The Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) held its initial meeting today. The meeting was mostly organizational in nature — members took the Oath of Office, received ethics training, and were given a quick overview of the suggested revised Rules under which the Commission will operate. In addition, CRC Chair Carlos Beruff announced the schedule for the first three public hearings the CRC will hold to get input from the public: March 29 in Orange County, April 6 in Miami-Dade County, and April 7 in Palm Beach County. Times and locations for these meetings and for future hearings will be announced soon. FSBA will continue to monitor the work of this important Commission and keep you informed of its progress. In the meantime, please visit our Legal News page and click on the link titled “Constitution Revision Commission” for more information about the CRC.
There were several bills of interest under consideration today — you can access the details of those bills and meetings by clicking on the link titled “Today’s Happenings” – but we also urge you to review the schedule for tomorrow, which promises to be a very full day of legislative activity, including consideration of bills relating to religious expression, federal immigration enforcement, and shared use of school facilities. Of particular interest, the Senate Education Committee is scheduled to meet at 4:00 p.m. In addition to other business, the Committee will hold a workshop to discuss several bills proposing changes to Florida’s assessment system. Many of these bills propose revisions that FSBA members strongly support, including one stand-alone bill — SB 1280 – that is directly aligned with the FSBA Legislative Platform priority regarding third grade retention. We encourage you to contact the members of the Senate Education Committee during the day on Tuesday to express your support or concerns about these bills – please click HERE to access a list of Committee members and email addresses.
In the House K-12 Quality Subcommittee meeting:
HB 525 – High School Graduation Requirements by Silvers – AMENDED AND PASSED WITH A COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE (CS)
The bill expands current law by permitting a student to use credit earned upon completion of a DOE-registered apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship program to satisfy certain credit requirements relating to courses in fine or performing arts, speech and debate, or practical arts, and in electives. The bill directs the State Board of Education to approve and identify in the Course Code Directory the apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs from which a student may use earned credit to satisfy such course credit requirements.
HB 549 – Student Assessments by Fine – AMENDED AND PASSED WITH A CS
The bill provides that, beginning with the 2019-2020 school year and every 3 years thereafter, the Department of Education must publish on the department’s website specified state assessments to include, at a minimum, the grade 3 ELA and mathematics assessments, the grade 10 ELA assessment, and the Algebra I EOC assessment. The bill requires the department to provide materials on its website to help the public interpret assessment information. [NOTE: The Subcommittee took up and passed a strike all amendment for the bill and this short summary reflects the content of the amendment. The original version of the bill called for ALL state assessments and some national assessments to be published – this amendment calls for only a portion of the assessments to be published and also delays the date of initial publication. During discussion and testimony, concerns were raised about the cost of publication (which, among other things, would require new assessments to be developed) which is estimated to be in excess of $5 million for each year that the four listed assessments are published.]
In the House Civil Justice & Claims Subcommittee meeting:
HB 163 – Public Records by Burgess – AMENDED AND PASSED WITH A CS
The bill provides that a court must assess and award the reasonable costs of enforcement in public records cases, including reasonable attorney fees, against the responsible agency only if it determines that the agency unlawfully refused to permit the public record to be inspected or copied and the complainant provided written notice identifying the public record request to the agency’s custodian of public records at least 5 days before filing the civil action, with some exceptions. A court may not assess and award any reasonable costs of enforcement, including reasonable attorney fees, against the agency if the court determines that the request to inspect or copy the public record was made for an improper purpose. If the court determines the request was made for an improper purpose, it is allowed to award reasonable costs and attorney fees to the agency. [NOTE: The Subcommittee took up and passed a Proposed Committee Substitute (PCS) and the short summary above reflects the content of the PCS. The bill has the support of the First Amendment Foundation, ACLU, local governments, state attorneys, and other entities as an effort to curb abuses of Florida Public Records law.]
In the House Oversight, Transparency, & Administration Subcommittee meeting:
HB 1163 – Agency Rulemaking by Spano — PASSED
The bill requires an agency to prepare a Statement of Estimated Regulatory Costs (SERC) before the adoption, amendment, or repeal of any rule other than an emergency rule. The bill requires the Department of State to maintain a website open to the public upon which SERCs are to be published and agencies are required to provide all SERCs, and any subsequent revisions, for publication on the website.
