Greetings from the Statehouse

Steven Bradley
Iowa State Representative, 66th Dist.

Week 7 Messaging

   Monday kicked off one of the busiest weeks of Iowa’s legislative session, where it’s live or die for many of the bills lawmakers have introduced this year. That’s because Friday marks the first legislative “funnel” deadline, which means bills introduced in one chamber must receive approval from a full committee in that chamber to remain alive. Bills that don’t reach that point in the legislative process are likely dead for the year. 

   Several major bills still need to pass a committee, including some of the most contentious bills of the session. It is a flurry of activity as lawmakers get their priorities through before week end.

   Although, nothing is ever truly dead. Lawmakers can bring back proposals in a number of ways throughout the session. The funnel deadline doesn’t apply to tax-related and spending bills, which are “funnel-proof.”

   A bill I chaired in subcommittee and proud of its unanimous passage that allows autistic children to have excused absences from school to attend doctor’s appointments. Executive director Jack Mescher of Hills and Dales, Dubuque, was very instrumental in pointing out the need for this.

New Bill Gives Schools More Flexibility

   House Education Committee passed HSB 119, a bill that comes as a collaboration between legislators, the Governor’s office, and superintendents and administrators being asked what could be done to help their schools and allow more flexibility. Some of the highlights are below.

   The bill removes the requirement that schools must submit a Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP). This does not mean districts aren’t tracking and reporting what is in that plan, it simply means they don’t have to re-input the same data and submit it again. This helps free up administrative time and resources.

   It eliminates the requirement that a school librarian must have a Master’s degree and allows a district to employ a librarian who was previously employed by a public library.

   The bill allows for up to five school days to be virtual. This would be used for things like snow days, flooding, or other reasons why students cannot be in the physical building. Sadly, for kids, it appears snow days will be a thing of the past.
It also allows more flexibility for teachers when it comes to classroom space by allowing teachers to teach sequential courses in the same classroom whether it’s AP, regular courses, or community college courses as long as they meet the certification requirements.


   The bill removes CPR instruction as a graduation requirement but does not prohibit it.

   It allows those participating in a school-sponsored activity that requires physical activity to be counted towards PE.

   It removes Human Papillomavirus (HPV) instruction and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) instruction as specifically listed under communicable disease instruction and sexually transmitted disease instruction.

   The bill does not prohibit instruction about HPV and AIDS. Currently, health curriculum must include the characteristics of communicable diseases. HPV and AIDS are communicable diseases and therefore are covered. Previously legislatures had added HPV and AIDS specifically on top of the teaching requirement on communicable diseases.

   The world language requirement for schools is dropped from four units to two units and fine arts is dropped from three units to two units. Districts are still able to make a local decision to maintain the previous requirement if they so choose. Again, this provides more flexibility for the school.


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