In the opening Sessions of the House and Senate both House Speaker Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardener outlined a joint 5-point work plan that included, among other things, improving the education system through increased funding and revised policies, particularly with regard to students with disabilities. The commitment to increase education funding aligns with the goal set forth by Governor Scott during his re-election campaign and reiterated in his State of the State Address in which he called for an increase in public education spending to the highest per-student level in state history. There was also mutual agreement among the Governor and legislative leaders to pursue significant tax cuts, but the details of where those cuts would be made and the total amount to be cut remain to be determined. It is also important to note that while Speaker Crisafulli stressed his desire to reform the Florida Retirement System, this is not included in the joint 5-point plan agreement with the Senate.
In the House Choice & Innovation Subcommittee:
HB 55 – Children and Youth Cabinet by Harrell — PASSED
Revises membership of Children and Youth Cabinet to include a superintendent of schools appointed by the Governor.
CIS1 – School Choice by Choice & Innovation – SUBMITTED AS A COMMITTEE BILL
The bill creates the Florida Institute for Charter School Innovation at the Florida State University; strengthens charter school accountability; expands student access to charter schools; revises charter school funding provisions; removes the statutory eligibility requirements for enrollment in public K-12 virtual education; revises criteria triggering automatic termination of a state-approved virtual provider’s contract; revises the criteria enabling a charter school system to serve as a LEA for purposes of administering federal education funds; etc. [NOTE: This was the first formal discussion of this proposed committee bill (PCB). As currently written, the bill contains several provisions that FSBA supports, but also contains a few provisions that give rise to concern. In its current form, the bill has an estimated fiscal impact of $5.7 million.]
In the House Higher Education & Workforce Subcommittee:
HB 35 – Resident Status for Tuition Purposes by Stark – PASSED WITH A COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE (CS)
Revises criteria relating to classification of active duty members of U.S. Armed Services, and spouses and dependent children, as residents for tuition purposes; classifies veterans, and spouses and dependent children, as residents for tuition purposes under certain circumstances.
In the House Local Government Affairs Subcommittee:
HB 113 – Local Government Construction Preferences by Perry – PASSED WITH A COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE (CS)
Prohibits local ordinances & regulations from restricting a certified contractor’s competition for award of contract for construction services based upon certain conditions; requires state college, school district, or other political subdivision to make specified disclosures in competitive solicitation documents; provides construction.
COMING UP TOMORROW
Wednesday promises to be a very busy day! A wide variety of bills will be considered, including several bills of particular interest. Please remember that nearly all legislative meetings may be viewed via live webcast or archived videos on the Florida Channel at http://thefloridachannel.org/.
The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee will meet (9:00-11:00 am) to consider the following items and others:
HB 99 – Juvenile Civil Citations by Clarke-Reed
Requires that law enforcement officer, upon making contact with juvenile who admits having committed misdemeanor, issue civil citation in certain circumstances.
HB 493 – Concealed Weapon / Evacuations by Fitzenhagen
Provides exemption from criminal penalties for carrying concealed weapon or concealed firearm when evacuating pursuant to mandatory evacuation order during declared state of emergency. [NOTE: The Senate companion bill — SB 290 by Brandes – will be considered later on Wednesday in the Senate Community Affairs Committee.]
The Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee will meet (10:00 am-12:00 pm) to consider:
SB 7028 – Educational Opportunities for Veterans by Military & Veterans Affairs
Revising criteria for eligibility for out-of-state fee waivers at state universities, Florida College System institutions, and specified career centers; removing a provision regarding the applicability of waivers to required credit hours for a student’s degree or certificate program, etc.
