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Legislative Updates - the Capital Group

There are many issues in the upcoming session that have the potential to impact school counselors. The legislative committees need to hear from Iowa school counselors.

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To find out who your senators and representatives are, please check out the Find Your Legislator page of the Iowa Legislature website.  Visit https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/find.

2021 Updates

Legislative summary updates will appear here once the session begins.

May 14, 2021

Stalemate Continues

The budget impasse between the House and Senate continues at the Iowa Statehouse.

When lawmakers return to Des Moines next week they begin their third week of “legislative session overtime.” 

Senate Advances Major Tax Policy Bill - Includes Telehealth Payment Parity

The Senate Ways and Means and Appropriations Committees each gave their go-ahead to Senate File 619  a 72-page omnibus tax policy bill.

Included in the bill is a provision which requires insurance companies to reimburse mental health services delivered via telehealth at the same rate as they would for in person services. 

Talks between the two chambers on this major tax policy proposal continues.

Bills of interest:

SF 619 (formerly SSB 1276) - Omnibus Tax Policy and Extras (F) - Included in this 72-page bill is a provision that provides for payment parity for mental health services delivered via telehealth.

On Senate debate calendar

SF 596 - Education Appropriations (M) - Included in this bill is a $2.1 million appropriation for the continuation of the Student Mental Health School-Based Program.

On Senate debate calendar

SF 524 (formerly SSB 1227) - Psych Bed Tracking (F) - This bill establishes an inpatient psychiatric bed tracking system study committee.

The department of public health shall submit a report of the study committee detailing the committee’s findings and recommendations, including a proposed date to implement real-time electronic data tracking, to the general assembly and the governor no later than December 15, 2021.

The House also added an amendment  which would require insurance companies to reimburse mental health services delivered via telehealth at the same rate as they would for in person services.

Passed the Senate 48-0. Amended and approved by the House 92-0. On Senate debate calendar.

SF 354 (formerly SF 163) - CEU Hardship Relief (M) - The bill authorizes a licensing board to extend the deadline to satisfy continuing education requirements by up to 90 days if a board finds that a licensee is experiencing an unforeseen financial or medical hardship and the licensee submits a request to a licensing board to extend the deadline due to the financial or medical hardship accompanied by evidence that the licensee or a member of the licensee’s family is experiencing a financial or medical hardship.

Passed the Senate 48-0. On House debate calendar

SF 258 (formerly SF 117) - Surtax for School Safety Officers (M) - This bill authorizes school districts to raise additional amounts of property tax or income surtax under the instructional support program for certain school resource officer expenses.

Approved by the Ed Committee. Approved by Ways and Means Subcommittee

HF 893 (formerly HSB 278) - Omnibus Tax Policy and Other Issues (F) - 35 page, mostly tax focused bill is a provision that provides for payment parity for mental health services delivered via telehealth.

On House debate calendar

HF 868 - Education Appropriations (F) - Included in this bill is a $3.1 million appropriation for the continuation of the Student Mental Health School-Based Program.

Approved by the House 51-38

HF 431 (formerly HF 88) - Audio Only Telehealth (F) - This bill provides that, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, a health-related professional licensing board that authorizes the use of telehealth or telemedicine by health-related professionals shall amend or adopt administrative rules to allow a health-related professional under the purview of the appropriate licensing board to utilize telehealth or telemedicine to deliver health care services through the use of interactive audio-only communication.

Passed the House 92-0. On Senate debate calendar

Passed both chambers:

SF 160 - Get Back Into the Classroom (A) - This bill, a priority of Governor Reynolds, sets forth the criteria for a school district to provide in-person instruction.

Passed the Senate 29-18; Passed the House 59-39. Approved by the Governor

HF 802 - Training Rules and Requirements (A) - This bill provides requirements related to racism or sexism training, and to diversity and inclusion efforts, at or by school districts and public postsecondary educational institutions.

Approved by the House 59-38. Amended and approved by the Senate 30-18. Approved by the House 53-35. Awaiting Governor's action.

HF 813 (formerly HSB 242) - Charter Schools (A) - The bill establishes a new charter school program.  The legislation does not require that a charter school employ a school counselor.

Approved by the House 55-40. Approved by the Senate Education Committee. Approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Approved by the Senate 30-18. Awaiting Governor's action.


May 7, 2021

Double Overtime

The end of the 2021 Session of the Iowa Legislature session does not appear to be on the horizon.

The two chambers of the Legislature are reportedly not yet “close” on a spending and tax policy agreement.

The House has decided to debate appropriations bills and send them to the Senate.  No word yet on when that chamber plans to consider spending plans.


Education Spending Bill Passed By The House

Following a long, and at times contentious debate, the House voted to approve House File 868 the Education Appropriations Bill on a 51-38 vote.

Included in the bill is a $3.1 million appropriation for the continuation of the Student Mental Health School-Based Program.

No word yet on when the Senate will consider this and the other spending bill.


House May Debate HHS Budget Next Week

The House is expected to vote on HF 891, the Health and Human Services Appropriations bill next week.

Included in the bill are the following provisions of interest:

  • Payment parity for mental health services delivered via telehealth;
  • More funds to increase psychiatric medical institutions for children (PMIC) provider rates; 
  • Increased funds to reduce the children's mental health HCBS waiver waiting list;
  • Ends the requirement of the Board of Social Work and the Board of Behavioral Science that require the supervision for licensure of marital and family therapists and mental health counselors be in-person.  The same provision also ends similar requirements for hours in excess of the hours required by the Board of Social Work for the licensure of any class of social worker.

Bills of interest:

SF 596 - Education Appropriations (M) - Included in this bill is a $2.1 million appropriation for the continuation of the Student Mental Health School-Based Program.

On Senate debate calendar

SF 524 (formerly SSB 1227) - Psych Bed Tracking (F) - This bill establishes an inpatient psychiatric bed tracking system study committee.

The department of public health shall submit a report of the study committee detailing the committee’s findings and recommendations, including a proposed date to implement real-time electronic data tracking, to the general assembly and the governor no later than December 15, 2021.

The House also added an amendment  which would require insurance companies to reimburse mental health services delivered via telehealth at the same rate as they would for in person services.

Passed the Senate 48-0. Amended and approved by the House 92-0. On Senate debate calendar.

SF 354 (formerly SF 163) - CEU Hardship Relief (M) - The bill authorizes a licensing board to extend the deadline to satisfy continuing education requirements by up to 90 days if a board finds that a licensee is experiencing an unforeseen financial or medical hardship and the licensee submits a request to a licensing board to extend the deadline due to the financial or medical hardship accompanied by evidence that the licensee or a member of the licensee’s family is experiencing a financial or medical hardship.

Passed the Senate 48-0. On House debate calendar

SF 258 (formerly SF 117) - Surtax for School Safety Officers (M) - This bill authorizes school districts to raise additional amounts of property tax or income surtax under the instructional support program for certain school resource officer expenses.

Approved by the Ed Committee. Approved by Ways and Means Subcommittee

SSB 1276 - Omnibus Tax Policy and Extras (F) - Included in this 72-page bill is a provision that provides for payment parity for mental health services delivered via telehealth.

Subcommittee: Dawson, Jochum and Schultz

HF 893 (formerly HSB 278) - Omnibus Tax Policy and Other Issues (F) - 35 page, mostly tax focused bill is a provision that provides for payment parity for mental health services delivered via telehealth.

On House debate calendar

HF 868 - Education Appropriations (F) - Included in this bill is a $3.1 million appropriation for the continuation of the Student Mental Health School-Based Program.

Approved by the House 51-38

HF 431 (formerly HF 88) - Audio Only Telehealth (F) - This bill provides that, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, a health-related professional licensing board that authorizes the use of telehealth or telemedicine by health-related professionals shall amend or adopt administrative rules to allow a health-related professional under the purview of the appropriate licensing board to utilize telehealth or telemedicine to deliver health care services through the use of interactive audio-only communication.

Passed the House 92-0. On Senate debate calendar

Passed both chambers:

SF 160 - Get Back Into the Classroom (A) - This bill, a priority of Governor Reynolds, sets forth the criteria for a school district to provide in-person instruction.

Passed the Senate 29-18; Passed the House 59-39. Approved by the Governor

HF 802 - Training Rules and Requirements (A) - This bill provides requirements related to racism or sexism training, and to diversity and inclusion efforts, at or by school districts and public postsecondary educational institutions.

Approved by the House 59-38. Amended and approved by the Senate 30-18. Approved by the House 53-35. Awaiting Governor's action.

HF 813 (formerly HSB 242) - Charter Schools (A) - The bill establishes a new charter school program.  The legislation does not require that a charter school employ a school counselor.

Approved by the House 55-40. Approved by the Senate Education Committee. Approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Approved by the Senate 30-18. Awaiting Governor's action.

April 30, 2021

Senate Votes To Not Require School Counselors in Charter Schools

On a party-line vote, the Senate rejected an amendment that would have required charter schools to employ a qualified school counselor.

The amendment offered by Sen. Herman Quirmbach, was one of many proposed in an effort to add accountability and student safety to House File 813, a bill backed by Governor Reynolds.