HB 1289 – Local Financial Emergencies by Raulerson — PASSED
The bill expands the entities that have oversight over local governmental entities, charter schools, charter technical career centers, and district school boards for financial emergencies to provide that these local governmental entities are subject to review and oversight by the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the Legislative Auditing Committee. Upon notification of such an emergency, the Governor, in cooperation with the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Legislative Auditing Committee must contact the local governmental entity or the Commissioner of Education to determine what actions have been taken by the local governmental entity or district school board to resolve or prevent the condition and determine whether the local governmental entity or district school board needs state assistance. The bill also revises the financial emergency boards to specify who can appoint members and to establish member qualifications. The bill revises the duties of the board and authorizes the board to assume operational and institutional control over a local governmental entity’s or district school board’s functions under certain circumstances. [NOTE: While this bill is directed primarily toward addressing financial difficulties in municipalities which have fewer oversight provisions in law than other local government entities, it also would apply to school districts. The intent of the bill is to strengthen the role and authority of financial emergency boards to ensure, among other things, that financial emergency board members have certain qualifications that will allow them to offer specific expertise in resolving local government financial difficulties and to ensure that a broader group of state level leaders are incorporated into the review and oversight process.]
In the House Postsecondary Education Subcommittee meeting:
HB 3 – Higher Education by Avila – AMENDED AND PASSED WITH A CS
Cites act as “Florida Excellence in Higher Education Act of 2017”; revises requirements for performance-based metrics used to award Florida College System institutions with performance-based incentives; revises Distinguished Florida College System Institution Program excellence standards requirements; requires Florida Community College System institution to execute at least one “2+2” Targeted Pathway articulation agreement by specified time; etc. [NOTE: This bill is the House version of Senate President Joe Negron’s postsecondary enhancement package – SB 2. There are some areas where HB 3 differs from the Senate companion. In particular, the HB 3 would expand Bright Futures scholarships to cover, at least in part, the summer semester to all scholarship recipients while SB 2 would offer it only to academic scholars. In addition, while the Senate bill would adhere to a strict degree completion schedule (4 years) as a performance measure, the House would allow more time.]
HB 845 – Direct Support Organization / Florida Prepaid Tuition Scholarship by Mariano — PASSED
The bill extends the repeal date of direct-support organization for Florida Prepaid Tuition Scholarship Program.
HB 1139 – Minority Teacher Education Scholars by Davis — PASSED
The bill revises the eligibility requirements for the scholarship program by removing a requirement that students enrolled in an approved teacher education program must be in their junior year to be eligible for the award, and requires that the student may not have earned more than 18 credit hours of upper-division education courses. The bill also allows students to use the scholarship to pursue a graduate degree with a major in education.
In the House PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee meeting:
HB 591 – Maximum Class Size by Massullo — PASSED
The bill removes the exemptions for class size requirements and maintains class size compliance for each classroom but revises the method for calculating the penalty to be at the school average for any school that fails to comply with class size requirements. The bill repeals an increase in the penalty for failure to comply with the class size requirements and provides that a district may not have its class size categorical allocation reduced for the 2017-18 or 2018-19 fiscal years if it meets certain requirements.
HB 781 – Designation of School Grades by Porter — PASSED
Under current law, a school that serves any combination of K-3 students, that does not receive a school grade as a result of its students not being tested and included in the school grading system, receives the school grade of a K-3 feeder pattern school if at least 60% of the students are assigned to the graded school. The bill revises the number of students required to establish a school feeder pattern from 60% to a majority.
HB 827 – Teacher Bonuses by Porter PASSED
Under current law, individual teachers of IB, AICE, AP, and CAPE courses are awarded bonuses – capped at either $2,000 or $3,000 per year — from portions of the additional funds for students who achieve specific result in the course. The bill removes the annual teacher bonus limits for these courses.
Please note that the meetings listed below may be viewed via live webcast or archived videos on the Florida Channel. Also, for real-time updates on these meetings and other legislative activities, please click HERE to access our Twitter feed.