SB 642 – Individuals with Disabilities by Benacquisto
Creating the “Florida Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act”; requiring the Florida Prepaid College Board to establish a direct-support organization known as “Florida ABLE, Inc.”; authorizing the organization to use certain services, property, and facilities of the Florida Prepaid College Board; providing that specified moneys, assets, and income of a qualified ABLE program, including the Florida ABLE program, are not subject to attachment, levy, garnishment, or certain legal process in favor of certain creditors or claimants, etc. [NOTE: the Committee will also consider a linked bill by Senator Benacquisto — SB 644 — which creates the ABLE Program Trust Fund)
SB 152 – Disability Awareness by Ring
Requiring, rather than authorizing, each district school board to provide disability history and awareness instruction in all K-12 public schools beginning in a specified school year; requiring each public school to establish a disability history and awareness advisory council, etc.
SB 7030 – Postsecondary Education/Students With Disabilities by Higher Education
Creating the “Florida Postsecondary Comprehensive Transition Program Act”; establishing eligibility requirements for enrollment in the Florida Postsecondary Comprehensive Transition Program; establishing the Florida Center for Students with Unique Abilities; establishing a Florida Postsecondary Comprehensive Transition Program Scholarship for certain qualified students, etc.
SB 602 – Students With Disabilities by Gaetz
Revising scholarship application deadlines and guidelines; requiring authorized program funds to support the student’s educational needs; providing future repeal of provisions pertaining to an implementation schedule of notification and eligibility timelines; authorizing a prepaid college plan to be purchased, accounted for, used, and terminated under certain circumstances, etc.
The Committee will also discuss Digital Classroom Budget Requirements and conduct a Workshop on Education Budget Development and Related Issues.
The Senate General Government Appropriations Subcommittee will meet (10:00 am-12:00 pm) to consider the following items and others:
SB 258 – Property and Casualty Insurance by Brandes
Requiring the Office of Insurance Regulation to use certain models or methods, or a straight average of model results or output ranges, to estimate hurricane losses when determining whether the rates in a rate filing are excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory; increasing the length of time during which an insurer is not required to adhere to certain models found by the Commission on Hurricane Loss Projection Methodology to be accurate or reliable in determining probable maximum loss levels with respect to certain rate filings, etc.
SB 7024 – State Board of Administration by Governmental Oversight
Establishing conditions for the transfer of any residual balance in the Fund B Surplus Funds Trust Fund upon self-liquidation; requiring that additional income received after distribution of the residual balance be deposited in the Local Government Surplus Funds Trust Fund; repealing provisions relating to restrictions on investments in institutions doing business in or with Northern Ireland; etc.
The House Children, Families & Seniors Subcommittee will meet (12:30-3:30 pm) to consider the following items and others:
HB 935 – Individuals with Disabilities / Florida ABLE Program by R. Rodrigues
Creates “Florida Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act”; requires Florida Prepaid College Board to establish direct-support organization known as “Florida ABLE, Inc.”; authorizes organization to use certain services, property, & facilities of Florida Prepaid College Board; provides that specified moneys, assets, & income of qualified ABLE program, including Florida ABLE program, are not subject to attachment, levy, garnishment, or certain legal process in favor of certain creditors or claimants. [NOTE: The Subcommittee will also consider two linked bills by Representative Rodrigues — HB 937 which establishes the ABLE Trust Fund and HB 939 which creates a public records exemption for certain information relating to the ABLE Program]
The House Civil Justice Subcommittee will meet (12:30-3:30 pm) to consider the following items and others:
HB 365 – Skateboarding, Skating, or Bicycling by Gonzalez
Removes requirement that governmental entity that provides designated area for skateboarding, inline skating, or freestyle bicycling post rules indicating written consent of parent or legal guardian of child under certain age is required to participates; provides for application of specified provisions that limit liability of governmental entity. [NOTE: The Senate companion bill — SB 408 by Simmons — will be considered later on Wednesday in the Senate Community Affairs Committee.]
HB 583 – Single-Sex Public Facilities by Artiles
Requires that use of single-sex facilities be restricted to persons of sex for which facility is designated; prohibits knowingly & willfully entering single-sex public facility designated for or restricted to persons of other biological sex; provides exemptions; provides private cause of action against violators; provides for preemption.