Here is the record roll-call for amendment 3195:

(also at: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/findLegislation/floorVotes?action=result&calendarItemID=9347&useFile=true&chamberID=S )

YEAS - 18: Bisignano, Giddens, Mathis, Smith, J., Bolkcom, Hogg, Petersen, Taylor, T., Boulton, Jochum, Quirmbach, Trone Garriott, Celsi, Kinney, Ragan, Wahls, Dotzler, Lykam

NO - 30: Brown, Edler, Kraayenbrink, Sweeney, Carlin, Garrett, Lofgren, Taylor, J., Chapman, Goodwin, Reichman, Whiting ,Costello, Green, Rozenboom, Whitver, Cournoyer, Guth, Shipley, Williams, Dawson, Johnson, Sinclair, Zaun, Dickey, Klimesh, Smith, R., Zumbach, Driscoll; Koelker

The bill now heads to the Governor's desk where she is expected to sign it into law.

Overtime!

The 2021 Session of the Iowa Legislature moves into “overtime” starting next week as the 110 calendar days that make up the session end today, April 30.

Beginning this upcoming Monday lawmakers will not receive their per diem payments, yet work on budget and tax policy will likely continue for at least another week and maybe more.

Bills of interest:

SF 596 - Education Appropriations (M) - Included in this bill is a $2.1 million appropriation for the continuation of the Student Mental Health School-Based Program.

On Senate debate calendar

SF 524 (formerly SSB 1227) - Psych Bed Tracking (F) - This bill establishes an inpatient psychiatric bed tracking system study committee.

The department of public health shall submit a report of the study committee detailing the committee’s findings and recommendations, including a proposed date to implement real-time electronic data tracking, to the general assembly and the governor no later than December 15, 2021.

The House also added an amendment  which would require insurance companies to reimburse mental health services delivered via telehealth at the same rate as they would for in person services.

Passed the Senate 48-0. On House debate calendar

SF 354 (formerly SF 163) - CEU Hardship Relief (M) - The bill authorizes a licensing board to extend the deadline to satisfy continuing education requirements by up to 90 days if a board finds that a licensee is experiencing an unforeseen financial or medical hardship and the licensee submits a request to a licensing board to extend the deadline due to the financial or medical hardship accompanied by evidence that the licensee or a member of the licensee’s family is experiencing a financial or medical hardship.

Passed the Senate 48-0. On House debate calendar

SF 258 (formerly SF 117) - Surtax for School Safety Officers (M) - This bill authorizes school districts to raise additional amounts of property tax or income surtax under the instructional support program for certain school resource officer expenses.

Approved by the Ed Committee. Approved by Ways and Means Subcommittee

HF 868 - Education Appropriations (F) - Included in this bill is a $3.1 million appropriation for the continuation of the Student Mental Health School-Based Program.

On House debate calendar

HF 802 - Training Rules and Requirements (A) - This bill provides requirements related to racism or sexism training, and to diversity and inclusion efforts, at or by school districts and public postsecondary educational institutions.

Approved by the House 59-38. On Senate debate calendar

HF 431 (formerly HF 88) - Audio Only Telehealth (F) - This bill provides that, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, a health-related professional licensing board that authorizes the use of telehealth or telemedicine by health-related professionals shall amend or adopt administrative rules to allow a health-related professional under the purview of the appropriate licensing board to utilize telehealth or telemedicine to deliver health care services through the use of interactive audio-only communication.

Passed the House 92-0. On Senate debate calendar

Passed both chambers:

SF 160 - Get Back Into the Classroom (A) - This bill, a priority of Governor Reynolds, sets forth the criteria for a school district to provide in-person instruction.

Passed the Senate 29-18; Passed the House 59-39. Approved by the Governor

HF 813 (formerly HSB 242) - Charter Schools (A) - The bill establishes a new charter school program.  The legislation does not require that a charter school employ a school counselor.

Approved by the House 55-40. Approved by the Senate Education Committee. Approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Approved by the Senate 30-18. Awaiting Governor's action.

April 23, 2021

House - Senate Budget Talks Still Not Taking Place 

The effort to negotiate spending and tax policy agreements between the two chambers of the Iowa Legislature have yet to begin in earnest.

There is currently a significant financial divide between the two chambers, with the Senate proposing to spend tens of millions of dollars less than the House.

Similarly, talks regarding tax policy changes have yet to begin.

House Adds Telehealth Reimbursement Policy To Bed Tracking Bill

The House has sent Senate File 524 back to the Senate with a major addition.

That addition would require insurance companies to reimburse mental health services delivered via telehealth at the same rate as they would for in person services.

No word on if or when the Senate may take up SF 524 with the House amendment.

Bills of interest:

SF 598 - Education Appropriations (M) - Included in this bill is a $2.1 million appropriation for the continuation of the Student Mental Health School-Based Program.

On Senate debate calendar

SF 524 (formerly SSB 1227) - Psych Bed Tracking (F) - This bill establishes an inpatient psychiatric bed tracking system study committee.

The department of public health shall submit a report of the study committee detailing the committee’s findings and recommendations, including a proposed date to implement real-time electronic data tracking, to the general assembly and the governor no later than December 15, 2021.

The House also added an amendment  which would require insurance companies to reimburse mental health services delivered via telehealth at the same rate as they would for in person services.

Passed the Senate 48-0. On House debate calendar

SF 354 (formerly SF 163) - CEU Hardship Relief (M) - The bill authorizes a licensing board to extend the deadline to satisfy continuing education requirements by up to 90 days if a board finds that a licensee is experiencing an unforeseen financial or medical hardship and the licensee submits a request to a licensing board to extend the deadline due to the financial or medical hardship accompanied by evidence that the licensee or a member of the licensee’s family is experiencing a financial or medical hardship.

Passed the Senate 48-0. On House debate calendar

SF 258 (formerly SF 117) - Surtax for School Safety Officers (M) - This bill authorizes school districts to raise additional amounts of property tax or income surtax under the instructional support program for certain school resource officer expenses.

Approved by the Ed Committee. Approved by Ways and Means Subcommittee

HF 868 - Education Appropriations (F) - Included in this bill is a $3.1 million appropriation for the continuation of the Student Mental Health School-Based Program.

On House debate calendar

HF 813 (formerly HSB 242) - Charter Schools (A) - The bill establishes a new charter school program.  The legislation does not require that a charter school employ a school counselor.

Approved by the House 55-40. Approved by the Senate Education Committee. Approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee. On the Senate debate calendar.

HF 802 - Training Rules and Requirements (A) - This bill provides requirements related to racism or sexism training, and to diversity and inclusion efforts, at or by school districts and public postsecondary educational institutions.

Approved by the House 59-38. On Senate debate calendar

HF 431 (formerly HF 88) - Audio Only Telehealth (F) - This bill provides that, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, a health-related professional licensing board that authorizes the use of telehealth or telemedicine by health-related professionals shall amend or adopt administrative rules to allow a health-related professional under the purview of the appropriate licensing board to utilize telehealth or telemedicine to deliver health care services through the use of interactive audio-only communication.

Passed the House 92-0. On Senate debate calendar

Passed both chambers:

SF 160 - Get Back Into the Classroom (A) - This bill, a priority of Governor Reynolds, sets forth the criteria for a school district to provide in-person instruction.

Passed the Senate 29-18; Passed the House 59-39. Approved by the Governor

April 16, 2021

End of 2021 Session Coming Soon?

The end of the 2021 Session of the Iowa Legislature is beginning to loom on the horizon.

The House and Senate have each introduced their versions of spending bills and negotiations on tax policy changes are underway.

Bills of interest:

SF 598 - Education Appropriations (M) - Included in this bill is a $2.1 million appropriation for the continuation of the Student Mental Health School-Based Program.

On Senate debate calendar

SF 524 (formerly SSB 1227) - Psych Bed Tracking (F) - This bill establishes an inpatient psychiatric bed tracking system study committee.

The department of public health shall submit a report of the study committee detailing the committee’s findings and recommendations, including a proposed date to implement real-time electronic data tracking, to the general assembly and the governor no later than December 15, 2021.

Passed the Senate 48-0. On House debate calendar

SF 354 (formerly SF 163) - CEU Hardship Relief (M) - The bill authorizes a licensing board to extend the deadline to satisfy continuing education requirements by up to 90 days if a board finds that a licensee is experiencing an unforeseen financial or medical hardship and the licensee submits a request to a licensing board to extend the deadline due to the financial or medical hardship accompanied by evidence that the licensee or a member of the licensee’s family is experiencing a financial or medical hardship.

Passed the Senate 48-0. On House debate calendar

SF 258 (formerly SF 117) - Surtax for School Safety Officers (M) - This bill authorizes school districts to raise additional amounts of property tax or income surtax under the instructional support program for certain school resource officer expenses.

Approved by the Ed Committee. Approved by Ways and Means Subcommittee

HF 868 - Education Appropriations (F) - Included in this bill is a $3.1 million appropriation for the continuation of the Student Mental Health School-Based Program.

On House debate calendar

HF 813 (formerly HSB 242) - Charter Schools (A) - The bill establishes a new charter school program.  The legislation does not require that a charter school employ a school counselor.

