The House announced their budget conferees today and the first organizational meeting was held this evening. House members that will serve on the Education Budget Conference Committee are Representatives Erik Fresen (chair), Janet Adkins, Larry Ahern, Gwyndolen Clarke-Reed, Karen Castor Dentel, Heather Fitzenhagen, Jeanette Nunez, Keith Perry, Jake Raburn, Betty Reed, Charlie Stone, and Dwight Taylor. The Senate members that serve on the Education Budget Conference Committee are Senators Bill Galvano (chair), Joseph Abruzzo, Dwight Bullard, Nancy Detert, John Legg, Bill Montford, Maria Sachs, David Simmons, and John Thrasher. The Conference Committees will work over the next few days to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget. Any issues that have not been resolved by Wednesday will be “bumped” up to the Appropriations Committee Chairs – Representative Seth McKeel and Senator Joe Negron – for resolution. Please keep in mind that the final budget must be agreed upon and made available to legislators by midnight on Tuesday, April 29 — to allow for the 72-hour “cooling off” period before the chambers may take a final vote on the budget – if legislators wish to adjourn the Session on schedule on Friday May 2. We will keep you apprised of the progress being made on resolving the education budget differences.
In the Senate State Affairs Committee:
SB 846 – Governmental Ethics by Latvala – PASSED WITH AMENDMENTS; PLACED ON CALENDAR ON 2ND READING
Requires additional entities and individuals to participate in annual ethics training; requires an officer required to participate in annual ethics training to certify participation on his or her full and public disclosure of financial interests; provides that failure to certify completion of annual ethics training on a disclosure does not constitute an immaterial, inconsequential, or de minimis error or omission; revises disclosure requirements with respect to a voting abstention at a meeting of a governmental body; provides that a constitutional officer or elected municipal officer assuming a new office or new term of office on or before March 31 must complete the annual training on or before December 31 of the year in which the term of office began; provides that a constitutional officer or elected municipal officer assuming a new office or new term of office after March 31 is not required to complete ethics training for the calendar year in which the term of office began.
SAC-6 – Public Retirement Plans by State Affairs – SUBMITTED AS A COMMITTEE BILL WITH AMENDMENTS
With regard to the Florida Retirement System (FRS), the bill increases the vesting period for members enrolled in the pension plan from eight years to 10 years; increases the regular disability vesting period for all new enrollees from eight years to 10 years; prohibits members initially enrolled in a position covered by the Elected Officers’ Class or Senior Management Service Class from participating in the pension plan and requires participation in the investment plan; changes the default from the pension plan to the investment plan for members who do not affirmatively choose a plan; extends the time period for member’s to make a plan selection from the last day of the fifth month after the month of hire to the last day of the eighth month after the month of hire; closes the Senior Management Service Optional Annuity Program to new participants; and prohibits elected officials from joining the Senior Management Service Class in lieu of the Elected Officers’ Class. [NOTE: In an effort to pursue changes to FRS desired by the House and stalled in the Senate, this Proposed Committee Bill combines HB 7173, relating to the Florida Retirement System, and HB 7179, relating to local government pension reform. FSBA has concerns about several of the provisions relating to the FRS.]
In the Senate Rules Committee:
SB 952 – Workers’ Compensation by Simpson
Authorizing employers to negotiate the retrospectively rated premium with insurers under certain conditions, etc. [NOTE: The House companion bill – HB 785 – underwent 2nd Reading in the House today (see below)]
In the House SESSION
Bills on 2nd Reading
HB 7069 – Early Learning by Education – READ 2ND TIME; AMENDED; PLACED ON 3RD READING
Changes terminology relating to school readiness & family day care; revises certain requirements & standards relating to child care facilities, VPK program, & school readiness program; revises provisions relating to exemption from certain licensing standards; revises duties of Office of Early Learning & early learning coalitions.