HB 625 – Florida Civil Rights Act by B. Cortes
Prohibits discrimination on basis of pregnancy in specified establishments; prohibits employment discrimination on basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions; prohibits discrimination on basis of pregnancy by labor organizations, joint labor-management committees, employment agencies, or in licensing.
The Senate Community Affairs Committee will meet (1:00-3:00 pm) to consider the following items and others:
SB 136 – FRS / Public Officers & Employees by Hays
Specifying eligibility of a monthly death benefit payment to the surviving spouse, child, or joint annuitant of a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, correctional probation officer, or firefighter employed by a state agency; providing an annual appropriation; specifying applicability; authorizing political subdivisions to offer a monthly death benefit, etc.
SB 778 – Local Government Construction Preferences by Hays
Prohibiting local ordinances and regulations from restricting a certified contractor’s competition for award of a contract for construction services based upon certain conditions; requiring a state college, school district, or other political subdivision to make specified disclosures in competitive solicitation documents, etc.
SB 154 – Hazardous Walking Conditions by Hays
Revising criteria that determine a hazardous walking condition for public school students; requiring a district school board to correct hazardous walking conditions and provide transportation to students who would be subjected to hazardous walking conditions; requiring state or local governmental entities with jurisdiction over a road with a hazardous walking condition to correct the condition within a reasonable period of time, etc.
SB 408 – Skateboarding, Skating, or Bicycling by Simmons
Deleting the requirement that a governmental entity that provides a designated area for skateboarding, inline skating, or freestyle bicycling obtain the written consent of the parent or legal guardian of a child under a certain age before allowing the child to participate in these activities in such area; requiring the governmental entity to post a rule indicating that consent forms are required for children under a certain age before participation in paintball or mountain and off-road bicycling, etc.
SB 290 – Concealed Weapon / Evacuations by Brandes
Providing an exemption from criminal penalties for carrying a concealed weapon or a concealed firearm when evacuating pursuant to a mandatory evacuation order during a declared state of emergency, etc.
The Senate Governmental Oversight & Accountability Committee will meet (1:00-3:00 pm) to consider the following items and others:
SB 590 – All American Flag Act by Altman
Citing this act as the “All-American Flag Act”; requiring a United States flag or a state flag that is purchased on or after a specified date by the state, a county, or a municipality for public use to be made in the United States, etc.
SB 7038 – Employer Contributions / Retiree Benefits by Governmental Oversight
Revising the employer contribution rates for the retiree health insurance subsidy; revising the required employer retirement contribution rates for members of each membership class and subclass of the Florida Retirement System, etc.
The House Government Operations Subcommittee will meet (1:30-3:30 pm) to consider the following items and others:
HB 163 – Public Records/Contractors by Beshears
Defines term “acting on behalf of public agency”; revises definition of term “contractor”; requires that public agency contract for services include statement providing name & telephone number of public agency’s custodian of records; prescribes form of statement; revises contractual provisions in public agency contract for services regarding contractor’s compliance with public records laws; specifies circumstances under which court may assess & award reasonable costs of enforcement against public agency or contractor.
HB 527 – Public Works Projects by Van Zant
Prohibits state & political subdivisions that contract for construction, maintenance, repair, or improvement of public works from imposing certain conditions on certain contractors, subcontractors, or material suppliers or carriers; provides exception; prohibits state & political subdivisions from restricting qualified bidders from submitting bids, being awarded any bid or contract, or performing work on public works project.
HB 549 – Associations of Government Officials by M. Diaz
Requires associations of government officials to annually report certain information to Commission on Ethics; provides that membership dues & other funds received from state sources may not be used by certain organizations to fund litigation against state. [NOTE: A Proposed Committee Substitute (PCS) has been filed for consideration at the meeting. FSBA has significant concerns about the intent of this bill which appear to conflict with home rule authority of local governments.]
