Today’s agenda includes both Senate committee meetings and House and Senate floor sessions. Bills of interest under consideration today include bills relating to term limits for school board members, parental rights, school choice, local referenda, career education, public records, and government accountability. Today’s schedule is posted below and will be updated to show the outcome on these bills after each meeting concludes.
Please note that all of the meetings listed below may be viewed in real time via live webcast on the Florida Channel or may be viewed later in the Florida Channel Video Library. Also note that clicking on the Committee/Subcommittee names linked below provides access to membership, meeting packets, and other committee information; clicking on the bill numbers linked below provides access the bill summary, analysis, related bills, and other information.
- Directs certain health care practitioners to report vaccination administration data to the Department of Health (DOH) immunization registry when vaccinating children up to 18 years of age or college or university students at a college or university health center who are 19 to 23 years of age.
- Permits a parent or guardian of a child up to 18 years of age or a college or university student 19 to 23 years of age to opt out of being included in the immunization registry and, if so, requires DOH and the healthcare practitioner to remove all records regarding the child or student from the registry.
- Directs school boards and private school governing bodies to establish and enforce a policy requiring that before a child may attend a public or private school, the child must have on file a Florida Certification of Immunization (FCI) with the DOH immunization registry.
- Provides that any child who does not participate in the immunization registry must present or have on file with the school an FCI form, which will be a part of the student’s permanent record and be transferred with the student if the student transfers.
- Provides that school boards and private school governing bodies must establish and enforce a policy requiring appropriate scoliosis screening at the proper age.
SB 7048 – Disclosure of Confidential Records by CFEA – PASSED
The bill requires that, when a patient communicates a specific threat against an identifiable individual to a mental health service provider, the provider must release information from the clinical record of the patient sufficient to inform the threatened individual. The provider must also inform law enforcement of the threat. The bill provides immunity from civil or criminal liability to the administrator of a mental health facility, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and other treatment providers who disclose information conveyed to them by a patient communicating a threat to a specific, readily identifiable third party.
In the Senate Education Committee:
SJR 274 – Limitation on Terms of Office / School Board Members by Baxley – PASSED
This joint resolution proposes an amendment to the Florida Constitution that would make district school board members subject to an 8-year consecutive service term limitation. The provision would operate prospectively beginning with the 2020 general election. The likely earliest date that any currently serving school board member could be “termed-out” would be in November 2028. The joint resolution requires passage by a 3/5ths vote of each chamber in order to be placed on the ballot for the general election in November 2020 (unless the legislature authorizes an earlier special election for that specific purpose), and then must be approved by 60% of voters voting on this proposal.
SB 382 – Teacher Scholarship Program by Montford – PASSED
The bill establishes, subject to appropriation, the Teacher Scholarship (scholarship) Program to encourage students who exhibit academic excellence to pursue a career in education. The bill:
- Provides eligibility criteria for undergraduate and graduate students in a teacher preparation program to qualify for the scholarship as follows:
- An eligible undergraduate student may be awarded a scholarship of up to $5,000 per semester, not to exceed $10,000 per year, for 2 undergraduate years or for a maximum of 3 years for a program that requires a fifth year of instruction to obtain an initial teaching certification.
- An eligible graduate student may be awarded a scholarship of up to $5,000 per semester, not to exceed $10,000 per year, for up to 2 years.
- Provides requirements for the FDOE and public postsecondary education institutions with teacher preparation programs approved by the DOE.
SB 1726 – Parental Rights by Gruters – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE (CS)
The bill establishes the “Parents’ Bill of Rights” and declares that it is a fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children. To safeguard parental rights, the bill:
- Reserves certain rights to a parent of a minor child and prohibits any person or entity from infringing upon those rights without demonstrating that the infringement is reasonable and necessary to achieve a compelling state interest, is narrowly tailored to achieve the interest, and is not otherwise served by a less restrictive means.
- Requires each school district to adopt a policy to promote parental notification and involvement in the public school system and provides requirements for the policy.
- Establishes parental consent requirements for health care purposes and provides for disciplinary action against health care practitioners who violate parental consent requirements.
SB 7106 – Risk Protection Orders by Education – PASSED
The bill expands the definition of a petitioner for purposes of a risk protection order petition to include, in addition to law enforcement officers and agencies, certain family members, thus allowing these family member to petition the court for a risk protection order without the assistance of law enforcement.
In the Senate Governmental Oversight & Accountability Committee:
SB 602 – Public Records by Perry – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
As amended, the bill provides that, if an agency files an action for declaratory judgment for a declaration that certain public records are exempt, or confidential and exempt, from public review and access, and the court determines that the records are either not exempt or not confidential and exempt, the court must assess the reasonable costs of enforcement, including reasonable attorney fees, against the responsible agency for the benefit of the named respondent.
SB 784 – Retirement by Gruters – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
The bill provides a minimum annual 2% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for a retiree who was a member of the Special Risk Class on June 30, 2011, is a member of the Special Risk Class on the effective date of retirement and retires on or after July 1, 2011 and has service credit earned before July 1, 2011. This minimum COLA for eligible retirees will be applied prospectively for retirement payments beginning on or after July 1, 2019.
