The Legislature held a sixth, and final, round of Interim Committee Meetings last week. Please click on the link below for a report on the bills and issues that were considered. Also, the Constitution Revision Commission Committees will meet this week to consider several education related presentations and proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution. Please click on the link below for the committee meeting schedule and other news on the important work of the Commission.
This was the last week of Interim Committee Meetings that will take place prior to the start of the 2018 Legislative Session on January 9, 2017. Several of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees and Subcommittees received presentations on Governor Scott’s budget recommendations.
The House Select Committee on Hurricane Response & Preparedness began work to finalize their policy recommendations, including several that relate to school districts. The Meeting Packet includes a list of the potential recommendations by topic – each topic has been assigned to a team of Committee members who will be responsible for handling the listed proposals. The Committee will meet again during the first week of the 2018 Session and are expected to finalize their recommendations at that time.
In the Senate Education Committee:
SB 96 – Human Trafficking Education in Schools by Steube – PASSED
The bill adds information on the dangers and signs of human trafficking to the required instruction for middle grades and high school students in the state’s public school system. [NOTE: This was the second of four committees of reference for this bill. There is no House companion bill.]
SB 118 – Visitation of Schools by State Legislators by Hukill – PASSED
The bill authorizes an individual member of the State Legislature to visit any district school in his or her legislative district, on any day and at any time at his or her pleasure. The bill requires a state legislator visiting a district school to sign in and sign out at the school’s main office and wear his or her State Legislature identification badge at all times while present on the school premises. School district personnel may not limit the duration or scope of the visit or direct the visiting individual to leave the school premises. [NOTE: This was the first of two committees of reference for this bill. There is no House companion bill.]
SB 436 – Education/Emergency Situation by Galvano – PASSED
The bill authorizes the Commissioner of Education to coordinate with school districts, Florida College System institutions, and the satellite offices of the Division of Blind Services and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to assess their need for resources and assistance in the event of an emergency situation. [NOTE: This was the first of two committees of reference for this bill. There is no House companion bill.]
SB 564 – McKay Scholarship Program by Young – PASSED
The bill modifies the John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program to:
- Specify that a parent who seeks a reevaluation of an existing individual education plan (IEP) may request an IEP meeting and evaluation from the school district to obtain or revise a matrix of services.
- Authorize a school district to change a matrix of services based on the result of an IEP reevaluation.
[NOTE: This was the first of four committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 399 – is similar but has not been heard in any of the three committees of reference.]
In the Senate Community Affairs Committee:
SB 324 – Impact Fees by Young – PASSED WITH A COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE (CS)
The bill requires an impact fee adopted by ordinance of a county or municipality or by resolution of a special district to specify that the collection of the impact fee be no earlier than the issuance of the building permit for the property that is subject to the fee. The bill also codifies the dual rational nexus test. Specifically, the bill requires that an impact fee be reasonably connected to, or have a rational nexus with:
- The need for additional capital facilities and the increased impact generated by the new residential or commercial construction; and
- The expenditures of the funds collected and the benefits accruing to the new residential or commercial construction.
Additionally, the local government must specifically earmark funds collected by the impact fees for use in acquiring capital facilities to benefit the new residents. Finally, the bill prohibits the use of impact fee revenues to pay existing debt or for prior approved projects unless the expenditure is reasonably connected to, or has a rational nexus with, the increased impact generated by the new residential or commercial construction. [NOTE: The bill was amended with a strike all amendment and then was further amended. The short summary above reflects these changes. In 2016, 28 school districts reported impact fee revenues of approximately $265.3 million. This was the first of three committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 697 – is similar but has not been heard in any of the three committees of reference.]
In the House Government Accountability Committee:
HB 25 – Labor Organizations by Plakon – PASSED WITH A CS; PLACED ON THE HOUSE CALENDAR ON 2ND READING
The bill requires an employee organization to include the following information in its annual financial report for each certified bargaining unit that the organization represents:
- The number of employees in the bargaining unit who are eligible for representation by the employee organization; and
- The number of employees who are represented by the organization, specifying the number of members who pay dues and the number of members who do not pay dues.
If a registered employee organization does not submit this information for a certified bargaining unit it represents, the organization’s certification for that unit is revoked. This provision does not apply to an employee organization that represents, or seeks to represent, employees who are law enforcement officers, correctional officers, or firefighters.
