Second Week of Spring SessionThis week at the Capitol initially looked to be a busy one with quite a few bills assigned to scheduled committees. However, by late Tuesday, most of the committees were canceled leaving only two bills of interest to IASB Governmental Relations scheduled to be discussed in committees.
A major reason for committee cancelations is the change in the Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) filing deadlines. This year, amendments to bills are not allowed to be filed until after February 9. A lot of work is happening behind the scenes to meet with legislators and discuss concerns with bills. With the new LRB process, amendments cannot be drafted and filed by LRB until next week. Without the ability to file amendments that alleviate stakeholder concerns identified in these bills, many legislators have agreed to hold the bills until the amendments can be filed. Unfortunately, this is pushing a lot of bills back and will likely result in very busy weeks and lengthy committee hearings in the coming weeks.
Senate Education Committee – February 6
SB2675 (Villivalam) The bill does two things. First, it corrects a drafting error from Spring session that prohibited not-for-profit entities to be eligible for early childhood construction grants. Second, it corrects a limitation adopted through the Administrative Rules process which prohibits certain not-for-profits from receiving these funds. The Senator confirmed that this bill does not touch funding for the upcoming fiscal year. It simply corrects commitments that were previously made to these not-for-profit entities last fiscal year and allows funds to be disbursed to them which have been withheld for months due to the legislative drafting error and Administrative Rules change. The bill passed out of Committee 13-0.
Childcare Accessibility and Early Childhood Education Committee – February 8
HB4236 (Croke) is the companion bill to SB2675, discussed above. The bill passed out of Committee 14-0.
With the introduction filing deadline being February 9, hundreds of bills are still being filed and the Governmental Relations staff is reviewing each one to see what impacts our members. We will keep you posted!
Advocacy Ambassador Program Moving ForwardOn February 2, members of the IASB Advocacy Ambassador program met virtually for the first time. Twenty-four advocates participated in the event to learn about the new program. On the agenda was an overview of the Spring legislative session as well as discussion of IASB legislative priorities. The group also discussed different advocacy tools and strategies that will be used in the future, including reaching out to legislators, filling out quick IASB text surveys to inform our legislative approach, submitting a Witness Slip, or completing a Call to Action. The group discussed being pro-active vs. reactive and how to best collaborate regarding diverse ways the program can move forward.
The IASB Advocacy Ambassador Program is designed to build relationships and effective communication channels between school board members and state and federal legislators. The goals for this grassroots program include helping you build relationships with fellow advocates and legislators, ensuring that you stay informed about legislative developments that impact your district, and sharing advocacy tools and strategies for you to become more actively engaged in discussions surrounding education policies. As school board advocates, you have the unique opportunity to affect change in both legislative decisions and school board initiatives. Your dedication to navigating the educational landscape will play a pivotal role in creating a brighter future for our students and communities.
For additional information or to sign up to become an IASB Advocacy Ambassador, check out the Advocacy tab on the IASB website. Our next meeting is March 1, from noon-1 p.m. Any IASB member interested in the Spring legislative session and advocacy opportunities is welcome to join, but you do need to sign up for the program to receive the zoom link for the meeting.