The House Careers & Competition Subcommittee will meet (8:00-11:00 am; 212 KOB) to consider the following item and others:
HB 1021 – Construction by Avila
Defines “recognized certifying entity”; provides applicability of certain standards & criteria for solar energy systems manufactured or sold in state; provides for solar energy systems to be certified pursuant to certain standards; requires DBPR to provide certain funds allocated to University of Florida School of Construction Management for specified purposes; prohibits local enforcement agencies from charging certain fees; requires Florida Building Commission to amend certain provisions of Florida Building Code; prohibits county, municipality, special taxing district, public utility, or private utility from requiring separate water connection or charging specified water or sewage rate under certain conditions; prohibits local government from requiring permit for painting residence; requires DOE in conjunction with DEO to create study for specified purposes; requires CareerSource Florida, Inc. to fund certain construction training programs; provides program requirements.
The House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee will meet (8:00-11:00 am; 404 HOB) to consider the following item and others:
HB 749 – Adoption Benefits by Combee
Revises definition of term “qualifying adoptive employee” to include employees of charter schools & Florida Virtual School for purpose of extending state employee adoption benefits to such employees; provides for retroactive application; requires such employees to apply to their school directors to obtain monetary benefits; requires CFO to transfer funds for such purpose.
The House PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee will meet (8:00-11:00 am; 306 HOB) to consider the following items:
HB 655 — Exceptional Student Instruction by Porter
The bill removes one of the options currently available to a school district receiving an exceptional student with a disability who resides in a residential facility so that the school district can no longer decline to provide or contract for educational instruction for the student.
HB 757 — Voluntary Prekindergarten Education by Donalds
The bill requires the Just Read, Florida! Office to train Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) through grade 3 personnel on effective research-based reading instructional strategies and interventions; requires each Early Learning Coalition to coordinate with the Florida’s Office of Early Learning (OEL) to assign student identification numbers to each VPK student; requires each public and private school in the VPK program to provide parents the results of the evidence based pre- and post-assessments within 10 days after administration of each assessment; requires statewide kindergarten screening to emphasize and directly assess early literacy and numeracy skills; authorizes a child that is at risk of not attaining the VPK performance standards to reenroll in one of the school-year programs for the subsequent year at the request of the child’s parent; and changes the date the DOE must report its findings on district implementation of reading plans from February 1, to December 1, and clarifies that the report must include findings from the previous school year. The bill appropriates $10 million to the DOE for development and training of VPK through grade 3 teachers, reading coaches and school principals on research-based reading instructional strategies and interventions.
HB 1131 — Shared Use of Public School Playground Facilities by Drake
The bill requires the Department of Education (DOE) to provide technical assistance to school districts to promote community use of shared facilities and provides funding to the DOE to provide short-term grants to districts, establish guidelines for funding eligibility for the grants and develop a grant application process. The bill creates a Shared Use Task Force to identify barriers in creating shared use agreements and to make recommendations to facilitate the shared use of school facilities generally and in high-need communities.
HB 1391 – Education/Home Education by Eisnaugle
- Requires a parent’s notice of intent to provide home education to their child(ren) include the student’s full legal name and provides that the notice is prima facie evidence of the validity of the provided information;
- Authorizes school districts to provide a home education student access to career and technical courses and programs;
- Authorizes school districts to offer industry certifications, national assessments and statewide, standardized assessments to a home education student;
- Reimburses dual enrollment instructional materials expenses to a home education program student;
- Prohibits a district school superintendent from requiring evidence of a child’s age if the child meets regular attendance requirements by attending certain educational institutions or programs;
- Limits the documentation a school district can require from a home education student;
- Exempts a home education program student from the grade point average requirement for admission to a dual enrollment program if the student meets the minimum score on a college placement test;
- Exempts dual enrollment students from paying postsecondary institution technology fees and explicitly exempts public school, private school or home education dual enrollment students from payment of registration, tuition, technology and laboratory fees; and
- Clarifies that private school and a home education program students are not required to reimburse tuition for dual enrollment.
- Provides an appropriation of $1 million of recurring general revenue for the 2017-2018 fiscal year to be disbursed by a nonprofit Scholarship Funding Organization to provide reimbursement of up to $80 per course for dual enrollment instruction materials expenditures made by home education students.