Approved by the House 55-40. Approved by the Senate Education Committee. Approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee. On the Senate debate calendar.

HF 802 - Training Rules and Requirements (A) - This bill provides requirements related to racism or sexism training, and to diversity and inclusion efforts, at or by school districts and public postsecondary educational institutions.

Approved by the House 59-38. On Senate debate calendar

HF 431 (formerly HF 88) - Audio Only Telehealth (F) - This bill provides that, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, a health-related professional licensing board that authorizes the use of telehealth or telemedicine by health-related professionals shall amend or adopt administrative rules to allow a health-related professional under the purview of the appropriate licensing board to utilize telehealth or telemedicine to deliver health care services through the use of interactive audio-only communication.

Passed the House 92-0. On Senate debate calendar

Passed both chambers:

SF 160 - Get Back Into the Classroom (A) - This bill, a priority of Governor Reynolds, sets forth the criteria for a school district to provide in-person instruction.

Passed the Senate 29-18; Passed the House 59-39. Approved by the Governor

April 9, 2021

Increase in School Mental Health Program In House Budget Bill

The House Education Appropriations Bill was given the go-ahead by that chamber’s appropriations subcommittee yesterday.

Included in the bill is an increase in funding for the ISCA-backed Children’s Mental Health School Based Training and Support program.  For the first two years, the program was funded at $2.1 million. Thanks to ISCA’s support for the program, the House has proposed a $1.0 million dollar increase, bringing the total appropriation to $3.1 million.

The funds will be used by area education agencies to provide mental health awareness training for educators, support mental health needs of schools, and maintain a clearinghouse of mental health resources.

The full House Appropriations Committee is expected to consider the bill early next week.

It is important to note that the House and Senate are very, very far apart on spending plans for FY 22.  We will likely need to send emails in support of the program and the funding increase to the Senate beginning the middle of next week.

Bills of interest:

SF 524 (formerly SSB 1227) - Psych Bed Tracking (F) - This bill establishes an inpatient psychiatric bed tracking system study committee.

The department of public health shall submit a report of the study committee detailing the committee’s findings and recommendations, including a proposed date to implement real-time electronic data tracking, to the general assembly and the governor no later than December 15, 2021.

Passed the Senate 48-0. On House debate calendar

SF 354 (formerly SF 163) - CEU Hardship Relief (M) - The bill authorizes a licensing board to extend the deadline to satisfy continuing education requirements by up to 90 days if a board finds that a licensee is experiencing an unforeseen financial or medical hardship and the licensee submits a request to a licensing board to extend the deadline due to the financial or medical hardship accompanied by evidence that the licensee or a member of the licensee’s family is experiencing a financial or medical hardship.

Passed the Senate 48-0. On House debate calendar

SF 258 (formerly SF 117) - Surtax for School Safety Officers (M) - This bill authorizes school districts to raise additional amounts of property tax or income surtax under the instructional support program for certain school resource officer expenses.

Approved by the Ed Committee. Approved by Ways and Means Subcommittee

HF 813 (formerly HSB 242) - Charter Schools (A) - The bill establishes a new charter school program.  The legislation does not require that a charter school employ a school counselor.

Approved by the House 55-40. Approved by the Senate Education Committee. Approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee. On the Senate debate calendar.

HF 802 - Training Rules and Requirements (A) - This bill provides requirements related to racism or sexism training, and to diversity and inclusion efforts, at or by school districts and public postsecondary educational institutions.

Approved by the House 59-38. On Senate debate calendar

HF 431 (formerly HF 88) - Audio Only Telehealth (F) - This bill provides that, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, a health-related professional licensing board that authorizes the use of telehealth or telemedicine by health-related professionals shall amend or adopt administrative rules to allow a health-related professional under the purview of the appropriate licensing board to utilize telehealth or telemedicine to deliver health care services through the use of interactive audio-only communication.

Passed the House 92-0. On Senate debate calendar

Passed both chambers:

SF 160 - Get Back Into the Classroom (A) - This bill, a priority of Governor Reynolds, sets forth the criteria for a school district to provide in-person instruction.

Passed the Senate 29-18; Passed the House 59-39. Approved by the Governor

April 2, 2021

Second Procedural Deadline Claims Victims

The second procedural hurdle of the 2021 Iowa Legislative Session arrived at the close of Legislative business earlier today.

The so-called “second funnel” is the date by which  bills must be approved by at least one standing committee in the house opposite of its origin.  So, a House File needs to be approved by a Senate Committee and vise versa to remain eligible for consideration this year.

Bills to eliminate the tenure system at the state’s public universities, allow for wagering on e-sports and prevent employers from requiring employees to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus all failed to clear the April 2 procedural hurdle.

Appropriations, Ways and Means and Government Oversight committee bills are the exceptions to the “funnel” are exempt from procedural deadlines.

Bills of interest:

SF 524 (formerly SSB 1227) - Psych Bed Tracking (F) - This bill establishes an inpatient psychiatric bed tracking system study committee.

The department of public health shall submit a report of the study committee detailing the committee’s findings and recommendations, including a proposed date to implement real-time electronic data tracking, to the general assembly and the governor no later than December 15, 2021.

Passed the Senate 48-0. On House debate calendar

SF 354 (formerly SF 163) - CEU Hardship Relief (M) - The bill authorizes a licensing board to extend the deadline to satisfy continuing education requirements by up to 90 days if a board finds that a licensee is experiencing an unforeseen financial or medical hardship and the licensee submits a request to a licensing board to extend the deadline due to the financial or medical hardship accompanied by evidence that the licensee or a member of the licensee’s family is experiencing a financial or medical hardship.

Passed the Senate 48-0. On House debate calendar

SF 258 (formerly SF 117) - Surtax for School Safety Officers (M) - This bill authorizes school districts to raise additional amounts of property tax or income surtax under the instructional support program for certain school resource officer expenses.

Approved by the Ed Committee. Approved by Ways and Means Subcommittee

HF 813 (formerly HSB 242) - Charter Schools (A) - The bill establishes a new charter school program.  The legislation does not require that a charter school employ a school counselor.

Approved by the House 55-40. On Senate debate calendar

HF 431 (formerly HF 88) - Audio Only Telehealth (F) - This bill provides that, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, a health-related professional licensing board that authorizes the use of telehealth or telemedicine by health-related professionals shall amend or adopt administrative rules to allow a health-related professional under the purview of the appropriate licensing board to utilize telehealth or telemedicine to deliver health care services through the use of interactive audio-only communication.

Passed the House 92-0. On Senate debate calendar

Passed both chambers:

SF 160 - Get Back Into the Classroom (A) - This bill, a priority of Governor Reynolds, sets forth the criteria for a school district to provide in-person instruction.

Passed the Senate 29-18; Passed the House 59-39. Approved by the Governor

Not approved by a committee in the opposite chamber:

SF 159 (formerly SSB 1065) - Governor’s Public Education Plan (A) - The bill relates to the funding and operation of educational offerings in the state by establishing a student first scholarship program for certain pupils attending a nonpublic school, modifying provisions governing voluntary diversity plans, and creating a new charter school program.

Approved by the Senate 26-21. Referred to House Education.

HF 773 (formerly HF 479) - MH Services Study (F) - This bill requires the department of human services (DHS) to conduct a statewide study of the current availability of mental health services in the state, including the potential value of pursuing a section 1115 demonstration waiver as specified under the federal 21st Century Cures Act, to provide for reimbursement for services provided in settings that qualify as institutions for mental diseases. DHS shall submit a final report of the results of the study to the governor and to the  general assembly by February 15, 2022. The bill takes effect upon enactment.

Passed the House 97-0. Not approved by subcommittee

HF 585 (formerly HSB 76) - Safe and Sound Program (A) - This bill provides for the establishment of the safe and sound program within the department of public safety, for participation in or use of the program by schools and students, and for penalties for providing false identification information through the program.

The safe and sound program is established for purposes of developing and implementing a system for receiving anonymous reports and other information from the public in regard to potential self-harm and potential harm or criminal acts including threats of violence, sexual abuse, assault, or bullying directed at school students and school entities.

Disappointingly the proposal as written does not provide anonymity for those who make reports of suspected incidents of concern.  The bill also provides immunity from liability to the department of public safety yet does not provide such protections for school employees.

On House debate calendar.

HF 294 (formerly HF 89) - MH Telehealth Care (F) - This bill requires a health carrier to reimburse a health care professional or a facility for health care services for a mental health condition, illness, injury, or disease provided to a covered person via telehealth on the same basis and at the same rate as the health carrier would apply to the same health care services provided to the covered person by the health care professional or facility in person.

Passed the House 95-1. Subcommittee: Edler, Costello and Mathis

HF 262 (formerly HSB 51) - Emergency Refills (M) - This bill provides that in addition to existing provisions relating to the refilling of a prescription without prescriber authorization, a pharmacist may exercise professional judgment 18 and refill a prescription once in a 12-month period and may dispense an amount not to exceed a 30-day supply, or if the standard amount of dispensing exceeds a 30-day supply or is unit dosed, an amount not to exceed the standard supply or limit of dispensing.

