Appropriations Committee – Week 22, 2020


SF 2415/SSB 3203—FY21 Transportation Budget

SF 2415/SSB 3203 makes appropriations to the Department of Transportation (DOT) from the Road Use Tax Fund (RUTF) and the Primary Road Fund (PRF) for FY20-21. It unanimously passed the House Appropriations Committee June 10. It provides $393.9 million and 2,739 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions for FY21 to the DOT. This includes $51.5 million from the RUTF and $342.4 million from PRF, for a net decrease of $14.1 million and an increase of 8 FTEs. The decrease results from last year’s approval of a new Driver’s License Service Center in Dallas County, which is now open.

  • $48.6 million to the Administrative Services Division, an increase of $55,000. This is shifted from the Highway Division to the Administrative Services Division to provide for a Transportation Commission Secretary FTE.
  • $262.8 million to the Highway Division, an increase of $1.9 million. This provides seven FTEs to perform project development and field construction inspections, and additional medium- and heavy-duty truck equipment purchases. In FY18, the DOT began transitioning from a 15-year to a 12-year replacement cycle.
  • $4.3 million is transferred to the Department of Administrative Services for workers’ compensation, an increase of $285,000.
  • $561,000 for the Statewide Interoperable Communications System, a $256,000 decrease.
  • $242,000 to produce and print paper transportation maps. Maps are printed every other year.
  • $10.1 million for inventory and equipment replacement, a $245,000 decrease.
  • $11.3 million to renovate the Northwest Wing of the DOT headquarters in Ames. This new appropriation is for utility improvements and renovations at the main Administration building.

SF 2415/SSB 3203 also requires the DOT to study the effectiveness of rumble strips in preventing vehicle crashes at certain stop-controlled intersections. A report on findings must be submitted to the Legislature by December 31, 2021.

If signed into law on or after July 1, the bill takes effect upon enactment and applies retroactively to July 1, 2020.

The Road Use Tax Fund (RUTF), created in 1949, is primarily funded from motor vehicle fuel taxes on gas, ethanol and diesel fuels; motor vehicle registration fees; title and driver’s license fees; and the sales taxes on vehicle purchases. The constitutionally-protected fund can only be spent on the construction, maintenance and supervision of Iowa’s public highways. The RUTF is distributed after “off the top” allocations in this  manner:

  • 47.5% to the Primary Road Fund (State)
  • 24.5% to the Secondary Road Fund (Counties)
  • 8% to Farm to Market (Counties)
  • 20% to Street Construction Fund (Cities)

The PRF is a fund within the RUTF and is used for construction, reconstruction, improvement and maintenance of state institutional roads, state park roads and bridges, roads and bridges on community colleges, for restoration of secondary roads used as primary road detours, for compensation to counties for such use, for restoration of municipal streets and for the compensation of cities for such use.
[6/11: short form]

SF 2417/SSB 3204—FY21 RIIF Budget

SF 2417/SSB 3204 is the Senate Republican FY21 Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure (RIIF) budget. This budget does not address the FY20 revenue shortfall (approximately $68 million). As amended in committee, highlights include:

  • Standing Appropriations: State Housing Trust Fund – $3,000,000
  • Standing Appropriations: Environment First Fund – $42,000,000
  • Standing Appropriations adjustment: State Capitol Maintenance Fund is reduced from $500,000 to $100,000, and the Routine Maintenance Fund is reduced from $2,000,000 to $1,000,000.  
  • Other appropriations include:
  • Water Quality Initiative – $5,200,000 (Status quo)
  • Renewable Fuels – $3,000,000 (Status quo)
  • Great Places $750,000 (previous $1,000,000)
  • CAT Grants – $4,500,000 (previous 5,000,000)
  • Strengthening Communities Grants (Rural YMCAS) – $250,000 (Status quo)
  • Regional Sports Authorities – $500,000 (Status quo)
  • DHS Infrastructure improvements (ADA) – $596,000
  • Nursing Home Facilities Improvements – $500,000 (Status quo)
  • ChildServe pediatric 24/7 skilled nursing facility – $500,000; $500,000 FY22
  • Lake Restoration – $8,600,000
  • State Parks – $1,000,000
  • DNR NEW Fort Atkinson State Park and Preserve (Winneshiek County) – $280,000
  • ILEA Furniture – $280,000
  • ING Armories – $1,000,000
  • ING Readiness Centers – $1,000,000
  • Camp Dodge $250,000
  • Public Safety NEW Aircraft – $1,713,170; Ballistic Vests replacement – $467,500; Bomb Suits replacement – $384,000
  • Regents Tuition Replacement – $28,300,000 
  • ISU Student Innovation adjustment – $3,375,000 to FY22 UNI Industrial Technology Center NEW; $1,000,000 – FY21; $15,900,000 – FY22; $22,800,000 – FY23. Overall project cost estimated at $42 million; remaining amount will come from other sources.
  • State Fair Authority Renovation of 4-H Building – $4,500,000  
  • County Fair Infrastructure (divided equally) – $1,060,000
  • Iowa Veterans Cemetery NEW road resurfacing – $50,000
  • Commercial Air – $1,200,000 [previous 1,900,000]
  • General Aviation – $750,000 [previous $1,000,000]
  • Railroad Revolving Loan Fund – $500,000 [previous $1,000,000]
  • Recreational Trails – $750,000 (previous $1,500,000)
  • No funding for the World Food Prize Borlaug Scholarship  
  • No funding for Vacant Building Demolition Fund
  • No funding for Vacant Building Rehab Fund
  • No funding for the DNR Derelict Buildings Program  
  • No funding Public Transit Vertical Infrastructure Grants
  • No funding for Water Trails and Low Head Dam Grants (previous $500,000)
  • Technology Reinvestment Funds (TRF) appropriations include:
  • Revenue: NEW Tax System Modernization – $4,070,460
  • IECD Board NEW upgrade web reporting system – $500,000
  • DOC NEW buildings automation systems $500,000
  • IPTV Equipment replacement – $1,000,000 (this is additional $500,000)
  • ILEA NEW Technology projects $400,000
  • DOE continued development of data warehouse – $600,000