The House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee will meet (8:00-11:00 am; 102 HOB) to consider the following item and others:
HB 1239 – School Bus Safety by Eagle
The bill creates the Cameron Mayhew Act, providing that in addition to any other civil, criminal, or administrative penalty, a person who fails to stop for a school bus causing or resulting in the serious bodily injury or death of another person is required to serve 120 hours of community service in a trauma center or hospital and participate in a victim’s impact panel session in a judicial circuit or attend a DHSMV-approved driver improvement course relating to the rights of vulnerable road users relative vehicles on the roadway. A fine of $1,500 and a one-year driver license suspension also would apply in these circumstances. In addition, the bill provides that additional points are added to a driver license record for passing a stopped school bus.
HB 1427 – School Bus Safety by J. Cortes
The bill reclassifies passing a stopped school bus on the side the children enter and exit the bus as reckless driving, which is either a misdemeanor in the first degree or a felony in the third degree, depending upon the circumstances.
The Senate will be in Session (11:00 am-1:00 pm; Senate Chamber) to consider the following item and others on the Special Order Calendar (2nd Reading):
SB 436 – Religious Expression in Public Schools by Baxley
The bill creates the “Florida Student and School Personnel Religious Liberties Act”. The bill requires that students’ work be graded according to the expected academic standards, without regard for any religious content. The bill provides that, if students in a given school setting are permitted to wear clothing, jewelry, or accessories that display a secular message or symbol, then students may also wear items displaying religious messages or symbols. In addition, the bill authorizes students to express themselves in a religious manner, and to engage in and organize religious activities to the same extent as secular expressions and activities are permitted. The bill also provides that school districts may not discriminate against their employees on religious grounds and school personnel may not be barred from joining in certain types of student-initiated religious activities. Such activities must be on school grounds, occur at reasonable times before or after school, be voluntary, and not conflict with the duties of the employee joining the student-initiated activity. The bill requires school districts to allow religious groups to have access to the same facilities for assembly that it permits such access to secular groups. School districts are required to adopt a policy establishing a “limited public forum” for student speakers at certain school events. This policy must include certain elements and must include or be comprised entirely of the model limited public forum policy developed and published by the Florida Department of Education.
The House Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee will meet (12:30-3:30 pm; 12 HOB) to consider the following item and others:
HB 697 – Federal Immigration Enforcement by Metz
Designates act “Rule of Law Adherence Act”; prohibits sanctuary policies; requires state & local governmental agencies to comply with & support enforcement of federal immigration law; provides requirements concerning immigration detainers & certain arrested persons; Prohibits restrictions on transfer of certain information related to enforcement of immigration law; authorizes law enforcement agency to transport unauthorized alien; authorizes ordinances for recovery immigration detainer costs; provides whistle-blower protections for certain officials; requires AG to prescribe format for complaints; provides injunctive relief & civil penalties; prohibiting the expenditure of public funds for specified purposes; provides cause of action for personal injury or wrongful death attributed to sanctuary policy; prohibits discrimination on specified grounds; provides for implementation; requires repeal of existing sanctuary policies.
The Senate Agriculture Committee will meet (4:00-6:00 pm; 301 SOB) to consider the following item and others:
SB 1692 – School Garden Programs by Torres
The bill requires the Department of Education, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, to annually provide information to each school district related to establishing a school garden program at schools within the district. A school that establishes a school garden program may select one day a week to allow students who qualify for free or reduced-price school lunch to select and receive produce from the garden under procedures established by the school district. A school that establishes a school garden program is exempt from any portion of statute or rule that prohibits a student from receiving and consuming produce grown through the school garden program.
The Senate Children, Families, & Elder Affairs Committee will meet (4:00-6:00 pm; 401 SOB) to consider the following item and others:
SB 286 – Human Traffic Education In Schools by Steube
The bill revises the required health education in public schools to include information regarding the dangers and signs of human trafficking. The bill provides elements that must be included in the instruction and provides that a student may elect to opt out of the instruction of this portion of the health education by providing the school with a written note from his or her parent.
