Supplemental State Aid
On Wednesday, Feb. 7, the Iowa House debated the Supplemental State Aid (SSA) bill within the first thirty days as the Governor proposed. Since 2011, when Republicans gained the majority, there has been $735 million in additional state funding for Iowa schools. This increase in spending ranks Iowa fourth in the nation for K-12 spending. This bill proposes an additional $32 million in new funding for FY2019 for SSA. The eight year total increase will be $763.5 million in additional funding for Iowa K-12 students. The House voted in favor to support the increase in SSA, but there is still more to be done.
Other initiatives I am taking to give K-12 education more monies include the HF221 bill that is currently in the Education committee, which I have previously mentioned. This bill will allow for certain schools with large transportation radiuses to be eligible for a transportation aid supplement program in order to pay for high student transportation costs. Because we would be providing more money for transportation, that will make it beneficial for schools to allocate money where needed from the general fund.
I was assigned to be the chair of the HF2136 subcommittee out of the Education committee. This bill would establish a district cash reserve budget adjustment so that school districts could use funds from their reserve for their regular program district costs. If a school district has excess cash reserves they could use those reserves in the general budget for any general fund expenditure.
HSB601 pertains to creating a law enforcement body camera interim workgroup. This group will consist of eight voting members and four ex officio, nonvoting legislative members. The following members would be appointed from the Iowa Public Information Board, Iowa Freedom of Information Council, Iowa Newspaper Association, Iowa Department of Justice, Iowa Peace Officers Association, Iowa Police Chiefs Association, Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Iowa Department of Public Safety.
The total number of appointed members will probably increase. These members would be joined by two members of the Iowa Senate and two members of the House of Representatives who would serve as ex officio, appointed by the majority and minority leaders. The goal of this workgroup is to submit recommendations and findings regarding law enforcement body cameras in a report by November 1, 2018 to the general assembly. This bill passed out of the subcommittee I was serving on and is presently in the Local Government committee.
This bill amends the section of code determining how the Board of Regents must advertise for bids for any projects over $100,000. The new requirements include advertising projects in a local newspaper, having an engineer and architect to draw up plans, and providing those plans to all bidders. This bill was passed out of the Local Government committee on Wednesday, Jan. 7. We must have competitive bidding for the regent’s schools.