HB 7083 – Charter Schools by Choice & Innovation – READ 2ND TIME; PLACED ON 3RD READING
Revises charter school provisions relating to applications & contracts, termination of charter, student enrollment, payment & transfer of funds, use of school district facilities, & model forms, contracts, & evaluation instruments; revises provisions relating to high-performing charter schools & high-performing charter school systems; specifies conditions under which virtual instruction provider’s contract is automatically terminated; revises eligibility for receipt of capital outlay funding. [NOTE: An effort to amend the bill to align with the Senate version – SB 1528 – failed today. The Senate version was amended earlier to remove all of the objectionable House provisions.]
HB 355 – Instructional Materials Affordability by Porter – READ 2ND TIME; AMENDED; PLACED ON 3RD READING
Requires SBE & BOG to adopt textbook & instructional materials affordability policies, procedures, & guidelines; provides requirements for use of adopted undergraduate textbooks & instructional materials; requires public postsecondary institution to post in course registration system & on website information relating to required & recommended textbooks & instructional materials & prices thereof; requires task force to research affordability issues.
HB 785 – Workers’ Compensation by Albritton – READ 2ND TIME; AMENDED; PLACED ON 3RD READING
Authorizes employers to negotiate retrospectively rated premium with insurers under certain conditions; provides exemption; provides requirements for filing & approval of such plans & associated forms; provides exception.
COMING UP TOMORROW
The Senate Appropriations Committee will meet – 9:00 am-6:00 pm; Florida Channel webcast – to consider the following items and others:
SB 444 – Workers’ Compensation by Galvano
Revising powers of the Department of Financial Services relating to compliance with and enforcement of workers’ compensation coverage requirements; revising requirements for the release of stop-work orders; revising rate formulas related to the determination of compensation for disability and death, etc.
SB 698 – Sexual Misconduct with Students by Stargel
Citing this act as the “Sexual Misconduct with Students by Authority Figures Act”; providing for reclassification of specified sexual offenses committed against a student by an authority figure; providing for severity ranking of offenses; providing for application of the severity ranking chart of the Criminal Punishment Code, etc. [NOTE: the House version of this bill – HB 485 – will be considered on 2nd Reading in the House session later in the day (see below).]
SB 886 – Teachers Classroom Supply Program by Montford
Revising procedures for distributing program funds to classroom teachers, etc. [NOTE: The House will consider its version of this bill – HB 337 – during the House Session later in the afternoon (see below).]
SB 950 – Educator Certification & Assignment by Stargel
Authorizing a school district to assign to a school that has earned failing grades certain newly hired instructional personnel; revising the powers of a district school superintendent to include authorization to assign certain newly hired instructional personnel to a school that has earned failing grades based on the judgment of a school principal; deleting obsolete provisions relating to acceptable means of demonstrating mastery of professional development; revising certain requirements for the renewal or reinstatement of a professional certificate, etc.
SB 1114 – FRS / Cash Balance Plan by Community Affairs
Revising the definition of “vested” or “vesting” to provide that a member initially enrolled in the Florida Retirement System after a certain date is vested in the pension plan after completing 10 years of creditable service; providing for compulsory membership in the Florida Retirement System Investment Plan for certain employees in the Elected Officers’ Class or the Senior Management Service Class initially enrolled after a specified date; authorizing renewed membership in the retirement system for retirees who are reemployed in a position eligible for the Elected Officers’ Class under certain circumstances, etc.
SB 1206 – Agricultural Industry Certifications by Montford
Requiring the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to annually provide to the State Board of Education and the Department of Education information and industry certifications for farm occupations to be considered for placement on industry certification funding lists; defining the term “industry certification”; requiring the state board to adopt rules for implementing an industry certification process for farm occupations, etc.
SB 1394 – Standard Diploma / Merit Designation by Legg
Revising the requirements to earn a Merit designation on a standard high school diploma, etc.
SB 1474 – Public Officers and Employees by Abruzzo
Authorizing the electors of a political subdivision to impose additional or more stringent standards of conduct and disclosure requirements upon the political subdivision’s officers and employees; providing that a respondent is entitled to a public hearing upon a finding of probable cause of a violation of a local ethics ordinance; requiring a local ethics ordinance to establish certain procedures, etc.
