In observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, there were no legislative meetings today. Tomorrow, several bills of interest will be considered, including bills relating to local tax referenda, juvenile justice, out-of-school suspension, computer coding, and retirement. In addition, the House Select Committee on Hurricane Response and Preparedness will be considering their final report and recommendations. Please click on the link below for the schedule and more information about these bills and others. Also, we want to provide an early alert that several of the Constitution Revision Commission Committees will be meeting on Thursday and Friday this week. Of particular interest, the CRC Education Committee will be considering several important education-related proposals to amend the Florida Constitution, including, among others, proposals relating to school board member salaries, charter school authorizers, and the prohibition against using public revenues in aid of religious entities. Please click on the link below for more information on these proposals.
Please note that all of the meetings listed below may be viewed via live webcast on the Florida Channel. For real-time updates on these meetings and other legislative activities, please click HERE to access our Twitter feed.
The House Select Committee on Hurricane Response & Preparedness will meet, 9:00 – 11:00 am, to consider their final report and recommendations. You may review the 13 pages of potential recommendations, sorted by topic, HERE.
The Senate Finance & Tax Appropriations Subcommittee will meet, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm, to consider the following item and others:
SB 272 – Local Tax Referenda by Brandes
The bill provides that a referendum to adopt or amend a local option discretionary sales surtax which is held at any date other than a general election requires the approval of at least 60 percent of the electors voting. If the referendum is held at a general election, only a simple majority is required.
The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee will meet, 1:30 am – 2:00 pm, to consider the following items and others:
HB 1197 – Prearrest Diversion Programs by Ahern
The bill establishes a model prearrest diversion program that local entities may, but are not mandated to, adopt. In implementing such a program, representatives from local law enforcement agencies, the program services provider, the public defender, the state attorney, and the clerk of the court, in consultation with other interested stakeholders, have wide latitude to develop the program, including defining eligibility criteria, program implementation and operation, and fees, if any. The bill also expands eligibility criteria for juvenile diversion program expunction. The bill makes participants in all types of juvenile diversion programs eligible for expunction. The individual programs no longer have the discretion to specify whether expunction is available, and a minor who completes any diversion program for any misdemeanor is eligible. The bill requires the diversion programs to submit data regarding participants and nonparticipants in diversion programs to the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), which must compile and publish the data on its website.
HB 1199 – Public Records/Diversion Programs by Ahern
The bill creates a public records exemption for the personal identifying information of an adult who participates in a pre-arrest diversion program established under HB 1197 (above).
The Senate Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee will meet, 1:30 – 3:30 pm, to consider the following items and others:
SB 242 – Developmental Disabilities by Baxley
The bill expands the definition of “developmental disability” in statute to include any disorder or syndrome attributable to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD).
SM 882 – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program by Campbell
This Senate Memorial (SM) urges the U.S. Congress to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA). DACA is a program that defers the deportation of illegal aliens who came to the U.S. as children. The program is currently being litigated in federal court and Executive Order No. 13,768 orders federal agencies to end the program by March 5, 2018. [NOTE: A Memorial allows the legislature to express a sentiment to the U.S. Congress. It has no force of law.]
The Senate Education Committee will meet, 1:30 – 3:30 pm, to consider the following items:
SB 252 – State Employee Higher Education Fee Waivers by Steube
The bill modifies, from 6 credit hours per term to 18 credit hours per calendar year, the requirement that state universities and Florida College System institutions waive tuition and fees for state employees, on a space-available basis.
SB 496 – Out-of-School Suspension by Baxley
The bill revises parents’ rights and school districts’ duties regarding the out-of-school suspension of public school students. Specifically, the bill provides that suspension means out-of-school suspension and:
- Grants parents the right to give public testimony at a district school board meeting during which the board reviews its rules authorizing out-of-school suspension.
- Requires a district school board to review, once every 3 years, its rules authorizing out-of-school suspension during a district school board meeting.
- Specifies that a district school board’s rules authorizing suspension expire if the board does not conduct its review of these rules in accordance with the specified provisions.
SB 654 – Early Childhood Music Education Incentive Pilot Program by Perry
The bill extends the scheduled expiration of the Early Childhood Music Education Incentive Pilot Program from June 30, 2020, to June 30, 2021, and appropriates $300,000 for the 2018-2019 fiscal year to the Department of Education for program implementation.
SB 1056 – Computer Coding Instruction by Passidomo
The bill promotes opportunities for public middle and high school students to learn computer coding taught by qualified teachers. Specifically, the bill:
- Expands access to coding courses for students, which:
- Phases-in a requirement for school districts with a specified number of traditional public middle and high schools to provide coding courses within specified timeframes.
- Requires the Commissioner of Education to at least annually identify and publish a list of courses that include substantial coding content and meet the specified definition of a coding course.
- Creates opportunities for teachers to be certified and trained to teach coding courses, and:
- Requires the Department of Education (DOE) to award funding to a school district or consortium of school districts to deliver or facilitate training for educators to earn a credential to teach coding courses.