Passed the House 91-0. Approved by subcommittee


March 26, 2021

Second Procedural Deadline Arrives Next Friday

The second procedural hurdle of the 2021 Iowa Legislative Session comes this upcoming Friday, April 2.

Next Friday policy bills must be approved by at least one standing committee in the house opposite of its origin.  So, a House File needs to be approved by a Senate Committee and vise versa to remain eligible for consideration this year.

Appropriations, Ways and Means and Government Oversight committee bills are the exceptions to the “funnel” are exempt from procedural deadlines.

Charter School Bill Has School Counselor and School Nurse Debate in House

During lengthy and at times heated debate, the House majority rejected an amendment to House File 813 which would have required each new charter school to employ at least one school counselor and school nurse.

The amendment highlighted one of many “problems” with the proposal.

The Senate is expected to also consider such an amendment when they vote on the bill.  We will keep you updated.

Bills of interest:

SF 524 (formerly SSB 1227) - Psych Bed Tracking (F) - This bill establishes an inpatient psychiatric bed tracking system study committee.

The department of public health shall submit a report of the study committee detailing the committee’s findings and recommendations, including a proposed date to implement real-time electronic data tracking, to the general assembly and the governor no later than December 15, 2021.

Passed the Senate 48-0. Approved by subcommittee

SF 354 (formerly SF 163) - CEU Hardship Relief (M) - The bill authorizes a licensing board to extend the deadline to satisfy continuing education requirements by up to 90 days if a board finds that a licensee is experiencing an unforeseen financial or medical hardship and the licensee submits a request to a licensing board to extend the deadline due to the financial or medical hardship accompanied by evidence that the licensee or a member of the licensee’s family is experiencing a financial or medical hardship.

Passed the Senate 48-0. On House debate calendar

SF 258 (formerly SF 117) - Surtax for School Safety Officers (M) - This bill authorizes school districts to raise additional amounts of property tax or income surtax under the instructional support program for certain school resource officer expenses.

Approved by the Ed Committee. Approved by Ways and Means Subcommittee

SF 159 (formerly SSB 1065) - Governor’s Public Education Plan (A) - The bill relates to the funding and operation of educational offerings in the state by establishing a student first scholarship program for certain pupils attending a nonpublic school, modifying provisions governing voluntary diversity plans, and creating a new charter school program.

Approved by the Senate 26-21. Referred to House Education.

HF 813 (formerly HSB 242) - Charter Schools (A) - The bill establishes a new charter school program.  The legislation does not require that a charter school employ a school counselor.

Approved by the House 55-40. Senate Education subcommittee: Sinclair, Johnson and Quirmbach

HF 773 (formerly HF 479) - MH Services Study (F) - This bill requires the department of human services (DHS) to conduct a statewide study of the current availability of mental health services in the state, including the potential value of pursuing a section 1115 demonstration waiver as specified under the federal 21st Century Cures Act, to provide for reimbursement for services provided in settings that qualify as institutions for mental diseases. DHS shall submit a final report of the results of the study to the governor and to the  general assembly by February 15, 2022. The bill takes effect upon enactment.

Passed the House 97-0. Not approved by subcommittee

HF 585 (formerly HSB 76) - Safe and Sound Program (A) - This bill provides for the establishment of the safe and sound program within the department of public safety, for participation in or use of the program by schools and students, and for penalties for providing false identification information through the program.

The safe and sound program is established for purposes of developing and implementing a system for receiving anonymous reports and other information from the public in regard to potential self-harm and potential harm or criminal acts including threats of violence, sexual abuse, assault, or bullying directed at school students and school entities.

Disappointingly the proposal as written does not provide anonymity for those who make reports of suspected incidents of concern.  The bill also provides immunity from liability to the department of public safety yet does not provide such protections for school employees.

On House debate calendar.

HF 431 (formerly HF 88) - Audio Only Telehealth (F) - This bill provides that, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, a health-related professional licensing board that authorizes the use of telehealth or telemedicine by health-related professionals shall amend or adopt administrative rules to allow a health-related professional under the purview of the appropriate licensing board to utilize telehealth or telemedicine to deliver health care services through the use of interactive audio-only communication.

Passed the House 92-0. On Senate debate calendar

HF 294 (formerly HF 89) - MH Telehealth Care (F) - This bill requires a health carrier to reimburse a health care professional or a facility for health care services for a mental health condition, illness, injury, or disease provided to a covered person via telehealth on the same basis and at the same rate as the health carrier would apply to the same health care services provided to the covered person by the health care professional or facility in person.

Passed the House 95-1. Subcommittee: Edler, Costello and Mathis

HF 262 (formerly HSB 51) - Emergency Refills (M) - This bill provides that in addition to existing provisions relating to the refilling of a prescription without prescriber authorization, a pharmacist may exercise professional judgment 18 and refill a prescription once in a 12-month period and may dispense an amount not to exceed a 30-day supply, or if the standard amount of dispensing exceeds a 30-day supply or is unit dosed, an amount not to exceed the standard supply or limit of dispensing.

Passed the House 91-0. Approved by subcommittee

Passed both chambers:

SF 160 - Get Back Into the Classroom (A) - This bill, a priority of Governor Reynolds, sets forth the criteria for a school district to provide in-person instruction.

Passed the Senate 29-18; Passed the House 59-39. Approved by the Governor


March 19, 2021

Iowa School Counselors Association

2021 Legislative Update - March 19, 2021

Bed Tracking Bill One Step Closer To Becoming Law

The bill to establish a statewide inpatient psychiatric bed tracking system has been approved by a House subcommittee.

Senate File 524, which passed the Senate a few weeks ago, establishes a bed tracking system study committee that will submit a report detailing its findings and recommendations, including a proposed date to implement real-time electronic data tracking, to the general assembly and the governor no later than December 15, 2021.

Bills of interest:

SF 524 (formerly SSB 1227) - Psych Bed Tracking (F) - This bill establishes an inpatient psychiatric bed tracking system study committee.

The department of public health shall submit a report of the study committee detailing the committee’s findings and recommendations, including a proposed date to implement real-time electronic data tracking, to the general assembly and the governor no later than December 15, 2021.

Passed the Senate 48-0. Approved by subcommittee

SF 354 (formerly SF 163) - CEU Hardship Relief (M) - The bill authorizes a licensing board to extend the deadline to satisfy continuing education requirements by up to 90 days if a board finds that a licensee is experiencing an unforeseen financial or medical hardship and the licensee submits a request to a licensing board to extend the deadline due to the financial or medical hardship accompanied by evidence that the licensee or a member of the licensee’s family is experiencing a financial or medical hardship.

Passed the Senate 48-0. Approved by subcommittee

SF 258 (formerly SF 117) - Surtax for School Safety Officers (M) - This bill authorizes school districts to raise additional amounts of property tax or income surtax under the instructional support program for certain school resource officer expenses.

Approved by the Ed Committee. Approved by Ways and Means Subcommittee

SF 159 (formerly SSB 1065) - Governor’s Public Education Plan (A) - The bill relates to the funding and operation of educational offerings in the state by establishing a student first scholarship program for certain pupils attending a nonpublic school, modifying provisions governing voluntary diversity plans, and creating a new charter school program.

Approved by the Senate 26-21. Referred to House Education.

HF 773 (formerly HF 479) - MH Services Study (F) - This bill requires the department of human services (DHS) to conduct a statewide study of the current availability of mental health services in the state, including the potential value of pursuing a section 1115 demonstration waiver as specified under the federal 21st Century Cures Act, to provide for reimbursement for services provided in settings that qualify as institutions for mental diseases. DHS shall submit a final report of the results of the study to the governor and to the  general assembly by February 15, 2022. The bill takes effect upon enactment.

Passed the House 97-0. Referred to Senate Human Resources

HF 585 (formerly HSB 76) - Safe and Sound Program (A) - This bill provides for the establishment of the safe and sound program within the department of public safety, for participation in or use of the program by schools and students, and for penalties for providing false identification information through the program.

The safe and sound program is established for purposes of developing and implementing a system for receiving anonymous reports and other information from the public in regard to potential self-harm and potential harm or criminal acts including threats of violence, sexual abuse, assault, or bullying directed at school students and school entities.

Disappointingly the proposal as written does not provide anonymity for those who make reports of suspected incidents of concern.  The bill also provides immunity from liability to the department of public safety yet does not provide such protections for school employees.

On House debate calendar.

HF 431 (formerly HF 88) - Audio Only Telehealth (F) - This bill provides that, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, a health-related professional licensing board that authorizes the use of telehealth or telemedicine by health-related professionals shall amend or adopt administrative rules to allow a health-related professional under the purview of the appropriate licensing board to utilize telehealth or telemedicine to deliver health care services through the use of interactive audio-only communication.

Passed the House 92-0. Approved by subcommittee

HF 294 (formerly HF 89) - MH Telehealth Care (F) - This bill requires a health carrier to reimburse a health care professional or a facility for health care services for a mental health condition, illness, injury, or disease provided to a covered person via telehealth on the same basis and at the same rate as the health carrier would apply to the same health care services provided to the covered person by the health care professional or facility in person.

