In the House Judiciary Committee:
HB 19 – School Safety by Steube — PASSED
Permits school superintendent, with approval of the school board, to authorize school safety designee to carry concealed weapon or firearm on school property; provides requirements for school safety designees; provides exception to prohibition on possession of firearms or other specified devices on school property or other specified areas; provides for fingerprint processing & retention; requires that fees be borne by school safety designee or school; requires school boards to formulate policies & procedures for dealing with active shooters & hostage situations in consultation with law enforcement; requires district school boards & private schools allow campus tours by local law enforcement agencies for specified purposes & that their recommendations be documented; permits district school boards to commission one or more school safety officers on each school campus. [NOTE: FSBA has grave concerns about the potential tragedies and other unintended consequences that might ensue if the provisions of this bill were implemented. However, the bill places complete control in the hands of the school board and superintendent to determine if each district wishes to pursue this measure.]
HB 4005 – Licenses to Carry Concealed Weapons by Steube — PASSED
Deletes provision prohibiting concealed carry licensees from openly carrying handgun or carrying concealed weapon or firearm into college or university facility.
In the Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee:
SB 118 – Voluntary Contributions for Education Facilities by Hays – AMENDED AND PASSED WITH A COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE (CS)
Authorizing a participating business that registers with the Department of Revenue to solicit and collect contributions from its customers for the construction and maintenance of public education facilities; providing registration requirements; requiring a participating business to file a return and remit contributions to the department within a specified timeframe; including voluntary contributions as a source of funding for the Public Education Capital Outlay and Debt Service Trust Fund, etc.
SB 518 – Voluntary Prekindergarten Program by Gibson — PASSED
Revising provisions relating to calculation of the kindergarten readiness rate for Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program providers and schools; requiring the administration of a preassessment and postassessment to students based upon adopted performance standards, etc.
SB 530 – Bullying and Harassment Policies in Schools by Ring — PASSED
Requiring school districts to revise their bullying and harassment policies at specified intervals; specifying that a school district policy require a school to implement the policy in a certain manner and integrate it with the school’s bullying prevention and intervention program, etc.
SB 574 – Electronic Auction Services by Montford — PASSED
Revising the powers and duties of the district school board to authorize the adoption of rules regarding procurement practices; authorizing a district school board’s use of electronic auction services in conjunction with bid pooling for school buses and related purchases, etc.
SB 622 – Higher Educational Facilities Financing by Montford — PASSED
Expanding the definition of the term “project” as it relates to the Higher Educational Facilities Financing Act, etc.
SB 874 – Dual Enrollment Program by Stargel — PASSED
Exempting dual enrollment students from paying certain fees, including technology fees; deleting the requirement that a home education secondary student be responsible for his or her own instructional materials in order to participate in the dual enrollment program; authorizing certain instructional materials to be made available free of charge to dual enrollment students in public high schools, home education programs, and private schools, etc.
SB 880 – Student Loan Default Rates by Ring — PASSED
Requiring certain institutions to maintain a federal student loan cohort default rate below a specified percentage; revising the minimum standards the Commission for Independent Education must use to evaluate an institution for licensure to include the institution’s federal student loan cohort default rate; revising the minimum criteria for an independent postsecondary educational institution to apply for a license by accreditation to include a maximum percentage for the institution’s federal student loan cohort default rate, etc.
SB 954 – Involuntary Examinations of Minors by Garcia — PASSED
Requiring school health services plans to include notification requirements when a student is removed from school, school transportation, or a school-sponsored activity for involuntary examination; requiring a receiving facility to provide notice of the whereabouts of an adult or emancipated minor patient held for involuntary examination; providing conditions for delay in notification, etc.
SB 1020 – Student Transportation Funding by Simmons — PASSED
Revising the membership of students that a school district reports for transportation funding purposes; revising the school transportation allocation formula used by each school district; revising the types of students eligible for transportation funds used for transportation to and from school in private passenger cars and boats, etc.