The RIIF proposal does not include the Governor recommendation of $20,889,000 to the Office of Chief Information Officer for Workday Personnel and Financial System: The Governor recommends this appropriation to begin phased transition of the State’s central accounting and budget systems to Workday, Inc. The first step will migrate personnel management from legacy systems to Workday in the summer of 2020. Migration of other components of the budget system is in the planning stages. The Human Capital Management (HCM) system that includes payroll, time-keeping and benefits management is scheduled to begin in April 2021. DAS has already signed a multi-year commitment worth millions of dollars. They have already started implementing phases of the program and already have spent some money out of a DAS fund.
[6/11: short form]


SF 2360 – Classroom Management and Therapeutic Classroom

SF 2360 addresses concerns from some parents and teachers regarding at-need students and the increased use of “room clears” in response to violent behavior. In a room clear, students are evacuated from the classroom while a violent or disruptive child remains in the classroom. The bill has these main components:

  • Teacher Training and Preparation: Provides $500,000 (House Amendment: starting in 2021-22 school year) for educators to receive additional training to manage classroom disruptions, address student behavior and use the least restrictive environment. 
  • Therapeutic Classroom Funding: Therapeutic classrooms provide smaller classes, intensive help, and short-term breaks to help students reset and develop new coping strategies before reentering their regular classroom.
    • Provides $1,582,650 (House Amendment: starting in 2021-22 school year) for grants for districts and community mental health agencies to help students with violent behavior. Schools may collaborate and apply for a regional therapeutic classroom model. The Iowa Department of Education estimates the funding will cover 150 seats.
    • An additional $500,000 (House Amendment: starting in 2022-23 school year) will reimburse schools for transportation costs to a regional therapeutic classroom. Grants will help establish therapeutic classrooms for one to five pupils, classrooms with six to 10 pupils, and classrooms with 11 to 15 pupils.
  • Classroom Clear Requirements: Provides statewide expectations for clearing a classroom when a student behaves violently, and increases the requirements for school communication with parents of all children affected by a room clear.
  • Educator Protection: (House Amendment: Strikes this and goes back to current Code. Removes all new language about corporal punishment). Increases liability protects for educators when reasonable physical contact is used to relocate a student to protect them and other students from injury. Increases job and whistle-blower protections for teachers who report violence and personal attacks to police and administrators.
  • Data Collection: Establishes data reporting to track incidents of violence or assault by students. This section was amended to comply with federal special education and data privacy laws, and to track key student demographic information to identify overuse or patterns that have a disproportionate racial, gender or social-economic impact.

House Amendment: Removes all corporal punishment provisions and educator liability protections, and pushes all effective dates back one year (with funding impacts). There are also technical corrections.