Passed the House 95-1. Approved by subcommittee

HF 262 (formerly HSB 51) - Emergency Refills (M) - This bill provides that in addition to existing provisions relating to the refilling of a prescription without prescriber authorization, a pharmacist may exercise professional judgment 18 and refill a prescription once in a 12-month period and may dispense an amount not to exceed a 30-day supply, or if the standard amount of dispensing exceeds a 30-day supply or is unit dosed, an amount not to exceed the standard supply or limit of dispensing.

Passed the House 91-0. Approved by subcommittee

Passed the House and Senate:

SF 160 - Get Back Into the Classroom (A) - This bill, a priority of Governor Reynolds, sets forth the criteria for a school district to provide in-person instruction.

Passed the Senate 29-18; Passed the House 59-39. Signed into law by Governor Reynolds 1/29


March 12, 2021

Budget Rumblings Begin

Now is the time in the Legislative Session when the focus of the Legislature turns from strictly policy to policy and finances and taxes.

Unofficial, behind-the-scenes talks have begun related to the construction of the fiscal year 2023 budget.

We continue to keep a close eye on, and a sharp ear tuned to, education spending talks, and will update you as soon as any news comes out.

Bills of interest:

SF 524 (formerly SSB 1227) - Psych Bed Tracking (F) - This bill establishes an inpatient psychiatric bed tracking system study committee.

The department of public health shall submit a report of the study committee detailing the committee’s findings and recommendations, including a proposed date to implement real-time electronic data tracking, to the general assembly and the governor no later than December 15, 2021.

Passed the Senate 48-0. Referred to House Human Resources

SF 354 (formerly SF 163) - CEU Hardship Relief (M) - The bill authorizes a licensing board to extend the deadline to satisfy continuing education requirements by up to 90 days if a board finds that a licensee is experiencing an unforeseen financial or medical hardship and the licensee submits a request to a licensing board to extend the deadline due to the financial or medical hardship accompanied by evidence that the licensee or a member of the licensee’s family is experiencing a financial or medical hardship.

Passed the Senate 48-0. Referred to House State Government

SF 258 (formerly SF 117) - Surtax for School Safety Officers (M) - This bill authorizes school districts to raise additional amounts of property tax or income surtax under the instructional support program for certain school resource officer expenses.

Approved by the Ed Committee. Approved by Ways and Means Subcommittee

SF 159 (formerly SSB 1065) - Governor’s Public Education Plan (A) - The bill relates to the funding and operation of educational offerings in the state by establishing a student first scholarship program for certain pupils attending a nonpublic school, modifying provisions governing voluntary diversity plans, and creating a new charter school program.

Approved by the Senate 26-21. Referred to House Education.

HF 773 (formerly HF 479) - MH Services Study (F) - This bill requires the department of human services (DHS) to conduct a statewide study of the current availability of mental health services in the state, including the potential value of pursuing a section 1115 demonstration waiver as specified under the federal 21st Century Cures Act, to provide for reimbursement for services provided in settings that qualify as institutions for mental diseases. DHS shall submit a final report of the results of the study to the governor and to the  general assembly by February 15, 2022. The bill takes effect upon enactment.

Passed the House 97-0. Referred to Senate Human Resources

HF 585 (formerly HSB 76) - Safe and Sound Program (A) - This bill provides for the establishment of the safe and sound program within the department of public safety, for participation in or use of the program by schools and students, and for penalties for providing false identification information through the program.

The safe and sound program is established for purposes of developing and implementing a system for receiving anonymous reports and other information from the public in regard to potential self-harm and potential harm or criminal acts including threats of violence, sexual abuse, assault, or bullying directed at school students and school entities.

Disappointingly the proposal as written does not provide anonymity for those who make reports of suspected incidents of concern.  The bill also provides immunity from liability to the department of public safety yet does not provide such protections for school employees.

On House debate calendar.

HF 431 (formerly HF 88) - Audio Only Telehealth (F) - This bill provides that, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, a health-related professional licensing board that authorizes the use of telehealth or telemedicine by health-related professionals shall amend or adopt administrative rules to allow a health-related professional under the purview of the appropriate licensing board to utilize telehealth or telemedicine to deliver health care services through the use of interactive audio-only communication.

Passed the House 92-0. Subcommittee: Costello, Mathis and Sweeney

HF 294 (formerly HF 89) - MH Telehealth Care (F) - This bill requires a health carrier to reimburse a health care professional or a facility for health care services for a mental health condition, illness, injury, or disease provided to a covered person via telehealth on the same basis and at the same rate as the health carrier would apply to the same health care services provided to the covered person by the health care professional or facility in person.

Passed the House 95-1. Senate Human Resources subcommittee Edler, Costello and Mathis

HF 262 (formerly HSB 51) - Emergency Refills (M) - This bill provides that in addition to existing provisions relating to the refilling of a prescription without prescriber authorization, a pharmacist may exercise professional judgment 18 and refill a prescription once in a 12-month period and may dispense an amount not to exceed a 30-day supply, or if the standard amount of dispensing exceeds a 30-day supply or is unit dosed, an amount not to exceed the standard supply or limit of dispensing.

Passed the House 91-0. Senate subcommittee: Sweeney, Green and Mathis

Passed the House and Senate:

SF 160 - Get Back Into the Classroom (A) - This bill, a priority of Governor Reynolds, sets forth the criteria for a school district to provide in-person instruction.

Passed the Senate 29-18; Passed the House 59-39. Signed into law by Governor Reynolds 1/29

SF 524 (formerly SSB 1227) - Psych Bed Tracking (F) - This bill establishes an inpatient psychiatric bed tracking system study committee.

The department of public health shall submit a report of the study committee detailing the committee’s findings and recommendations, including a proposed date to implement real-time electronic data tracking, to the general assembly and the governor no later than December 15, 2021.

Passed the Senate 48-0. Referred to House Human Resources

SF 354 (formerly SF 163) - CEU Hardship Relief (M) - The bill authorizes a licensing board to extend the deadline to satisfy continuing education requirements by up to 90 days if a board finds that a licensee is experiencing an unforeseen financial or medical hardship and the licensee submits a request to a licensing board to extend the deadline due to the financial or medical hardship accompanied by evidence that the licensee or a member of the licensee’s family is experiencing a financial or medical hardship.

Passed the Senate 48-0. Referred to House State Government

SF 258 (formerly SF 117) - Surtax for School Safety Officers (M) - This bill authorizes school districts to raise additional amounts of property tax or income surtax under the instructional support program for certain school resource officer expenses.

Approved by the Ed Committee. Approved by Ways and Means Subcommittee

SF 159 (formerly SSB 1065) - Governor’s Public Education Plan (A) - The bill relates to the funding and operation of educational offerings in the state by establishing a student first scholarship program for certain pupils attending a nonpublic school, modifying provisions governing voluntary diversity plans, and creating a new charter school program.

Approved by the Senate 26-21. Referred to House Education.

HF 773 (formerly HF 479) - MH Services Study (F) - This bill requires the department of human services (DHS) to conduct a statewide study of the current availability of mental health services in the state, including the potential value of pursuing a section 1115 demonstration waiver as specified under the federal 21st Century Cures Act, to provide for reimbursement for services provided in settings that qualify as institutions for mental diseases. DHS shall submit a final report of the results of the study to the governor and to the  general assembly by February 15, 2022. The bill takes effect upon enactment.

Passed the House 97-0. Referred to Senate Human Resources

HF 585 (formerly HSB 76) - Safe and Sound Program (A) - This bill provides for the establishment of the safe and sound program within the department of public safety, for participation in or use of the program by schools and students, and for penalties for providing false identification information through the program.

The safe and sound program is established for purposes of developing and implementing a system for receiving anonymous reports and other information from the public in regard to potential self-harm and potential harm or criminal acts including threats of violence, sexual abuse, assault, or bullying directed at school students and school entities.

Disappointingly the proposal as written does not provide anonymity for those who make reports of suspected incidents of concern.  The bill also provides immunity from liability to the department of public safety yet does not provide such protections for school employees.

On House debate calendar.

HF 431 (formerly HF 88) - Audio Only Telehealth (F) - This bill provides that, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, a health-related professional licensing board that authorizes the use of telehealth or telemedicine by health-related professionals shall amend or adopt administrative rules to allow a health-related professional under the purview of the appropriate licensing board to utilize telehealth or telemedicine to deliver health care services through the use of interactive audio-only communication.

Passed the House 92-0. Subcommittee: Costello, Mathis and Sweeney

HF 294 (formerly HF 89) - MH Telehealth Care (F) - This bill requires a health carrier to reimburse a health care professional or a facility for health care services for a mental health condition, illness, injury, or disease provided to a covered person via telehealth on the same basis and at the same rate as the health carrier would apply to the same health care services provided to the covered person by the health care professional or facility in person.

Passed the House 95-1. Senate Human Resources subcommittee Edler, Costello and Mathis

HF 262 (formerly HSB 51) - Emergency Refills (M) - This bill provides that in addition to existing provisions relating to the refilling of a prescription without prescriber authorization, a pharmacist may exercise professional judgment 18 and refill a prescription once in a 12-month period and may dispense an amount not to exceed a 30-day supply, or if the standard amount of dispensing exceeds a 30-day supply or is unit dosed, an amount not to exceed the standard supply or limit of dispensing.

