Monday, March 3, 2014
Today, we resume our FSBA Daily Updates on activities each day during the 2014 Legislative Session. These updates are sent to school board members, superintendents, and district staff members as well as hundreds of state and local government officials, parent and citizen advocates, and others who have asked to be included in our distribution list. Please let me know if there are others in your community that wish to be added to our distribution list.
BOARDER-LINE AND FSBA LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY TOOLKIT
To set the stage for this Session, we have posted our first issue of Boarder-Line that provides an overview of the state economy, issues, and key bills of the day. In addition, we have posted a variety of items in our legislative advocacy toolkit to assist you in understanding and participating in the legislative process. Our toolkit includes a self-guided presentation on Understanding the Legislative Process, a list of each district’s legislative delegation that includes email links to each legislator, FSBA’s current Bill Tracking List that includes links to each bill’s webpage, and other materials. We encourage you to read each weekly issue of Boarder-Line and to review the toolkit materials so that you will be prepared to act when we seek your help in advocating for public education. Boarder-Line 1 and our toolkit are all available on the FSBA website at http://fsba.org/services/government-relations/state-government-relations/boarder-line.
In the House State Affairs Committee:
HB 9 – Legislative Session Dates by Nuñez — PASSED as amended
The Florida Constitution requires that, in even-numbered years, the 60-day legislative session must begin on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March, but does not specify a start date in odd-numbered years. This bill calls for the session to begin on the second Tuesday after the first Monday in JANUARY in odd-numbered years. The 2014 FSBA Legislative Platform includes a position statement supporting this earlier Session start time because it would provide more lead time to school districts for planning and budgeting for the subsequent school year.
In the House Criminal Justice Committee:
SB 1060 – Code of Student Conduct by Evers – PASSED
This bill provides that students should not be disciplined for simulating a firearm or weapon while playing or wearing clothing or accessories which depict a firearm or weapon or expressing an opinion regarding Second Amendment rights. The bill has implications for school district Code of Conduct and/or Dress Code policies.
COMING UP TOMORROW
Prior to the official opening of the 2014 Legislative Session, several education related bills will be considered in Senate committees.
SB 160 – Food Distributed Free of Charge by Bullard
This bill adds public schools to the list of defined donors protected from civil and criminal liability when they donate food to charitable organizations.
SB 850 – Education / Collegiate High School Programs by Legg
Currently, this bill requires a Florida College System institution to work with each school district in its designated service area to establish a collegiate high school program. However, amendments that will be considered tomorrow would substantially expand the scope of this bill to add provisions relating to juvenile justice education, implementation of an early warning system based on indicators to identify students in need of additional academic support, middle grades reform, CAPE industry certifications, and other elements.
SB 7060 – Education Accountability by Education Committee
This bill provides definitions for the statewide, standardized assessment program and school grading system and provides a plan, based on recommendations by DOE, for the transition to Florida’s revised state standards and new assessments with respect to school grading. Several amendments will be considered that would revise and expand the bill’s original provisions. This bill addresses several of FSBA’s 2014 Legislative Platform and positions.
SB 188 – Education Data Privacy by Hukill
This bill contains provisions to make students and their parents aware of their educational privacy rights and also prohibits the collection — and limits the dissemination — of certain types of information. The bill also requires the replacement of social security numbers with student identification numbers. The issue of student data privacy has raised concerns on both sides of the political aisle and has stirred debate about the appropriate procedures and protocols in the use of technology in providing education related services while safeguarding student data.
The House and Senate will be in SESSION – House beginning at 9:00 am and Senate beginning at 10:00 am — for opening day ceremonies and to hear remarks from their respective leaders: House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz. At 11:00 am, the two chambers will meet jointly to hear Governor Rick Scott deliver the annual State of the State Address. All of these events will be available via Florida Channel webcast at http://thefloridachannel.org/.
The House Choice & Innovation Subcommittee will meet – 1:30 – 3:30 pm; Florida Channel webcast at http://thefloridachannel.org/ — to hold a workshop on reimbursement accounts for students with disabilities. This is an issue of interest and concern to FSBA as it may represent an alternative voucher-type program.
The Senate will reconvene in SESSION – 2:00 – 6:00 pm; Florida Channel webcast – to consider several bills on the Special Order Calendar (2nd Reading), including:
SB 852 – Education Assessments by Education
This bill provides that a student who must take a statewide, standardized assessment may not take a district assessment within two weeks before or two weeks after the administration of the statewide, standardized assessment taken by that student. The bill presents significant concerns to school districts regarding the timing for the administration of required local assessments.
The Senate will also consider several bills that revise, repeal, and/or update sections of Florida Statutes to conform with recent legislation.
The House will reconvene in SESSION – 4:00 – 6:00 pm; Florida Channel webcast – but, as of this writing, the agenda for any bills that might be considered is not available.
IN THE NEWS
Tampa Bay Times – 2/28/14
Florida schools: cheaper, faster, better?
Naples News – 3/1/14
Florida considers best way to implement ed reforms
Florida Today – 3/2/14
60-day lawmaking battle starts Tuesday in capitol