In the Legislature
Another week rolls by down here at the Capitol. A little less hectic now that funnel week has passed. We now will spend more time on floor debate, passing bills that survived the subcommittee and committee process.
Some of the bills that we are debating this week I am sure have been covered extensively in the media so I would like to let you know what else is happening.
SF 197 authorizes public buildings to display the POW/MIA flag on POW/MIA Day, Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day. The bill also states that the POW/MIA flag, when displayed, shall be no larger than the U.S. flag and flown second in the order of precedence immediately below or adjacent to the U.S. flag in accordance with federal guidelines.
HF 312 permits a person to leave a vehicle unattended while the engine is running. Under current law, a person is prohibited from letting a vehicle stand unattended without first stopping the engine. The bill still requires motorists to turn their wheels to the curb if they are on any perceptible grade.
SF 401 creates a sexual abuse civil protective order, available from a court for sexual abuse. Under current law a victim may apply for a criminal no-contact order after the defendant has been arrested for sexual abuse, or upon the convicted defendant’s release from jail or prison. A sexual abuse civil protective order would be available through the court on an emergency, temporary, or permanent basis. The order can be obtained before the defendant has been arrested and can cover the victim and members of the victim’s family. The protections are the same as those afforded by a domestic abuse protective order. The bill also creates a notification system located in the Crime Victim Assistance Division of the Attorney General’s Office to be used for notification of victims under domestic abuse protective orders and sexual abuse protective orders. It also notifies victims of establishment of order, its duration, expiration warning, and notifies and allows law enforcement to use and disseminate the information for purposes of enforcement.
Computer Science Education
The computer science education bill, Senate File 274, also passed through the Senate unanimously on Tuesday. This bill, a priority for Governor Branstad, establishes a requirement for computer science education standards. This goal is accomplished by requiring the Board of Educational Examiners to establish endorsements and authorizations for computer science instruction, and the bill establishes the Computer Science Professional Development Incentive Fund. The goal is for each high school to offer at least one computer science course, each middle school to offer instruction in exploratory computer science, and each elementary school to offer instruction on the basics of computer science, all by Fiscal Year 2020. Funding will be used for professional development activities for teachers in the area of computer science education and tuition reimbursement for teachers seeking computer science endorsements or authorizations. It also allowsprivate, state, and federal money to be accepted into the Computer Science Professional Development Incentive Fund, in addition to a direct state appropriation.
Additionally, the bill establishes a Computer Science Education Work Group consisting of K-12 public and accredited non-public schools, higher education, business, labor, and other appropriate stakeholders. This group would help identify ways to incentivize schools to offer the coursework, develop recommendations on how courses can satisfy high school math or science graduation requirements, identify how courses can be integrated into CTE pathways, identify how coursework could be delivered, beyond traditional classes, and identify how funding in the incentive fund can be used to accomplish the goals the bill outlines. They are to submit a report to the General Assembly by November 1, 2017.
The Governor also issued a disaster proclamation for Appanoose, Muscatine, Scott and Wayne counties due to the severe weather earlier this week. This means state resources can be used to help these counties recover from the storms. This declaration also triggers the Iowa Individual Assistance Program, which provides grants of up to $5,000 for households with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level or a maximum annual income of $40,320, for a family of three. Grants are available for home or car repairs, replacement of clothing or food, and for the expense of temporary housing. The grant application, instructions, and more information are available on the Iowa Department of Human Services website. Potential applicants have 45 days from the date of the proclamation (March 8) to submit a claim.
See you out and about the district!