The Senate Education Committee will meet (4:00-6:00 pm; 412 KOB) to consider the following items and others:
SB 642 by Garcia – Public Educational Facilities
The bill provides that, for purposes of determining the capacity of school facilities, a school containing students in kindergarten through grade 5 is considered an elementary school and a school containing students in grades 6 through 8 is considered a middle school. The bill provides that, upon request by a district school board, the commissioner shall grant an exemption from the State Requirements for Educational Facilities (SREF). The district school board must provide a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis along with its request for an exemption from the SREF. Any district school board that is granted such exemption must continue to comply with applicable provisions of the Florida Building Code and the Florida Fire Prevention Code.
SB 772 by Rouson – Assistive Technology Devices
The bill revises provisions relating to the accessibility and use of assistive technology devices by persons with disabilities.
SB 780 by Stargel – Adoption Benefits
The bill revises the definition of the term “state agency” to include charter schools and the Florida Virtual School for the purpose of extending adoption benefits to qualifying adoptive employees of such schools.
SB 808 by Mayfield – Maximum Class Size
The bill revises the method for calculating the penalty to be at the school average for any school that fails to comply with class size requirements. The bill repeals an increase in the penalty for failure to comply with the class size requirements and provides that a district may not have its class size categorical allocation reduced for the 2017-18 or 2018-19 fiscal years if it meets certain requirements.
SB 890 by Bean – Review of the Florida Endowment for Vocational Rehabilitation
The bill repeals statutes that provide for future review and repeal of provisions governing the Florida Endowment for Vocational Rehabilitation, abrogating the scheduled repeal.
SB 896 by Simmons – Direct-support Organization for the Florida Prepaid Tuition Scholarship Program
The bill amends statutes to extend, from 2017 to 2022, the repeal date of the direct-support organization for the Florida Prepaid Tuition Scholarship Program.
SB 1252 by Galvano – Education
The bill deletes obsolete provisions relating to a requirement that the Department of Education have an operating electronic individual education plan system in place for potential statewide use, revises the membership of the Higher Education Coordinating Council, and revises the date by which the Board of Governors of the State University System must annually submit an accountability report.
SB 1458 by Simmons – Direct-support Organizations
The bill abrogates the scheduled repeal of provisions relating to the blind services direct-support organization and the Florida Endowment for Vocational Rehabilitation.
In addition to consideration of the bills listed above, the Committee will hold a Workshop that will include a presentation by the DOE on Education Accountability and discussion and testimony on the following bills relating to assessment and accountability (no vote to be taken):
SB 584 by Montford – Alternative High School Graduation Requirements
Authorizing certain students to be eligible for an alternative pathway to a standard high school diploma; requiring a school district to establish an Alternative Pathway to Graduation Review Committee for certain students; requiring each district school board to ensure certain instruction, to waive certain assessment results, and to administer a hard copy of the grade 10 ELA assessment or the statewide, standardized Algebra I EOC assessment for certain students, etc.
SB 782 by Mayfield – High School Graduation Requirements
Removing a requirement that a student participating in an interscholastic sport pass a competency test on personal fitness to satisfy the physical education credit requirement for high school graduation, etc.
SB 906 by Steube – Student Assessments
Requiring that the Commissioner of Education periodically publish on the Department of Education’s website any assessment administered or adopted during the previous school year, etc.
SB 926 by Flores – K-12 Student Assessments
Requiring the Commissioner of Education to review specified college entrance examinations to determine their alignment with the core curricular content for high school level English Language Arts and mathematics established in state standards; revising provisions relating to achievement levels for certain statewide, standardized assessments; providing requirements for administration of the statewide, standardized English Language Arts and mathematics assessments in specified grades, etc.
SB 964 by Montford – Education Accountability
Requiring an application and charter for a high school charter school to require the administration of a specified assessment for graduation purposes; revising the requirements for a standard high school diploma; revising the grades in which the statewide, standardized Reading assessment must be administered; providing responsibilities of the commissioner to select and approve a nationally recognized high school assessment to administer in lieu of the Florida Standards Assessment, etc.
SB 1222 by Bradley – School Grades
Providing that a school exhibits a feeder pattern for the purpose of designating school grades if at least a majority of its students are scheduled to be assigned to the graded school, etc.
SB 1280 by Rodriguez – Mandatory Retention
Removing the requirement for mandatory retention of a third grade student based on his or her performance on the English Language Arts assessment, etc.