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Legislative Report (Vol XXIV No.7) February 21, 2005 Tax Cut Bills Pass Committee

February 25, 2005

The House Ways and Means committee passed two bills this week that would further erode the funding available for education and other state services. The first bill, HF 26 phases out the income tax on social security benefits and also phases out the state income tax on pension and retirement income over a five year period. This would have the potential of reducing another significant portion of the state budget.

In addition to HF 26 they also passed HSB 19, the tax payer rights amendment. This resolution, identical to last year's SJR 2010, proposes an amendment to the Iowa Constitution requiring voters to approve any sales, income, or property tax or fee increase equal to more than 1 percent of state revenue at a general election.

AEA Presentation

AEA representatives made another presentation to the education subgroup of the Governor's Governance study. Committee members requested the time for the purpose of further discussing areas of sharing that AEAs are involved in and other possible sharing opportunities that may be possible. Presenting on behalf of the AEAs were AEA Administrators Glenn Pelecky, AEA 9, Bob Vittengil, AEA 1, and Joe Crozier of AEAs 15 & 16. Also presenting were Cliff Ehlinger, Ass't Administrator, AEA 10, Brent Siegrist, Director of AEA Services and myself.

On a related matter a Senate subcommittee this past week met to begin discussing SSB 115 8, a bill to provide incentives for schools to enter into sharing agreements with other schools. It appears that one of the changes that will be made in the bill was a suggestion by the education lobby to not limit the bill to just school to school sharing but rather to provide for incentives to share with AEAs, community colleges and other governmental entities.

Republicans Offer Early Childhood Initiative

Republicans in the House unveiled their version of an early childhood, preschool education bill on Thursday. The bill appropriates $11.7 million to meet four key points according to House GOP members. Those points are:

  • True collaboration on the state level;
  • Easy access to early childhood services;
  • Enhanced Quality, and
  • Increased investments in local early childhood programs.

The funding would be allocated as follows:

  • $4 million for low-income preschool tuition,
  • $3 million to help local officials improve preschool offerings,
  • $1 million to programs that provide assistance and education to child care providers,
  • $2.7 million to expand child care assistance eligibility to 145 percent of poverty level,
  • $1 million to empowerment zones, AEAs and community colleges to improve the quality of child-care services in Iowa .

Governor Vilsack has requested $39 million for his early childhood program which provides for the establishment of statewide, voluntary standards and professional development to support universal access to high-quality preschool programs for three-year-old and four-year-old children.

The Governor's initiative further requires the director of the department of education to develop a request for proposals, and criteria that support the shared vision model, that invites local communities, empowerment boards, and school districts to develop an implementation plan based on the shared visions model.

Cigarette Tax Stalls

GOP leaders on both sides of the rotunda are currently showing a reluctance to continue dialog concerning the Governor's request to raise revenue through an increase in the cigarette tax. However one would assume that this issue is far from dead.

Legislative Update

A Summary of Bills Introduced During the Week of 2-21-2005

House Files:

HF 367 - This bill relates to harassment and bullying of elementary and secondary school students and establishes a state policy that school employees, volunteers, and students in Iowa schools shall not engage in harassing or bullying behavior. By Wendt and Oldsen

HF 372 - This bill expands the definition of a meeting under the open meetings law to include serial gatherings of members of a governmental body who constitute less than a majority of the members at each gathering, but who collectively constitute a majority of the members, where the series of gatherings includes deliberation or action upon any matter within the scope of the governmental body's policy-making duties. Currently, a majority of the members of a governmental body who attend a gathering and deliberate or take action upon any matter within the scope of the governmental body's policy-making duties are subject to the requirements of Iowa's open meetings law, which requires advance public notice and public access. Committee on State Government

HF 381 - This bill provides that the leasing of a building by a school district shall be an authorized use of physical plant and equipment levy revenue. By De Boef

HF 382 - This bill requires school boards to adopt and annually review a policy prohibiting bullying and harassment of all students. By Foege

HF 385 - This bill relates to improvement of the early care, child care services, education, health, and human services systems under the oversight of the department of education, the department of human services, the Iowa empowerment board, and the child development coordinating council; provides for the establishment of statewide voluntary standards and professional development to support universal access to high-quality preschool programs; creates a children's cabinet; and makes appropriations to the department of education for the fiscal year 2004-2005. By Hogg, Petersen, and Foege

HF 390 - This bill increases the additional weighting assigned to limited English proficient students under the school finance formula from the current level of twenty-two hundredths to the level of thirty-two hundredths. By Kaufmann