  • Therapeutic classroom incentive grant program fund – In the subsection talking about the Department of Education establishing criteria for incentive fund, the House inserted, “Grant awards shall be distributed as equitably as possible among small, medium, and large school districts,” and defines, based on student population, what those mean.
  • Strikes all corporal punishment sections – Strikes 10, 11 and 12. Modifies Sec. 13.
    • Sec. 10 and 11: Removes educator immunity for use of corporal punishment.
    • Sec. 12: Strikes immunity for any actions while removing a student from a classroom.
    • Sec. 13: Strikes and replaces with language against employment reprisal or retaliation against a school employee who, in the reasonable course of the employee’s responsibilities, comes into physical contact with a student in accordance with this section.
      [6/11: 48-1 (No: Celsi; Excused: Hogg)]

SF 2400 – Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant program

SF 2400 , as amended by the House, addresses broadband service under the Office of Chief Information Officer (OCIO), the Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Fund and certain broadband infrastructure tax exemptions.

OCIO will use different speed standards for mapping and for grant awards. In mapping, eligibility is based on whether a provider facilitates 25/3 or faster service in a U.S. Census block. Grant eligibility for varying funding levels is determined by different speed thresholds the provider promises to facilitate.

It implements a tiered award system, increasing the percentage of funding an applicant may seek and be awarded depending on buildout speeds. Projects that provide levels greater than or equal to 100 mbps download and 20 mbps upload may receive up to 50% in grant funds. Projects that provide lower speeds may receive up to 35% in grant funds.

The OCIO may award up to 50% for installation projects that facilitate broadband service with a minimum of 100 mbs download speed and 20mbs upload speed at the beginning of the fiscal year. However, if the requested amount for these projects is less than the amount reserved, the office may award the difference between the tiers for the same fiscal year.

The bill makes conforming changes to the name: from the Connecting Iowa Farms, Schools and Communities Broadband Grant Fund to the Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Fund. A Code change allows the OCIO to use fund to pay costs and expenses associated with the administration and operation of the grant program, which is capped at 1% at the beginning of the fiscal year. The OCIO must provide technical assistance to communications service providers for grant applications.

The OCIO may provide grants of federal money obtained because of the public health disaster emergency starting March 17, 2020, to communications service providers to install broadband infrastructure or facilitate broadband service without following the Code section 8B.11 (broadband grant program) and the rules adopted by OCIO, so long as it complies with federal requirements for the use of the money.

The bill takes effect upon enactment.
[6/10: 49-0 (Excused: Feenstra)]

HF 2629 – Future Ready Iowa

HF 2629 extends the program by creating the Future Ready Iowa Expanded Registered Apprenticeship Opportunities program. This bill has these components:

  • Future Ready Iowa Apprenticeship Training Program: The program encourages small and medium-sized businesses to start apprenticeship programs. Seventy percent or more of the apprentices must be residents of Iowa; the rest must be residents of states contiguous to Iowa. Funding for the Registered Apprenticeship Opportunities Program is $1 million in FY20. The Governor recommended $1.6 million for FY21. No appropriations in this bill.
  • Iowa Child Care Challenge Fund (Iowa Workforce Development): The Iowa Employer Innovation Fund matches eligible employer contributions to expand education and training leading to high-demand jobs. A business or nonprofit may apply for construction of a new child care facility, rehabilitation of an existing child care facility, or retrofitting and repurposing an existing structure. The program received $1.2 million for FY20. The Governor is recommending an increase of $2.8 million to bring the total to $4 million. The portion of the increase going to the Child Care Challenge Fund is $2 million. No appropriation in this bill.
  • Computer Science Instruction – K-12 Educational Standards Online Coursework: This requires all school districts and nonpublic schools to include computer science and adds a half unit of instruction to the Iowa core. The bill allows the instruction to be offered online. This portion goes into effect July 1, 2022. No appropriation in this bill.
  • Operational Sharing to include a Work-based Learning Coordinator: A work-based learning coordinator would help facilitate structured education and training programs at K-12 schools that include authentic work-site training, such as registered apprenticeship programs. This position would be included under the maximum amount of additional weighting a school district can receive in a budget year, effective for the 2021-22 school year.
  • Last Dollar Scholarship Program: The bill addresses these qualification issues:
    • Allows a student who graduates from high school, before becoming an adult learner, to enroll full-time at a community college. This addresses eligibility for 19-year olds, meaning students don’t have to attend right after graduating.
    • There was an issue with students taking prerequisite courses not being eligible for the program since they did not go directly into an eligible program. This is fixed by removing the “by fall-semester” enrollment requirement.
    • The bill’s proposed changes allow for all eligible students to receive scholarships for part-time classes during the summer time. No appropriation in this bill.
  • Division 6: Senior Year Plus and Postsecondary Enrollment Options: The division eliminates the part-time enrollment limitation for a high school student enrolling in a community college course through Concurrent Enrollment (Senior Year Plus). The bill eliminates all references within the program that restrict it to part-time enrollment.
    [6/11: 49-0 (Excused: Hogg)]