SB 1116 – Literacy Jump Start Pilot Project by Abruzzo — PASSED
Requiring the Office of Early Learning to establish the pilot project in St. Lucie County to assist low-income, at-risk children in developing emergent literacy skills; requiring the office to select an organization to implement the pilot project; encouraging the coordination of basic health screening and immunization services in conjunction with emergent literacy instruction, etc.
SB 1262 – Education by Legg — PASSED
Requiring the Department of Education to have an operating electronic IEP system in place for statewide use; authorizing the Commissioner of Education to issue a letter of guidance in response to a complaint against a teacher or administrator in lieu of a probable cause determination, etc.
SB 1264 – Digital Classrooms by Legg – TEMPORARILY POSTPONED
Establishing requirements for digital classrooms technology infrastructure planning by the Agency for State Technology or a contracted organization; requiring the Office of Technology and Information Services of the Department of Education to consult with the Agency for State Technology in developing the 5-year strategic plan for Florida digital classrooms; specifying conditions for a school district to maintain eligibility for Florida digital classrooms allocation funds, etc.
SB 1552 – Parent and Student Rights by Benacquisto – AMENDED AND PASSED WITH A CS
Providing the right of a parent to know the average amount of money expended for the education of his or her child; deleting the definition of and provisions relating to controlled open enrollment; requiring each school district to instead establish a public school parental choice policy that allows students to attend any public school that has not reached capacity in their district; requiring each school district board to establish a classroom teacher transfer process for parents, approve or deny a request within a certain timeframe, and post an explanation of the transfer process in the student handbook, etc. [NOTE: The bill was amended with a “strike all” amendment and was then further amended. Among other changes, the revised version of SB 1558 provides that potential transfers through the parental choice will be handled via a lottery system, rather than on a first-come-first-served basis. In addition, the provision that would have allowed out-of-state charter management companies to open “high performing” charter schools in Florida was removed. The bill was improved by these changes, but still contains several troubling provisions.]
SB 7046 – Education by Education PreK-12 — PASSED
Requiring a state research university to enter into and maintain a formal agreement with a specified organization to offer college-sponsored merit scholarship awards as a condition of designation as a preeminent state research university; authorizing a low-performing elementary school to administer the required additional hours of instruction in a summer program; revising the types and amounts of bonuses that a teacher may receive in any given school year, etc.
SB 7050 – Digital Classrooms by Governmental Oversight – TEMPORARILY POSTPONED
Requiring the Agency for State Technology to establish and publish information technology architecture standards for purposes of implementing digital classrooms by a specified date; requiring the agency’s annual assessment of the Department of Education to review specified issues with respect to school district digital classrooms plans and to provide planning assistance to address and reduce issues identified by the assessment, etc.
In the House SESSION:
Bills on 3rd Reading:
HB 5001 – 2015-2016 Appropriations by Appropriations – LAID ON THE TABLE
Provides moneys for annual period beginning July 1, 2015, & ending June 30, 2016, & supplemental appropriations for period ending June 30, 2015, to pay salaries & other expenses, capital outlay—buildings & other improvements, & for other specified purposes of various agencies of state government. [NOTE: The House took up SB 2500 which had passed the Senate. The House amended SB 2500 by stripping out the Senate budget and replacing it with the House budget. SB 2500 is now in Returning Messages to the Senate with agreement to establish a Conference Committee to resolve differences between the two bills.]
HB 5003 – 2015-2016 Appropriations Implementing Bill by Appropriations – LAID ON THE TABLE
Implementing the 2015-2016 General Appropriations Act: Implements specific appropriations of the General Appropriations Act for the 2015-2016 fiscal year. [NOTE: The House took up SB 2502 which had passed the Senate. The House amended SB 2502 by stripping out the Senate Implementing Bill language and replacing it with the House Implementing Bill language. SB 2502 is now in Returning Messages to the Senate with agreement to establish a Conference Committee to resolve differences between the two bills]
HB 5005 – FRS / Employer Contributions by Appropriations – LAID ON THE TABLE
Increases employer contribution to retiree health insurance subsidy for members of state-administered plan; increases employer contribution to health insurance subsidy for members of Elected Officers’ Class; increases employer contribution to health insurance subsidy for members of Senior Management Service Class; increases employer contribution to health insurance subsidy for members of Regular, Special Risk, & Special Risk Administrative Support Classes; revises amount of employer contributions to FRS for 2015-2016 fiscal year; provides findings of important state interest. [NOTE: The House took up SB 7038 which had passed the Senate. The House amended SB 7038 by stripping out the Senate FRS Contribution Rate Bill and replacing it with the House FRS Contribution Rate Bill. SB 7038 is now in Returning Messages to the Senate with agreement to establish a Conference Committee to resolve differences between the two bills.]
