senate chambers and can be viewed on their live stream. Attendance at Senate subcommittee meetings by lobbyists and the public is via zoom only. House committee meetings and subcommittee meetings are being held in larger committee rooms and can be viewed virtually via webex. Members of the public are strongly encouraged to submit written comments on legislation via the General Assembly’s website for House subcommittee meetings.

UNI is committed to student success and upholding our public charge to be open and accessible. Our budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2022 will enable us to increase enrollment by keeping tuition and fees affordable and competitive while providing a high quality education. The FY 2022 state appropriations request is $1.5 million in recovery funds from the FY 2021 cut plus an additional $4 million investment from the state to keep costs affordable for Iowa students and their families. Additional legislative budget requests:

  • $6.35 million for STEM education
  • $1 million for economic development
  • $900,000 from the Regents Innovation Fund
  • $400,000 for UNI’s additive manufacturing
  • $172,768 for the recycling and reuse center
  • $123,523 for real estate education

Governor Reynolds unveiled her budget proposal Tuesday evening, January 12. She is recommending an increase of $15 million to the Board of Regents institutions. The distribution would be determined by the Board of Regents. Reynolds' budget proposal is the first step in creating the state's budget. Additional information can be found in Governor Reynold’s Budget brief and Governor Reynold’s Budget book.

During this first week of session, the Board of Regents is already registered on 64 policy bills. Two bills introduced that the Board of Regents are registered AGAINST pertain to prohibiting tenure:

SF 41 An Act prohibiting tenure systems at public postsecondary educational institutions, and including applicability provisions.

HF 49 An Act prohibiting tenure systems at the institutions of higher learning governed by the state board of regents, and including applicability provisions.

Another bill the Board is registered AGAINST would prohibit design build alternative delivery method for construction projects:

SSB 1018 An Act relating to a construction manager-at-risk commercial construction alternative delivery method and prohibiting certain other alternative delivery methods in the public sector and including effective date and applicability provisions.

This link will provide a complete list of bills we are tracking (in the box marked as lobbyist, type in Mary Braun).

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