SPECIAL SESSION UPDATE
Last Friday, Senate President Andy Gardiner and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli issued a Joint Proclamation setting the time frame and agenda for the Special Session. As expected, the Special Session will begin June 1 and end no later than June 20. This aligns with the Florida Constitution that limits the duration of a Special Session to no more than 20 days, but it is certainly possible that the Legislature may complete their business prior to June 20. The Proclamation provides a specific list of bills and issues that will be considered during the Special Session. The list bills and issues includes, among others, the General Appropriations Act (GAA), GAA Implementing Bill, FRS Contribution Rates, Implementation of Amendment 1, Medicaid and Health Care, and tax relief. It’s important to note that this list does not include any substantive education bills. Even so, it remains possible that significant education legislation may be considered as part of the budget and/or implementing bill. The Proclamation has been posted on the FSBA website on our 2015 Legislative Session Resources pagehttp://fsba.org/2015-
As you know, the regular Legislative Session ended without passage of a state budget due to a disagreement between the House and Senate on funding for the Low Income Pool (LIP) — a program that provides funding to hospitals and health providers that provide care for uninsured and low-income Floridians — and for an expansion of the Medicaid program. The Senate budget included $2.2 billion for a modified LIP program and set aside another $2.8 billion in federal Medicaid-expansion funding, but the House budget did not include this funding nor did the House support the policies related to this Senate funding. The disagreement over these issues escalated to an impasse that later resulted in in an abrupt adjournment without a state budget, thus requiring the Special Session outlined above. It appears that the Special Session may open with the re-filing of the appropriations bills as they existed at the end of the regular session. If this is the case, both the House and Senate education budgets would increase overall FEFP funding by about $750 million — about a 4% increase over the current year – with the House budget providing about $20 million more than Senate in total FEFP funding. The main difference between the two original education budgets was that the House focused on increasing funding for specific programs while the Senate provided more flexibility by focusing increased funding in the base student allocation. However, at a minimum, both budgets would need to be revised to account for new FTE enrollment figures. In addition, there is concern that education funding may be further reduced to accommodate resolution of the LIP and/or Medicaid expansion issues. This concern has spurred Governor Scott to call for the Legislature provide total education funding of $7,126 per-student. FSBA encourages you to contact your legislators prior to the start of the Special Session to urge them to safeguard education funding from reduction as they resolve other budget issues and/or seek tax cuts. Please remind them that, although projected student enrollment has increased since the Governor, House, and Senate released their original budgets, the Legislature still has holds substantial revenue reserves and still has the opportunity to prioritize education and reach a record level of per-student funding.
FSBA LEGISLATIVE SESSION SUMMARY AND RELATED WORKSHOPS AND WEBINARS
In the absence of a state budget, FSBA moved forward with work on our 2015 Legislative Session Summary book. We have completed writing detailed summaries of the education related bills that were passed during the regular Session and we have posted these summaries on the FSBA website. You may access Part I of our Legislative Session Summary on our 2015 Session Resource Center page – please go to http://fsba.org/2015-
As you know, at the end of each session, FSBA normally conducts a series of Legislative Session Review Workshops at various locations around the state. However, this year, in the absence of a state budget and the relatively short list of education related bills that passed, we have revised this practice. In place of some of our usual on-site workshops, we have scheduled two webinars to present the most compelling education related bills. The first webinar will devoted to HB 7069 and the changes to Florida’s system of assessment and accountability. The second webinar will present an overview of several other education related bills that passed during the 2015 Legislative Session. In addition to FSBA staff, district lobbyists will be available during both of these webinars to assist with the presentations and to answer your questions. These webinars are free of charge, but we ask those wishing to participate in either or both of these webinars to complete a registration form. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. The schedule and registration links for these webinars are as follows:
FSBA Legislative Review Webinar #1
HB 7069 – Assessment & Accountability
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
12:00 – 1:00 pm
FSBA Legislative Review Webinar #2
2015 Education Legislation
(NOTE: Unless time permits, this webinar will NOT include a discussion of HB 7069)
Thursday, May 28, 2015
12:00 – 1:00 pm
We hope you will be able to join us for one or both of these webinars. However, if this schedule is not convenient, please note that both webinars will be recorded and made available to those that are unable to participate in the live webinar sessions.