In the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee:
SB 960 – Bright Futures Scholarship Program by T. Lee – AMENDED AND PASSED WITH A CS
Requiring a student, as a prerequisite for the Florida Academic Scholars award, the Florida Medallion Scholars award, or the Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholars award, to identify a social or civic issue or a professional area of interest and develop a plan for his or her personal involvement in addressing the issue or learning about the area; prohibiting the student from receiving remuneration or academic credit for the volunteer service work performed, etc.
SB 1140 – Bright Futures Scholarship Program by Montford – AMENDED AND PASSED WITH A CS
Providing that the initial award and renewal period for students who are unable to accept an initial award immediately after completion of high school due to a full-time religious or service obligation begins upon the completion of the religious or service obligation, etc.
SB 7002 – Workforce Services by Commerce & Tourism – AMENDED AND PASSED WITH A CS
Renaming Workforce Florida, Inc., as CareerSource Florida, Inc., etc.
In the Senate SESSION:
Bills on 3rd Reading:
SB 224 – Public Records/Contractors by Simpson – READ 3RD TIME; AMENDED; PASSED THE SENATE
Requiring that a public agency contract for services include a statement providing the contact information of the public agency’s custodian of records; revising required provisions in a public agency contract for services regarding a contractor’s compliance with public records laws; specifying applicable penalties for a contractor who fails to provide requested records; specifying circumstances under which a court may assess and award reasonable costs of enforcement against a public agency or contractor, etc.
Bills on 2nd Reading:
SB 2508 – Education Appropriations Conforming Bill by Appropriations – TEMPORARILY POSTPONED
Requiring a state research university to enter into and maintain a formal agreement with a specified organization to offer college-sponsored merit scholarship awards as a condition of designation as a preeminent state research university; revising the term “full-time student” for the purposes of the Florida Education Finance Program; requiring supplemental academic instruction categorical funds and research-based reading instruction allocation funds to be used by a school district with at least one of certain lowest-performing elementary schools for additional intensive reading instruction at such school during the summer program in addition to the school year, etc.
HB 7069 – Education Accountability by Education – READ 2ND TIME; AMENDED; READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE SENATE
Revises provisions relating to uniform opening date of public schools, high-performing school districts, student & parent rights, student remediation, scholar designation for standard high school diploma, statewide standardized assessment program, administration & proctoring of assessments, student progression, student evaluation for college readiness, research-based reading instruction allocation, salary schedules, evaluation procedures & criteria, teacher certification, & professional development. [NOTE: The bill was amended by a “strike all” amendment that stripped out the original HB 7069 language and replaced it with the language of SB 616, as amended in yesterday’s Senate Session. The bill was then further amended to remove a provision relating to school recognition awards. Other amendments – including those that were proposed in yesterday’s consideration of SB 616 were discussed, but were withdrawn. There was extensive commentary from several Senators suggesting that the bill, though a significant improvement over current assessment policies, still did not go far enough to resolve all of the issues of concern that had been raised. The bill will now return to the House for their consideration of the Senate’s revised version of HB 7069.]
COMING UP TOMORROW
In observance of Easter and Passover, there are no legislative meetings scheduled for Friday or Monday. Our next Daily Update will be issued on Monday, April 6, 2015.
Ruth Haseman Melton
Director of Government Relations
Florida School Boards Association
Office: 850 / 414-2578
Cell: 850 / 509-6411