The 2018 Legislative Session will convene tomorrow, January 9, 2017. As usual, we are resuming our daily online reports and weekly video updates on legislative and related activities. In addition, we have created or updated a number of publications and online resources to assist you in your advocacy efforts. To stay current on legislative activities and to support your advocacy efforts, you may wish to bookmark the following FSBA websites for reference:
- For our daily online reports and weekly video updates, visit our Session Spotlight blog at http://fsba.org/fsba-session-spotlight/ (NOTE: you will receive an email notification when new posts and videos are available.)
- For bill and budget information, legislator and committee links, and advocacy tools, visit our 2018 Legislative Session page at http://fsba.org/2018-legislative-session/
- For background information and related resources, visit our Resource Room at http://fsba.org/resource-room/
Please click on the links below for a preview of the issues to watch during the 2018 Session, the schedule of meetings for today’s opening of the 2018 Session, and an update on the Constitution Revision Commission.
Our 2018 Session Kickoff Video features FSBA Executive Director Andrea Messina providing an outline of the key issues and bills that are expected this Session. Although many familiar issues will be in the forefront, the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria and election year politics are likely to may bring new perspectives to these issues.
The state budget – the only legislation that the Legislature is required to pass – is likely to be in both the forefront and the background throughout the Session. Long before the start of the Session, Legislators were aware the funds will be tight this year. The costs associated with response and recovery to major hurricanes has placed an additional strain on the budget. Added to that are the competing funding priorities of the Governor, legislative leaders, and individual legislators hoping to bring home funding for local projects. In terms of education funding, Governor Scott is calling for a substantial investment in all levels of education. Senate President Joe Negron wishes to continue the effort to boost education funding and accountability on the post-secondary level while Speaker Corcoran is promoting a new scholarship program for students who have been bullied. The main tug-of-war in education spending is, again, the debate over the Required Local Effort millage rate – Speaker Corcoran continues to insist that it should be rolled back (which would eliminate a potential $500 million in education funding) while both Governor Scott and Senate Appropriations Chair Rob Bradley appear to support maintain the current rates.
Other important education related issues that will be in the spotlight are local government accountability and ethics, competency-based education, computer coding, financial literacy, instructional materials, and personnel evaluations. We are already tracking more than 400 bills that address these, and other, education issues. Please see our FSBA Bill Tracking List (located in the “2018 Education Legislation” folder on our 2018 Legislative Session page) for more information and links about these bills. Please note that our Bill Tracking List is updated regularly, so check back often.
Although the Legislature welcomed a new member in the Florida House — Lawrence McClure, elected in December to fill the seat in House District 58 – both chambers will still be short-handed during most or all of the Session due to vacancies. There are four vacant seats in the House — House District 33, House District 39, House District 72, and House District 114. A Special Election for House District 72 is scheduled for February 12, but the other vacant House seats will not be filled until after the 2018 Session. There are two vacant seats in the Senate – Senate District 16 and Senate District 31. Special elections to fill these vacancies will not be held until after the 2018 Session.
As a result of new members and vacancies, there have been a few changes to the membership of some key committees. We have updated our Legislative Delegation list, House and Senate contact lists, and key committee lists. These updated lists may be found in the “Legislative Delegations & Key Committees” folder on our 2018 Legislative Session page.
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 Senate will be in Session, 9:30 – 11:00 am, and the House will be in Session, 10:00 – 11:00 am. Both chambers will engage in opening ceremonies that are likely to include speeches by Senate President Joe Negron and House Speaker Richard Corcoran detailing priorities for the Session. The House and Senate will then convene in Joint Session at 11:00 am to receive Governor Rick Scott’s State of the State Address.
- clarifies the definition of “parent,” the home education registration process and the home education notice requirements;
- authorizes school districts to provide a home education student access to career and technical courses and programs;
- authorizes districts to offer industry certifications, national assessments and statewide, standardized assessments to home education students;
- prohibits school superintendents from requiring evidence of a child’s age if the child meets regular attendance requirements by attending certain educational institutions or programs;
- authorizes school superintendents to refer student nonenrollment cases to a child study team in order to conduct intervention services;
- clarifies the court procedures and penalties for enforcement of compulsory school attendance;
- authorizes home education students to participate interscholastic and intrascholastic extracurricular activities at any public school in Florida provided they meet all other eligibility requirements;
- exempts a home education student from the grade point average requirement for admission to dual enrollment programs if the student meets the minimum score on a college placement test.
The House Appropriations Committee will meet, 4:30 – 6:30 pm, to consider the following item and others:
HJR 7001 – Supermajority Vote for State Taxes or Fees by Ways & Means
The joint resolution proposes an amendment to the state Constitution that would provide that no state tax or fee may be imposed, authorized, or raised by the legislature, or authorized by the legislature to be raised except through legislation approved by two-thirds of the membership of each house of the legislature. Any proposed state tax or fee imposition, authorization or increase must be contained in a separate bill that contains no other subject. The joint resolution also specifies that the proposed amendment does not authorize the imposition of any state tax or fee otherwise prohibited by the state Constitution, and does not apply to any tax or fee imposed by, or authorized to be imposed by, a county, municipality, school board, or special district.
We will report the outcome of these meetings in the next issue of the Session Spotlight.
We have created a new, separate Florida CRC page on the FSBA website to assist you in keeping track of the work of the Commission — please see the link to this page on the right hand side menu our home page. In addition to other materials, this page includes our CHART that provides information and links on 35 proposals that are of direct or tangential interest to school board members.
Several of the Constitution Revision Commission Committees will meet on Thursday and Friday this week, but neither the CRC Education Committee nor the CRC Local Government Committee are scheduled to meet and no education-related proposals are scheduled to be heard. However, a few proposals of tangential interest will be considered in other Committees.
The CRC Ethics and Elections Committee will meet Friday afternoon, 1:00 – 5:00 pm, to consider, among others:
Proposal 56 sponsored by Frank Kruppenbacher. The proposal amends Article VI, Section 7 of the Florida Constitution. The proposal would remove the requirement that a method of public financing for campaigns for statewide office be established by law and to prohibit the expenditure of any public funds on campaigns for state or local elections.
Proposal 62 sponsored by Bill Schifino. The proposal amends Article VI, Section 5 of the Florida Constitution. The proposal would authorize a qualified elector who is registered with no party affiliation to vote a primary election ballot of a political party.
The CRC General Provisions Committee will meet Friday morning, 8:30 am – 12:00 pm, to consider, among others:
Proposal 11 sponsored by Sherry Plymale. The proposal amends Article VI, Section 5 of the Florida Constitution. The proposal would authorize all qualified electors, regardless of party affiliation, to vote in a partisan primary election for an office if all the candidates for the office have the same party affiliation and the winner will be opposed only by one or more write-in candidates in the general election.
We will report on the outcome of these meetings after they have taken place. The next round of CRC Committee meetings is scheduled for January 18-19, 2018.