Passed the House 91-0. Senate subcommittee: Sweeney, Green and Mathis

Passed the House and Senate:

SF 160 - Get Back Into the Classroom (A) - This bill, a priority of Governor Reynolds, sets forth the criteria for a school district to provide in-person instruction.

Passed the Senate 29-18; Passed the House 59-39. Signed into law by Governor Reynolds 1/29



March 5, 2021

“First Funnel” Claims A Few Victims

The first procedural hurdle of the 2021 Iowa Legislative Session arrived at the close of business yesterday.

The so-called “first funnel” is the date by which a bill must be approved by a standing committee of its house of origin to remain eligible for further consideration that year.

Bills calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty, increasing the minimum wage and raising the tax on tobacco products were among a large group that failed to clear the first legislative hurdle in 2021.

The next procedural deadline, the “second funnel,”  comes on March 5.  That is the date by which a bill must be approved by a standing committee of the chamber opposite of its origin to remain eligible for further consideration.  

Appropriations, Ways and Means and Government Oversight committee bills are the exceptions to the “funnel” rules, as they are exempt from procedural deadlines.

Special note:

The first list are bills that remain eligible for further consideration.  The second list with bill numbers that are struck through are no longer eligible this session.

Bills of interest (eligible for further consideration):

SF 524 (formerly SSB 1227) - Psych Bed Tracking (F) - This bill establishes an inpatient psychiatric bed tracking system study committee.

The department of public health shall submit a report of the study committee detailing the committee’s findings and recommendations, including a proposed date to implement real-time electronic data tracking, to the general assembly and the governor no later than December 15, 2021.

On Senate debate calendar

SF 354 (formerly SF 163) - CEU Hardship Relief (M) - The bill authorizes a licensing board to extend the deadline to satisfy continuing education requirements by up to 90 days if a board finds that a licensee is experiencing an unforeseen financial or medical hardship and the licensee submits a request to a licensing board to extend the deadline due to the financial or medical hardship accompanied by evidence that the licensee or a member of the licensee’s family is experiencing a financial or medical hardship.

Passed the Senate 48-0. Referred to House State Government

SF 258 (formerly SF 117) - Surtax for School Safety Officers (M) - This bill authorizes school districts to raise additional amounts of property tax or income surtax under the instructional support program for certain school resource officer expenses.

Approved by the Ed Committee. Approved by Ways and Means Subcommittee

SF 160 - Get Back Into the Classroom (A) - This bill, a priority of Governor Reynolds, sets forth the criteria for a school district to provide in-person instruction.

Passed the Senate 29-18; Passed the House 59-39. Signed into law by Governor Reynolds 1/29

SF 159 (formerly SSB 1065) - Governor’s Public Education Plan (A) - The bill relates to the funding and operation of educational offerings in the state by establishing a student first scholarship program for certain pupils attending a nonpublic school, modifying provisions governing voluntary diversity plans, and creating a new charter school program.

Approved by the Senate 26-21. Referred to House Education.

HF 773 (formerly HF 479) - MH Services Study (F) - This bill requires the department of human services (DHS) to conduct a statewide study of the current availability of mental health services in the state, including the potential value of pursuing a section 1115 demonstration waiver as specified under the federal 21st Century Cures Act, to provide for reimbursement for services provided in settings that qualify as institutions for mental diseases. DHS shall submit a final report of the results of the study to the governor and to the  general assembly by February 15, 2022. The bill takes effect upon enactment.

On House debate calendar

HF 585 (formerly HSB 76) - Safe and Sound Program (A) - This bill provides for the establishment of the safe and sound program within the department of public safety, for participation in or use of the program by schools and students, and for penalties for providing false identification information through the program.

The safe and sound program is established for purposes of developing and implementing a system for receiving anonymous reports and other information from the public in regard to potential self-harm and potential harm or criminal acts including threats of violence, sexual abuse, assault, or bullying directed at school students and school entities.

Disappointingly the proposal as written does not provide anonymity for those who make reports of suspected incidents of concern.  The bill also provides immunity from liability to the department of public safety yet does not provide such protections for school employees.

On House debate calendar.

HF 431 (formerly HF 88) - Audio Only Telehealth (F) - This bill provides that, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, a health-related professional licensing board that authorizes the use of telehealth or telemedicine by health-related professionals shall amend or adopt administrative rules to allow a health-related professional under the purview of the appropriate licensing board to utilize telehealth or telemedicine to deliver health care services through the use of interactive audio-only communication.

Passed the House 92-0. Subcommittee: Costello, Mathis and Sweeney

HF 294 (formerly HF 89) - MH Telehealth Care (F) - This bill requires a health carrier to reimburse a health care professional or a facility for health care services for a mental health condition, illness, injury, or disease provided to a covered person via telehealth on the same basis and at the same rate as the health carrier would apply to the same health care services provided to the covered person by the health care professional or facility in person.

On House debate calendar

HF 262 (formerly HSB 51) - Emergency Refills (M) - This bill provides that in addition to existing provisions relating to the refilling of a prescription without prescriber authorization, a pharmacist may exercise professional judgment 18 and refill a prescription once in a 12-month period and may dispense an amount not to exceed a 30-day supply, or if the standard amount of dispensing exceeds a 30-day supply or is unit dosed, an amount not to exceed the standard supply or limit of dispensing.

Passed the House 91-0. Referred to Human Resources

Bills of interest (NOT eligible for further consideration):

SF 224 - School Bathrooms (M) - This bill requires elementary and secondary public and nonpublic schools to designate and allow the use of multiple occupancy toilet facilities only by persons of the same biological sex. The bill prohibits a person from entering a school single and multiple occupancy toilet facility that does not correspond with the person’s biological sex.

Approved by subcommittee

SF 168 - AEA Special Ed Service Mandate (M) - This bill requires that certain services and support that an area education agency (AEA) must provide to a nonpublic school student must, if the parent or guardian of the student receiving the services grants permission, be provided on the nonpublic school premises.

Approved by subcommittee

SF 80 - Student Pronouns (A) - This bill requires a school district, if a student will be asked by a school employee or in a school communication to identify the pronoun by which the student prefers to be called, or will be asked to take a survey on pronoun preference, to provide written notification of such action to the parent or guardian of the student at least one week before such action occurs. After the identification or survey has occurred, the bill requires the school district to provide the student’s identification or survey response to the student’s parent or guardian upon request.

Subcommittee: Sinclair, Carlin and Celsi

SF 58 - Human Growth and Development Curriculum (F) - This bill provides that the age-appropriate and research-based instruction in human growth and development, which each school board must provide, must include instruction regarding dating violence and affirmative, conscious, and voluntary consent to engage in sexual activity.

Subcommittee: Sinclair, Rosenboom and J Smith

SSB 1070 - Safe and Sound Program (A) - This bill provides for the establishment of the safe and sound program within the department of public safety, for participation in or use of the program by schools and students, and for penalties for providing false identification information through the program.

The safe and sound program is established for purposes of developing and implementing a system for receiving anonymous reports and other information from the public in regard to potential self-harm and potential harm or criminal acts including threats of violence, sexual abuse, assault, or bullying directed at school students and school entities.

The proposal does not provide anonymity for those who make reports of suspected incidents of concern.  The bill also provides immunity from liability to the department of public safety yet does not provide such protections for school employees.

Not approved by subcommittee

HF 101 - Teacher Recruitment and Retention Task Force (M) - This bill directs the director of the department of education to establish and convene a teacher recruitment and retention task force. If the bill does move forward it should be expanded to include school counselor recruitment and retention.

Referred to Education

HF 51 - Advanced Opportunities Program (M) - This bill establishes within the department of education, subject to an appropriation of funds by the general assembly, of an advanced opportunities program and scholarship, and a postsecondary credit scholarship, to provide public school students with funding to support implementation of individualized career and academic plans and to provide scholarships as incentives for students to graduate from secondary school at least one year early or who have earned certain amounts of postsecondary credits upon graduation. The scholarships may be used at public postsecondary educational institutions.

ISCA has offered lawmakers ways to make the bill better reflect the reality of counseling and advising students.

Approved by subcommittee


February 26, 2021

“First Funnel” Arrives Next Week

The first procedural hurdle of the 2021 Iowa Legislative Session comes this upcoming Friday.

The so-called “First Funnel” is the date by which a bill must be approved by a standing committee of its house of origin to remain eligible for further consideration that year.

Appropriations, Ways and Means and Government Oversight committee bills are the exceptions to the “funnel” rules, as they are exempt from procedural deadlines.


Bills of Interest:

SF 354 (formerly SF 163) - CEU Hardship Relief (M) - The bill authorizes a licensing board to extend the deadline to satisfy continuing education requirements by up to 90 days if a board finds that a licensee is experiencing an unforeseen financial or medical hardship and the licensee submits a request to a licensing board to extend the deadline due to the financial or medical hardship accompanied by evidence that the licensee or a member of the licensee’s family is experiencing a financial or medical hardship.

Passed the Senate 48-0. Referred to House State Government

SF 258 (formerly SF 117) - Surtax for School Safety Officers (M) - This bill authorizes school districts to raise additional amounts of property tax or income surtax under the instructional support program for certain school resource officer expenses.