SB 1512 – Students with Disabilities by Stargel
Establishing the Florida Personalized Accounts for Learning; specifying criteria for students who are eligible to participate in the program; prohibiting specific providers, schools, institutions, school districts, and other entities from sharing, refunding, or rebating program funds; requiring a school district to notify the parent regarding the option to participate in the program; specifying the school district’s responsibilities for completing a matrix of services and notifying the Department of Education of the completion of the matrix, etc. [NOTE: This bill creates a new voucher program for certain students with disabilities by creating a creating an education savings account or debit-card account to purchase educational and/or therapeutic services for these students. Although FSBA supports the concept of improving services to students with significant abilities, we are opposed to this approach because we feel it is unnecessary, opens the door to rapid expansion, invited fraud and abuse, and provides insufficient overall accountability. Several amendments have been filed for consideration including one that would add on several of the provisions of the Tax Credit Scholarship expansion bill – remember that the Senate chose to withdraw their version of the bill earlier in the session, but this would reinstate many of those provisions.]
SB 1702 – Early Learning by Education
Providing a directive to the Division of Law Revision and Information; revising provisions relating to the Rilya Wilson Act; including large family child care homes in local zoning regulation requirements; providing requirements for nonpublic schools delivering certain voluntary prekindergarten education programs and child care and development programs; authorizing the Department of Children and Families to adopt rules for compliance by certain programs not licensed by the department; revising requirements for application and determination of eligibility to enroll in the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program, etc.
HB 5601 – Economic Development by Finance & Tax
Revises provisions related to prepaid calling arrangements; imposes additional rate on gross receipts for electrical power or energy; reduces sales tax rate for charges for electrical power or energy; extends expiration date applicable to granting of community contribution tax credits; revises & provides exemptions from sales & use tax; requires DOR to distribute funds to State Transportation Trust Fund for certain transportation projects; increases amount of income exempt from corporate income tax; increases amount of income exempt from franchise tax imposed on banks & savings associations; provides for creation of Qualified Television Loan Fund; revises limits on tax credits that may be approved under New Markets Development Program; provides for Energy Star & WaterSense product sales tax holiday, physical fitness admissions tax suspension, school sales tax holiday, & hurricane preparedness sales tax holiday; provides appropriations. [NOTE: This bill is part of the proposed tax cut package and includes, among other things, the school sales tax holiday and a slimmed-down version of Commissioner Putnam’s proposal to boost gross receipts tax revenue and PECO funding.]
The House will be in SESSION – 10:30 am-5:30 pm; Florida Channel webcast – to consider the following items and others:
Bills on 2nd Reading
HB 337 – Teachers Classroom Supply Program by Fresen
Revises procedures for distributing program funds to classroom teachers.
HB 485 – Sexual Misconduct with Students by Raburn
Designates act the “Stop Harassing Underage Teens Act”; provides for reclassification of specified sexual offenses committed against students by authority figure of school; provides for severity ranking of offenses.
HB 87 – Fine Arts Courses by McBurney
Requires Commissioner of Education to prepare annual report relating to student access to & participation in fine arts courses & information on educators, facilities, & instruction in such courses.
REMINDER: FSBA LEGISLATIVE SESSION REVIEW WORKSHOPS
After the end of the 2014 Legislative Session adjourns, FSBA will conduct our usual series of Legislative Session Review Workshops. Workshops have been scheduled for Friday, May 16, 2014 – 8:30-11:00 am in Kissimmee; Wednesday, May 21, 2014 – 5:00-7:30 pm in Lake City; Thursday, May 22, 2014 – 5:00-7:30 pm CST in Chipley; and Friday, June 13, 2014 – 11:00 am-12:30 pm in Tampa. These Workshops are all free of charge but we ask that you register for the Workshop you wish to attend so we can be sure to have sufficient materials available for the participants. We have posted more information and online registration links on the FSBA website at https://fsba.org/fsba-2014-
IN THE NEWS
Lakeland Ledger Op-Ed – 4/19/14
School grading is failing our kids
Miami Herald Editorial – 4/14/14
Let the state choose textbooks
Times-Union – 4/16/14
Critics: Florida’s untested tests shouldn’t decide who gets punished