- Specifies the qualifications for an educator to teach a coding course.
- Provides the following incentives in the form of a one-time bonus to a public school educator:
- $3,000, if the educator earns or already holds a certification in computer science, and meets other specified criteria.
- $1,500, if the educator earns an applicable industry certification, and meets other specified criteria.
- Requires the DOE to provide “high-need district technology grants” to school districts based on a school district’s high need.
The bill appropriates $15 million in nonrecurring funds from the General Revenue Fund to the Department of Education for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.
SB 1090 – Enrollment/Children of Military Personnel/FLVS by Young
The bill promotes the enrollment of dependent children of certain active duty military personnel in the Florida Virtual School (FLVS). Specifically, the bill:
- Adds dependent children of active duty military personnel not stationed in the state to the types of students to whom the FLVS must give priority for enrollment.
- Adds the FLVS to the special academic programs for which a dependent child of active duty military personnel must receive first preference for admission if the child meets the eligibility criteria for such programs.
- Authorizes the FLVS to use the State of Legal Residence Certificate to verify residency for a dependent child of active duty military personnel, and to serve such children directly.
- Requires that funding for participation by such children must be in accordance with the law.
The Senate Community Affairs Committee will meet, 4:00 – 6:00 pm, to consider the following item and others:
SB 614 – Participant Local Government Advisory Council by Montford
The bill abolishes the Participant Local Government Advisory Council and makes conforming changes due to the abolishment.
The Senate Governmental Oversight & Accountability Committee will meet, 4:00 – 6:00 pm, to consider the following items and others:
SB 722 – Retirement by Garcia
The bill sets the level of the annual cost of living adjustment for all Florida Retirement System pension plan retirees and annuitants beginning July 1, 2018. For the annual cost of living adjustment for a retiree and beneficiary retiring on or after July 1, 2011, with service credit earned before July 1, 2011, the factor calculated may not be a product of less than 2. This will affect all employees hired after July 1991 who would otherwise have cost of living adjustments of less than 2 percent by setting a floor of 2 percent.
SB 780 – Prohibition/Contracting with Scrutinized Companies by Brandes
The bill prohibits a company that is on the Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel List or that is engaged in a boycott of Israel from bidding on, submitting a proposal for, or entering into or renewing a contract with an agency or local government entity for goods or services of any amount. The bill also requires a contract with an agency or local governmental entity for goods or services of any amount entered into or renewed on or after July 1, 2018, to contain a provision that allows for the termination of the contract at the option of the awarding body if the company has been placed on the Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel List or is engaged in a boycott of Israel. An agency or local governmental entity is authorized to make a case-by-case exception to this prohibition if certain conditions are met. In addition, the bill requires a company to provide certification that it is not engaging in a boycott of Israel before submitting a bid or entering into or renewing a contract with an agency or local governmental entity.
The Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) Education Committee will be meeting on Friday, December 19, 1:00-6:00 p.m. The Committee will be considering several proposals of significant interest to school board members. Of primary concern is:
Proposal 32 – sponsored by Erika Donalds – This proposal would require that members of the state board of education, members of district school boards, members of state university boards of trustees, and members of the board of governors would serve without compensation. The proposal allows for members of these boards to be reimbursed for travel and per diem expenses in accordance with state law.
FSBA Executive Director Andrea Messina has been working closely with the CRC Education Committee Chair, Marva Johnson, who had previously expressed concerns and voted against this proposal. Andrea has supplied Ms. Johnson with information to assist her at the meeting. In addition, several school board members have agreed to attend the meeting to testify in person and we have issued an Advocacy Alert to selected members of the FSBA Legislative Committee (also known as the Legislative Committee’s Pinch Hitters) who will be responsible for contacting the members of the Committee to express concerns about this proposal. For more information on this proposal, please see our FSBA Analysis of Proposal 32 that provides additional details and talking points on this issue.
Also, please note that, in addition to Proposal 32, several other significant education proposals will be considered at the same CRC Education Committee meeting including, among others:
Proposal 45 sponsored by Erika Donalds – This proposal specifies that no provision of the State Constitution may be construed to limit the Legislature from making provision for other educational services that are beneficial to the children and families of this state.
Proposal 89 sponsored by Nicole Washington – This proposal specifies the purpose and intent of the state’s public education system is to develop the intellect of the state’s citizens, to contribute to the economy, to create an effective workforce, and to prepare students for a job. In addition, the proposal provides that it is the intent of the people to provide high quality and affordable postsecondary education opportunities.
Proposal 93 – sponsored by Roberto Martinez – This proposal authorizes the school board of a high performing school district to choose to be designated as a charter district that provides exemption from all provisions of the Florida K-20 Education Code in the same manner as a charter school.
We are developing our analysis and talking points on each of these proposals and will post them on our Florida CRC page on the FSBA website as soon as possible.