Approved by the Ed Committee. Approved by Ways and Means Subcommittee

SF 224 School Bathrooms (M) - This bill requires elementary and secondary public and nonpublic schools to designate and allow the use of multiple occupancy toilet facilities only by persons of the same biological sex. The bill prohibits a person from entering a school single and multiple occupancy toilet facility that does not correspond with the person’s biological sex.

Approved by subcommittee

SF 168 - AEA Special Ed Service Mandate (M) - This bill requires that certain services and support that an area education agency (AEA) must provide to a nonpublic school student must, if the parent or guardian of the student receiving the services grants permission, be provided on the nonpublic school premises.

Approved by subcommittee

SF 160 - Get Back Into the Classroom (A) - This bill, a priority of Governor Reynolds, sets forth the criteria for a school district to provide in-person instruction.

Passed the Senate 29-18; Passed the House 59-39. Signed into law by Governor Reynolds 1/29

SF 159 (formerly SSB 1065) - Governor’s Public Education Plan (A) - The bill relates to the funding and operation of educational offerings in the state by establishing a student first scholarship program for certain pupils attending a nonpublic school, modifying provisions governing voluntary diversity plans, and creating a new charter school program.

Approved by the Senate 26-21. Referred to House Education.

SF 80 - Student Pronouns (A) - This bill requires a school district, if a student will be asked by a school employee or in a school communication to identify the pronoun by which the student prefers to be called, or will be asked to take a survey on pronoun preference, to provide written notification of such action to the parent or guardian of the student at least one week before such action occurs. After the identification or survey has occurred, the bill requires the school district to provide the student’s identification or survey response to the student’s parent or guardian upon request.

Subcommittee: Sinclair, Carlin and Celsi

SF 58 - Human Growth and Development Curriculum (F) - This bill provides that the age-appropriate and research-based instruction in human growth and development, which each school board must provide, must include instruction regarding dating violence and affirmative, conscious, and voluntary consent to engage in sexual activity.

Subcommittee: Sinclair, Rosenboom and J Smith

SSB 1070 - Safe and Sound Program (A) - This bill provides for the establishment of the safe and sound program within the department of public safety, for participation in or use of the program by schools and students, and for penalties for providing false identification information through the program.

The safe and sound program is established for purposes of developing and implementing a system for receiving anonymous reports and other information from the public in regard to potential self-harm and potential harm or criminal acts including threats of violence, sexual abuse, assault, or bullying directed at school students and school entities.

The proposal does not provide anonymity for those who make reports of suspected incidents of concern.  The bill also provides immunity from liability to the department of public safety yet does not provide such protections for school employees.

Not approved by subcommittee

HF 585 (formerly HSB 76) - Safe and Sound Program (A) - This bill provides for the establishment of the safe and sound program within the department of public safety, for participation in or use of the program by schools and students, and for penalties for providing false identification information through the program.

The safe and sound program is established for purposes of developing and implementing a system for receiving anonymous reports and other information from the public in regard to potential self-harm and potential harm or criminal acts including threats of violence, sexual abuse, assault, or bullying directed at school students and school entities.

Disappointingly the proposal as written does not provide anonymity for those who make reports of suspected incidents of concern.  The bill also provides immunity from liability to the department of public safety yet does not provide such protections for school employees.

On House debate calendar.

HF 101 - Teacher Recruitment and Retention Task Force (M) - This bill directs the director of the department of education to establish and convene a teacher recruitment and retention task force. If the bill does move forward it should be expanded to include school counselor recruitment and retention.

Referred to Education

HF 51 - Advanced Opportunities Program (M) - This bill establishes within the department of education, subject to an appropriation of funds by the general assembly, of an advanced opportunities program and scholarship, and a postsecondary credit scholarship, to provide public school students with funding to support implementation of individualized career and academic plans and to provide scholarships as incentives for students to graduate from secondary school at least one year early or who have earned certain amounts of postsecondary credits upon graduation. The scholarships may be used at public postsecondary educational institutions.

ISCA has offered lawmakers ways to make the bill better reflect the reality of counseling and advising students.

Approved by subcommittee



February 19, 2021

First Funnel Two Weeks Away

The first procedural hurdle of the 2021 Iowa Legislative Session is approaching.

The so-called “First Funnel,” arrives on Friday, March 5th.  That is the date by which a bill must be approved by a standing committee of its house of origin to remain eligible for further consideration that year.

Appropriations, Ways and Means and Government Oversight committee bills are the exceptions to the “funnel” rules, as they are exempt from procedural deadlines.

Bills of Interest:

SF 354 (formerly SF 163) - CEU Hardship Relief (M) - The bill authorizes a licensing board to extend the deadline to satisfy continuing education requirements by up to 90 days if a board finds that a licensee is experiencing an unforeseen financial or medical hardship and the licensee submits a request to a licensing board to extend the deadline due to the financial or medical hardship accompanied by evidence that the licensee or a member of the licensee’s family is experiencing a financial or medical hardship.

Passed the Senate 48-0. Referred to House State Government

SF 258 (formerly SF 117) - Surtax for School Safety Officers (M) - This bill authorizes school districts to raise additional amounts of property tax or income surtax under the instructional support program for certain school resource officer expenses.

Approved by the Ed Committee. Approved by Ways and Means Subcommittee

SF 224 School Bathrooms (M) - This bill requires elementary and secondary public and nonpublic schools to designate and allow the use of multiple occupancy toilet facilities only by persons of the same biological sex. The bill prohibits a person from entering a school single and multiple occupancy toilet facility that does not correspond with the person’s biological sex.

Approved by subcommittee

SF 168 - AEA Special Ed Service Mandate (M) - This bill requires that certain services and support that an area education agency (AEA) must provide to a nonpublic school student must, if the parent or guardian of the student receiving the services grants permission, be provided on the nonpublic school premises.

Approved by subcommittee

SF 160 - Get Back Into the Classroom (A) - This bill, a priority of Governor Reynolds, sets forth the criteria for a school district to provide in-person instruction.

Passed the Senate 29-18; Passed the House 59-39. Signed into law by Governor Reynolds 1/29

SF 159 (formerly SSB 1065) - Governor’s Public Education Plan (A) - The bill relates to the funding and operation of educational offerings in the state by establishing a student first scholarship program for certain pupils attending a nonpublic school, modifying provisions governing voluntary diversity plans, and creating a new charter school program.

Approved by the Senate 26-21. Referred to House Education.

SF 80 - Student Pronouns (A) - This bill requires a school district, if a student will be asked by a school employee or in a school communication to identify the pronoun by which the student prefers to be called, or will be asked to take a survey on pronoun preference, to provide written notification of such action to the parent or guardian of the student at least one week before such action occurs. After the identification or survey has occurred, the bill requires the school district to provide the student’s identification or survey response to the student’s parent or guardian upon request.

Subcommittee: Sinclair, Carlin and Celsi

SF 58 - Human Growth and Development Curriculum (F) - This bill provides that the age-appropriate and research-based instruction in human growth and development, which each school board must provide, must include instruction regarding dating violence and affirmative, conscious, and voluntary consent to engage in sexual activity.

Subcommittee: Sinclair, Rosenboom and J Smith

SSB 1070 - Safe and Sound Program (A) - This bill provides for the establishment of the safe and sound program within the department of public safety, for participation in or use of the program by schools and students, and for penalties for providing false identification information through the program.

The safe and sound program is established for purposes of developing and implementing a system for receiving anonymous reports and other information from the public in regard to potential self-harm and potential harm or criminal acts including threats of violence, sexual abuse, assault, or bullying directed at school students and school entities.

The proposal does not provide anonymity for those who make reports of suspected incidents of concern.  The bill also provides immunity from liability to the department of public safety yet does not provide such protections for school employees.

Not approved by subcommittee

HF 585 (formerly HSB 76) - Safe and Sound Program (A) - This bill provides for the establishment of the safe and sound program within the department of public safety, for participation in or use of the program by schools and students, and for penalties for providing false identification information through the program.

The safe and sound program is established for purposes of developing and implementing a system for receiving anonymous reports and other information from the public in regard to potential self-harm and potential harm or criminal acts including threats of violence, sexual abuse, assault, or bullying directed at school students and school entities.

Disappointingly the proposal as written does not provide anonymity for those who make reports of suspected incidents of concern.  The bill also provides immunity from liability to the department of public safety yet does not provide such protections for school employees.

On House debate calendar.

HF 101 - Teacher Recruitment and Retention Task Force (M) - This bill directs the director of the department of education to establish and convene a teacher recruitment and retention task force. If the bill does move forward it should be expanded to include school counselor recruitment and retention.

Referred to Education

HF 51 - Advanced Opportunities Program (M) - This bill establishes within the department of education, subject to an appropriation of funds by the general assembly, of an advanced opportunities program and scholarship, and a postsecondary credit scholarship, to provide public school students with funding to support implementation of individualized career and academic plans and to provide scholarships as incentives for students to graduate from secondary school at least one year early or who have earned certain amounts of postsecondary credits upon graduation. The scholarships may be used at public postsecondary educational institutions.