The bill also requires an employee organization that has been certified as the bargaining agent for a unit whose dues-paying membership is less than 50 percent of the employees eligible for representation in that unit to petition the commission for recertification as the exclusive representative of all employees in the unit within one month after the date on which the organization applies for registration renewal. The petition must be accompanied by dated statements signed by at least 30 percent of the employees in the unit, indicating that such employees desire to be represented by the employee organization. If the commission determines the petition to be sufficient, it must order an election to determine whether the employee organization will be certified. The certification of an employee organization that does not comply with this recertification requirement is revoked. This requirement does not apply to an employee organization that represents, or seeks to represent, employees who are law enforcement officers, correctional officers, or firefighters. [NOTE: The Committee took up and passed a Proposed Committee Substitute for the bill. The short summary above reflects these changes. This was the only committee of reference for this bill. The Senate companion bill – SB 1036 – is similar but has not been yet to any committees of reference.]
In the House Ways & Means Committee:
HB 317 – Local Tax Referenda by Ingoglia — PASSED
The bill requires any referendum to levy a discretionary sales surtax must be held during either a primary or a general election. Any such referendum held during a primary election must be approved by at least 60 percent of electors voting on the ballot question. A referendum held during a general election may be approved by only a majority of electors voting on the question. [NOTE: Currently, 19 school districts levy at least one local discretionary sales surtax. This was the second of three committees of reference for this bill. The Senate companion bill – SB 272 – is similar and has passed one of four committees of reference.]
In the Senate Appropriations Committee:
SB 88 – High School Graduation Requirements/Financial Literacy by Hukill – PASSED; PLACED ON CALENDAR ON 2ND READING
The bill requires for student entering 9th grade in the 2018-2019 school year and thereafter to take a separate one-half credit course in personal financial literacy in order to earn a standard high school diploma. The number of required elective credits are reduced from eight to seven and one-half. [NOTE: This was the last committee of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 323– is identical but has not been heard in either of two committees of reference.]
The Constitution Revision Commission Committees will meet this week to consider several of the 103 proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution that have been filed. We have posted a CHART on the FSBA website that provides details and links on 35 proposals that are of direct or tangential interest to school board members. Two CRC Committee meetings are of particular interest this week:
The CRC Education Committee will be meeting on Thursday morning, December 14, 8:30 am – 12:00 pm to receive presentations on Charter School Authorizers, School Start Dates, High-Performing Districts, Fee Waivers, Financial Aid, Mission/Intent of Public Education, and Students with Unique Abilities. No specific proposals will be considered.
The CRC Local Government Committee will be meeting Thursday afternoon, December 14, 1:00 – 5:00 pm to consider:
Proposal 33 — Sponsored by Erika Donalds. The proposal amends Article IX, Section 5 of the Florida Constitution. The proposal would require that the superintendent of schools of a school district be appointed by the district school board rather than elected. The proposal provides an effective date of November 17, 2020. FADSS has prepared Information and Talking Points on this proposal that is available on the FSBA website on the Education Legal News page.
Proposal 43 – Sponsored by Erika Donalds. The proposal amends Article IX, Section 4 of the Florida Constitution. The proposal would limit school board members to two consecutive four year terms in office. As originally proposed, all current service on the school board would count toward that school board member’s 8-year term limit. However, the proposal was amended in the CRC Education Committee to provide that the 8-year term limit would commence with a board member’s last election, making the proposal partially retroactive. We have prepared a FSBA Background and Key Concepts on this proposal that is available on the FSBA website on the Education Legal News page.
Proposal 37 – Sponsored by John Stemberger. The proposal amends Article X of the Florida Constitution by adding a new section. The proposal would prohibit state or local governments from naming government buildings, facilities, land or a government administered program after an elected state or local official, until after that official has vacated office. The proposal also requires that any law or ordinance which names a building, facility, land or program after a state or local elected official not contain provisions on any other subject.
As of this writing, meeting packets have not been posted on the CRC Website. We will provide a report on the outcome of these, and other, CRC Committee meetings on Friday, December 15. Please note that you may also view the live webcast of any of these meetings on The Florida Channel.
The next round of CRC meetings will be January 11-12, 2018. Additional meetings are scheduled for January 18-19, 2018, January 25-26, 2018, and February 1-2, 2018.