The House K-12 Subcommittee will meet (1:30-3:30 pm) to consider:
HB 143 – American Founders’ Month by Bileca
Designates September as “American Founders’ Month”; authorizes Governor to annually designate month; requires district school boards to celebrate American Founders by observing American Founders’ Month; provides that instruction may be integrated into existing school curriculum.
HB 291 – Involuntary Examinations of Minors by Harrell
Provides requirements for notification of involuntary examination of minors by public schools, charter schools, & receiving facilities.
HB 477 – Background Screening by Sprowls
Revises requirement relating to background screening of instructional personnel in virtual instruction programs; provides additional offenses that determine ineligibility for educator certification or employment; revises requirements for submission, retention, search, and reporting of fingerprints of educational personnel and contractual personnel; provides for FDLE participation in national retained print arrest notification program.
KTS2 – Standard Student Attire by K-12
Creates the “Students Attired for Education (SAFE) Act” and enumerates the benefits of a standard student attire policy; encourages district school boards to enact a policy requiring standard student attire in at least kindergarten through eighth grade; provides immunity from civil liability based upon adoption of such a policy; provides additional funds to school boards that enact a standard student attire policy. [NOTE: The bill allocates a total of $10,000 to provide up to $10 per student in K-8 in qualifying districts.]
KTS3 – School Administration by K-12
Updates and streamlines provisions relating to compulsory attendance and enforcement for both public and private schools; revises requirements related to early warning systems (EWS) for middle schools; revises incident and bullying reporting requirements; provides for professional development on suicide prevention; promotes transparency and strengthens ethical requirements for local school officials; etc.
HB 357 – Charter School District Pilot Program by M. Diaz
Creates Charter School District Pilot Program; provides requirements for participation, exemptions, professional development, rulemaking, & reporting; provides authorization period of charter; provides for renewal or revocation of charter; requires district school boards participating in pilot program to provide certain funding allocations; provides additional authority & responsibilities to school principals; specifies contents of professional development program. [NOTE: A Proposed Committee Substitute (PCS) has been filed for consideration by the Subcommittee. The PCS renames the bill the Principal Autonomy Pilot Program Initiative and removes or revises several provisions that raised concerns.]
The Senate Education PreK-12 Committee will meet (3:30-5:30 pm) to consider:
SB 346 – School Bus Stop Safety by Simmons
Citing this act as the “Gabby’s Law for School Bus Stop Safety”; revising penalties for failure to stop a vehicle upon approaching a school bus that displays a stop signal; providing for criminal penalties under certain circumstances; amending provisions relating to application of specified provisions, disposition of penalty amounts received, and trauma payments, etc.
SB 616 – Education Accountability by Legg
Revising requirements for the administration of local assessments; revising the percentage thresholds for performance evaluation criteria for instructional personnel and school administrators; authorizing a school district to request approval from the state board to use student performance results on new statewide assessments for diagnostic and baseline purposes, etc. [NOTE: A Proposed Committee Substitute (PCS) has been filed for consideration by the Committee. The recent issues that have arisen from the first administration of the FSA are likely to enter into the discussion of this bill and the PCS.]
SB 688 – Opening and Closing of Public Schools by Montford
Revising a requirement for the uniform opening date of public schools to allow an opening date of up to 21 days before Labor Day; providing that academically high-performing school districts must comply with provisions relating to the uniform opening date of public schools, etc. [NOTE: FSBA strongly supports this, and similar, bills that would allow districts more flexibility regarding the school calendar in order to foster and promote student achievement.]
SB 818 – Maximum Class Size by Garcia
Requiring the calculation of a school district’s class size categorical allocation reduction at the school average when maximum class size requirements are not met; revising the calculation, etc. [NOTE: FSBA supports this bill.]
Ruth Haseman Melton
Director of Government Relations
Florida School Boards Association
Office: 850 / 414-2578
Cell: 850 / 509-6411