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Violent students and sharing county employees among issues

Week four was another short week for us because of the Iowa caucuses on Monday. While the week was shorter, it also included the first floor debate of the year.

Since we have been working on subcommittees for a few weeks now, committee work has also started to pick up as we get bills ready for floor debate.

In my committees this week, we worked on bills such as removing restrictions for counties to share resources for certain hired positions.

SF 2025 removes the existing requirement for multiple counties employing the same engineer or professional staff for the engineer to be adjacent to each other. Counties not adjacent will now be able to share engineers and staff. This bill will allow counties new opportunities for flexibility and efficiency.

This week work also continued on finding solutions to one of the biggest issues in education – violent student behavior.

SSB 3080 was approved at the subcommittee level last week and a number of changes were made during the Senate Education Committee to aid implementation, clarify intent and provide more specific allocation of resources for therapeutic classrooms. The goal of this legislation remains the same, giving schools districts options for placements of students with violent behavior, keeping teachers safe and ensuring all students receive the education they deserve.

SSB 3080 is part of an education funding package we announced last week. Together with SSB 3097 and SSB 3096, these bills provide an additional $7.7 million for transportation equity, $5.8 million for per pupil funding, and $75.7 million for K-12 education. These bills would bring next year’s total new funding for K-12 schools to $91.7 million in addition to last year’s allocation of finding.

Finally, Senate File 2144, providing funding in the current fiscal year for flood relief and funding to address issues at the State Resource Center in Glenwood, passed the Iowa Senate. This supplemental appropriation directs $333,000 to the institution to improve operations and the facility, which has been the subject of a federal investigation. The bill calls for $137,000 to contract with experts for the direct consultation, evaluation, and planning for improvement in operations. It also calls for $102,000 to complete a comprehensive facility assessment as well as an OSHA consultation. Lastly, $94,000 is directed to contract with the UIHC for a peer review of patient care.

Thank you to my constituents for your emails and visits to the Iowa Capitol this week. It is my honor to serve you. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

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