HF 400 - This bill allows for an individual income tax deduction for contributions made to a qualified tuition program established by one or more educational institutions. ; Committee on Ways and Means

HF 401 - This bill makes changes to the student achievement and teacher quality program, establishes an administrator quality program, sets forth Iowa standards for school leaders, and provides for an annual appropriation of $245,000 to the department of education for implementation of a new administrator mentoring and induction program. The bill adds new elements to the student achievement and teacher quality program, including teacher development programs and evaluation of teachers against the Iowa teaching standards. By Winckler,

HF 403 - This bill exempts the instructional support property tax levy of a school district from being collected as part of the incremental taxes paid to a municipality for an urban renewal area. By Jochum

HF 406 - This bill requires the board of directors of a school district to publicize in, at a minimum, the school district's student handbook and on the school district's web page, the higher education opportunities available to students, including opportunities under the postsecondary enrollment options Act and classes offered under district-to-community college sharing agreements. By Chambers

HF 409 - This bill establishes an Iowa learning technology commission. By Boal

HF 421 - This bill relates to the purposes for which physical plant and equipment levy revenue may be utilized. The bill provides that one of the current permissible uses, involving the purchase, lease, or lease-purchase of a single unit of equipment or technology exceeding $500 in value per unit, shall be expanded to also include related purchases of software or payments under a software licensing agreement. By Heddens and Wessel-Kroeschel

HF 423 - This bill makes a child eligible to participate immediately in extracurricular interscholastic athletic contests or competitions sponsored by bona fide extracurricular interscholastic athletic organizations, as long as the child is otherwise eligible to participate and the contests or competitions are below the varsity level. Education Committee

HF 452 - This bill amends the Code chapter dealing with the local sales and services tax for school infrastructure purposes by requiring, in determining the definition of "statewide tax revenues per student" for purposes of calculating a school district's guaranteed amount, that instead of the present set amount of $575, an estimated amount that would be generated by a 1 cent statewide sales tax divided by the budget enrollment would be used. The bill also limits the applicability of the requirement for a certificate of need before supplemental funding may be used for new construction, to school districts with less than 250 actual enrollment or with less than 100 actual enrollment in high school, as opposed to the present requirement which is applicable to all school districts. By Frevert

HF 454 - This bill requires the state board of education to adopt rules establishing criteria for the approval by the director of the department of education of requests made by a board of directors of a school district to commence classes prior to the earliest school starting date allowed under law, which is no sooner than a day during the calendar week in which the first day of September falls but no later than the first Monday in December, unless the first day of September falls on a Sunday, in which case school may begin on a day during the calendar week which immediately precedes the first day of September. By May

House Study Bills:

HSB 203 - This bill provides for the establishment of statewide, voluntary standards and professional development to support universal access to high-quality preschool programs for three-year- old and four-year-old children. Proposed Governor's Bill

Senate Files:

SF 190 - This bill requires local school boards to adopt a bus idling policy for school bus drivers in order to minimize the idling of buses on or near school grounds. By Bolkom

SF 195 - This bill creates an alternative means for a student who is at least 14 years of age to receive driver education instruction currently offered by public schools to qualify for an intermediate driver's license. The bill allows a parent, guardian, or legal custodian who is providing competent private instruction to a student to teach the student driver education, provided the person has a valid driver's license that permits unaccompanied driving and has a clear driving record for the previous two years. Transportation Committee

SF 220 – Formerly SF 23 – Uses of Physical Plant and Equipment Levy. Education Committee

Senate Study Bills:

SSB 1178 - This bill relates to certain bid requirements and to the use of construction management services for construction of certain public improvements. The bill changes the threshold requirement for advertising for bids for a contract for the construction of a public improvement from a cost of $25,000 to a minimum cost of $100,000. This increase in the threshold applies to school corporations among others. By Shull

SSB 1197 - This bill makes changes to the Iowa public employees' retirement system (IPERS) relating to contributions made to the system by employers and employees. Code section 97B.11, governing contributions to the retirement fund, is amended. Currently , the employer rate is 5.75 percent and the employee rate is 3.7 percent of a member's covered wages. The bill provides that the employer rate will equal 5.75 percent plus 60 percent of the total additional required percent age and the employee rate will equal 3.7 percent plus 40 percent of the total additional required percentage. By Horn

SSB 1209 - This bill relates to improvement of the early care, education, health, and human services systems under the oversight of the Iowa empowerment board and creates a children's cabinet. The bill makes several changes to Iowa's community empowerment Act in Code chapter 28. By Ragan

SSB 1216 – Same as HF 452. By McKinley

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