With HIV cases climbing, Florida Democrats push for responsible sex education in public schools

With Florida leading the nation in new HIV infections, Democratic lawmakers say now more than ever the Legislature should do away with what’s commonly referred to as “abstinence-only” sex education in the state’s 4,300 public schools. Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Cutler Bay, and Rep. Reggie Fullwood, D-Jacksonville, are the leading sponsors of what they’ve dubbed the “Florida Healthy Adolescence Act” (SB…

Statewide poll by advocacy group shows support for charter schools in Florida

A new statewide poll commissioned by the Florida Charter School Alliance finds significant support for charter schools — including support for a statewide authorizer, one of the alliance’s top legislative priorities this year that school districts fear would take away local authority over public education. The Herald/Times was given a copy of the poll results ahead of their…

House’s $1 billion tax cut plan similar but not Gov. Rick Scott’s; Speaker says still ‘long way to go’

The Florida House unveiled a$1 billion tax-cut packageWednesday — similar in size to what Gov. Rick Scott wants, but a lot less permanent. The House steers clear of the centerpiece of the Republican governor’s plan — a $770 million reduction in the corporate income tax paid by manufacturers and retailers. Instead, House Finance and Tax Chairman Matt…

FSBA Daily Update: Legislative Session 01-28-2016

TODAY’S HAPPENINGS [NOTE:  The bills listed below are linked to the each bill’s website where you can find information about the bill including the bill sponsor, committees of reference, and staff analysis.  The committees/subcommittees are linked to each committee’s website where you can find information about the committee including the committee’s membership and staff, the committee’s meeting…

Allowing alternatives to statewide standardized test gets praise from Florida Senate committee but faces obstacles in House

A plan to let Florida school districts and parents choose alternative tests in lieu of the controversial statewide assessments cleared its first Senate committee on Wednesday with strong bipartisan support. But the state’s top education official has voiced resistance to the idea, its chances appear bleak at getting heard in the Florida House and critics who oppose Common Core standards and high-stakes…

Gaetz rolls out $20.3B education budget proposal

TALLAHASSEE — Florida’s public schools would get a $650.6 million increase in 2016-17, about a 3 percent bump over the current state budget, under a proposal state Sen. Don Gaetz released Tuesday. A former Senate president who chairs the chamber’s education appropriations subcommittee, Gaetz called his $20.3 billion proposal “historic” and “hefty.” The proposal would…

Term limits legislation advances in Senate

A proposal that would extend term limits for state legislators to 12 years easily passed its first Senate committee Tuesday, but even the sponsor of the constitutional amendment says the measure faces an uphill fight to become law. The Senate Ethics and Elections Committee, on a 6-2 vote, passed the legislation (SJR 902), which would add four…

Florida Legislature seeks again to limit school boards association

A controversial proposal aimed at curtailing lawsuits against the state by the Florida School Boards Association is back for the 2016 session and is starting to move through both chambers of the Florida Legislature. House Bill 1155/Senate Bill 1426 prohibit membership groups — namely, the FSBA — from using public dollars to sue the state, a move that critics argue…

Diverting resources from public schools

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is trying to sell the country on the same flawed education policies causing turmoil in our state. Bush unveiled an education plan Monday as part of his presidential campaign. It echoes the policies he supported as governor, such as increasing the number of charter schools. Last week, Florida teachers rallied…