ISCA has offered lawmakers ways to make the bill better reflect the reality of counseling and advising students.

Approved by subcommittee



February 5, 2021

CEU Relief Measure Move Forward

Thursday Senators gave their go-ahead to a proposal for continuing education relief in certain hardship situations.

Senate File 163 allows licensing boards to extend the deadline for CEU credits by up to 90 days in the event of a hardship experienced by a licensee due to financial or medical issues.

The bill now advances to the full State Government Committee for its consideration.

Bills of Interest:

SF 258 (formerly SF 117) - Surtax for School Safety Officers (M) - This bill authorizes school districts to raise additional amounts of property tax or income surtax under the instructional support program for certain school resource officer expenses.

Approved by Ed Committee, referred to Ways and Means

SF 168 - AEA Special Ed Service Mandate (M) - This bill requires that certain services and support that an area education agency (AEA) must provide to a nonpublic school student must, if the parent or guardian of the student receiving the services grants permission, be provided on the nonpublic school premises.

Approved by subcommittee

SF 163 - CEU Hardship Relief (M) - The bill authorizes a licensing board to extend the deadline to satisfy continuing education requirements by up to 90 days if a board finds that a licensee is experiencing an unforeseen financial or medical hardship and the licensee submits a request to a licensing board to extend the deadline due to the financial or medical hardship accompanied by evidence that the licensee or a member of the licensee’s family is experiencing a financial or medical hardship.

Approved by subcommittee

SF 160 - Get Back Into the Classroom (A) - This bill, a priority of Governor Reynolds, sets forth the criteria for a school district to provide in-person instruction.

Passed the Senate 29-18; Passed the House 59-39. Signed into law by Governor Reynolds 1/29

SF 159 (formerly SSB 1065) - Governor’s Public Education Plan (A) - The bill relates to the funding and operation of educational offerings in the state by establishing a student first scholarship program for certain pupils attending a nonpublic school, modifying provisions governing voluntary diversity plans, and creating a new charter school program.

Approved by the Senate 26-21

SF 80 - Student Pronouns (A) - This bill requires a school district, if a student will be asked by a school employee or in a school communication to identify the pronoun by which the student prefers to be called, or will be asked to take a survey on pronoun preference, to provide written notification of such action to the parent or guardian of the student at least one week before such action occurs. After the identification or survey has occurred, the bill requires the school district to provide the student’s identification or survey response to the student’s parent or guardian upon request.

Subcommittee: Sinclair, Carlin and Celsi

SF 58 - Human Growth and Development Curriculum (F) - This bill provides that the age-appropriate and research-based instruction in human growth and development, which each school board must provide, must include instruction regarding dating violence and affirmative, conscious, and voluntary consent to engage in sexual activity.

Subcommittee: Sinclair, Rosenboom and J Smith

HF 101 - Teacher Recruitment and Retention Task Force (M) - This bill directs the director of the department of education to establish and convene a teacher recruitment and retention task force. If the bill does move forward it should be expanded to include school counselor recruitment and retention.

Referred to Education

HF 51 - Advanced Opportunities Program (M) - This bill establishes within the department of education, subject to an appropriation of funds by the general assembly, of an advanced opportunities program and scholarship, and a postsecondary credit scholarship, to provide public school students with funding to support implementation of individualized career and academic plans and to provide scholarships as incentives for students to graduate from secondary school at least one year early or who have earned certain amounts of postsecondary credits upon graduation. The scholarships may be used at public postsecondary educational institutions.

ISCA has offered lawmakers ways to make the bill better reflect the reality of counseling and advising students.

Approved by subcommittee


January 29, 2021

Governor Signs Bill To Require Schools To Offer In-Person Classes

Friday morning, Governor Reynolds signed into law Senate File 160, a bill to require schools to offer in-person classes.

The law requires schools to begin to offer in-person education beginning on Monday, February 15.


Bills of Interest:

SF 160 - In-Person Classes (A) - This bill, a priority of Governor Reynolds, sets forth the criteria for a school district to provide in-person instruction.

Passed the Senate 29-18; Passed the House 59-39. Signed into law by Governor Reynolds 1/29

SF 159 (formerly SSB 1065) - Governor’s Public Education Plan (A) - The bill relates to the funding and operation of educational offerings in the state by establishing a student first scholarship program for certain pupils attending a nonpublic school, modifying provisions governing voluntary diversity plans, and creating a new charter school program.

Approved by the Senate 26-21

SF 117 - Surtax for School Safety Officers (M) - This bill authorizes school districts to raise additional amounts of property tax or income surtax under the instructional support program for certain school resource officer expenses.

Subcommittee: Cournoyer, Kraayenbrink and J Smith

SF 80 - Student Pronouns (A) - This bill requires a school district, if a student will be asked by a school employee or in a school communication to identify the pronoun by which the student prefers to be called, or will be asked to take a survey on pronoun preference, to provide written notification of such action to the parent or guardian of the student at least one week before such action occurs. After the identification or survey has occurred, the bill requires the school district to provide the student’s identification or survey response to the student’s parent or guardian upon request.

Subcommittee: Sinclair, Carlin and Celsi

SF 58 - Human Growth and Development Curriculum (F) - This bill provides that the age-appropriate and research-based instruction in human growth and development, which each school board must provide, must include instruction regarding dating violence and affirmative, conscious, and voluntary consent to engage in sexual activity.

Subcommittee: Sinclair, Rosenboom and J Smith

HF 101 - Teacher Recruitment and Retention Task Force (M) - This bill directs the director of the department of education to establish and convene a teacher recruitment and retention task force. If the bill does move forward it should be expanded to include school counselor recruitment and retention.

Referred to Education

HF 51 - Advanced Opportunities Program (M) - This bill establishes within the department of education, subject to an appropriation of funds by the general assembly, of an advanced opportunities program and scholarship, and a postsecondary credit scholarship, to provide public school students with funding to support implementation of individualized career and academic plans and to provide scholarships as incentives for students to graduate from secondary school at least one year early or who have earned certain amounts of postsecondary credits upon graduation. The scholarships may be used at public postsecondary educational institutions.

ISCA has offered lawmakers ways to make the bill better reflect the reality of counseling and advising students.

Approved by subcommittee


January 22, 2021

Governor Rolls Out Giant School Plan

Following her Condition of the State Address, Governor Kim Reynolds has unveiled her public schools reform plan.

Included in the 52-page bill is the establishment of the Student First Scholarship Program.

The bill also changes provisions governing school district voluntary diversity plans as well as creating a new charter school program.

To view the entire bill please visit: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ga=89&ba=ssb1065


Bills of Interest:

SF 80 - Student Pronouns (A) - This bill requires a school district, if a student will be asked by a school employee or in a school communication to identify the pronoun by which the student prefers to be called, or will be asked to take a survey on pronoun preference, to provide written notification of such action to the parent or guardian of the student at least one week before such action occurs. After the identification or survey has occurred, the bill requires the school district to provide the student’s identification or survey response to the student’s parent or guardian upon request.

Subcommittee: Sinclair, Carlin and Celsi

SF 58 - Human Growth and Development Curriculum (F) - This bill provides that the age-appropriate and research-based instruction in human growth and development, which each school board must provide, must include instruction regarding dating violence and affirmative, conscious, and voluntary consent to engage in sexual activity.

Subcommittee: Sinclair, Rosenboom and J Smith

SSB 1065 - Governor’s Public Education Plan (M) - The bill relates to the funding and operation of educational offerings in the state by establishing a student first scholarship program for certain pupils attending a nonpublic school, modifying provisions governing voluntary diversity plans, and creating a new charter school program.

To view the entire 52 page bill please visit: 

https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ga=89&ba=ssb1065

Subcommittee: Sinclair, Quirmbach and Zaun

HF 101 - Teacher Recruitment and Retention Task Force (M) - This bill directs the director of the department of education to establish and convene a teacher recruitment and retention task force. If the bill does move forward it should be expanded to include school counselor recruitment and retention.

Referred to Education


January 15, 2021

Governor Unveils Proposed FY 22 Budget

Governor Kim Reynolds laid out her plan for Iowa and it’s budget for the upcoming year in her Condition of the State Address.

Reynolds proposed spending $15 million each of the next two years on the children’s and adult mental health system. 

The Governor also proposed a 2.5% hike in state aid for schools.  She also backed legislation to give parents the choice to send their children to school full-time.


Bills of Interest:

SF 80 - Student Pronouns (M) - This bill requires a school district, if a student will be asked by a school employee or in a school communication to identify the pronoun by which the student prefers to be called, or will be asked to take a survey on pronoun preference, to provide written notification of such action to the parent or guardian of the student at least one week before such action occurs. After the identification or survey has occurred, the bill requires the school district to provide the student’s identification or survey response to the student’s parent or guardian upon request.

Referred to Education

SF 58 - Human Growth and Development Curriculum (F) - This bill provides that the age-appropriate and research-based instruction in human growth and development, which each school board must provide, must include instruction regarding dating violence and affirmative, conscious, and voluntary consent to engage in sexual activity.

Referred to Education

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Email: info@iaschoolcounselor.org

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West Des Moines, IA
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