SB 1224 – Charter Schools by Farmer – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
As amended, the bill:
- Requires each charter school principal, charter school governing board member, and charter school chief financial officer to hold a credential, which must certify the individual’s core competence in the administration of a charter school.
- Requires the FDOE to approve one or more third-party credentialing entities to establish and administer the credentialing process.
- Eliminates the requirement that an applicant submit an application by February 1 to open a charter school eighteen months later at the beginning of the school year. The bill allows an applicant submitting an application by February 1 to open a charter school at the beginning of the next school year.
- Prohibits specified charter school entities and employees and their relatives from submitting an application to open a charter school for 5 years if specified acts of misconduct caused the termination or nonrenewal of the charter.
- Authorizes a virtual charter school to provide part-time instruction and be a virtual instruction program provider if approved by the DOE.
In the Senate Innovation, Industry, and Technology Committee:
SB 770 – Alternative High School Graduation Requirements by Hutson – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
As amended, the bill addresses both secondary and post-secondary career education and readiness opportunities. Of particular interest to school districts, the bill:
- Creates an alternative pathway, namely the career and technical education (CTE) graduation pathway option, for students to earn a standard high school diploma that maintains requires students to successfully complete at least 18 credits to receive a standard high school diploma under the CTE graduation pathway option.
- Exempts a charter school that exclusively offers the CTE pathway option from application requirements related to district school boards but specifies that such charter schools must comply with the application requirements relating to the DOE.
- Modifies the 24-credit pathway for earning a standard high school diploma by revising computer science credit substitution for mathematics or science credits, and creates a mechanism for the review of the sufficiency of career education course standards to meet the Algebra I credit requirement.
- Revises the acceleration mechanism component for the school grade calculation for high schools by specifying that dual enrollment courses include career clock-hour dual enrollment courses.
- Creates the Florida Pathways to Career Opportunities Grant Program to enable high school and Florida College System institutions to offer applied learning opportunities for students in high-demand career pathways linked to occupations that will provide students with middle-level and high-level wages.
- Increases from 15 to 30, the limit on the number of CAPE Digital Tool Certificates that must be identified annually.
- Restores middle grades career education and planning course requirements which were eliminated in 2017, with some modifications.
- Requires district school boards to declare a “College and Career Decision Day” to recognize high school seniors and encourage them to prepare for college and pursue advanced career pathways.
- Requires the DOE to provide assistance to specified entities when notifying students, parents, and members of the community about apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship opportunities.
- Authorizes school districts to issue an adjunct teaching certificate for a full-time teaching position, but specifies that such certificates are valid for a period of three years and are not renewable. Specifies reporting requirements for school districts.
In the Senate Session:
SB 292 – Education/Graduation Ceremony by Lee – READ 2ND TIME; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/17/19
The bill prohibits a district school board from barring a student from lawfully wearing to his or her graduation ceremony a uniform of any of the Armed Forces of the state or of the United States.
SB 318 – Child Abuse, Abandonment, and Neglect by Montford – READ 2ND TIME; AMENDED; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/17/19
The bill expands the public records exemption that protects the name of a reporter of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect to also include other identifying information. Such information would be confidential and exempt, and would only be released to specified persons, officials, and agencies specified in law. The exemption provided in this bill are subject to future legislative review and repeal.
In the House Session:
HB 203 – Public Records/Personnel Employed by Law Enforcement by Zika – READ 2ND TIME; SUBSTITUTED FOR SB 248; HB 203 LAID ON THE TABLE
SB 248 – Public Records/Personnel Employed by a Law Enforcement by Hooper – SUBSTITUTED FOR HB 203; READ 2ND TIME; PLACE ON 3RD READING FOR 4/11/19
The bill revises public records exemptions for home addresses and various other information identifying specified agency personnel and their families to create a new public records exemption for:
- Home addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, and photographs of active or former civilian personnel employed by a law enforcement agency;
- Names, home addresses, telephone numbers, photographs, dates of birth, and places of employment of the spouses and children of such personnel; and
- Names and locations of schools and day care facilities attended by the children of such personnel.
The bill provides that those persons whose information is protected by the public records exemption may, in writing, request that information be released.
HB 407 – Pubic Records by R. Rodrigues – READ 2ND TIME; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/11/19
The bill prohibits an agency that receives a public record request to inspect or copy a record from responding to such request by filing a civil action against the individual or entity making the request.
HB 547 – Stanley G. Tate Florida Prepaid College Program by Clemons — READ 2ND TIME; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/11/19
- Authorizes a state university to transfer Stanley G. Tate Florida Prepaid College Program related Dormitory Residence Plan funds to a qualified nonprofit organization.
- Requires that the amount transferred may not exceed the average fees charged for state university or FCS institution dormitory fees.
- Revises the membership of the board of directors for Florida Prepaid College Board’s direct-support organization.
HB 741 – Anti-Semitism by Fine — READ 2ND TIME; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/11/19
The Florida Educational Equality Act (FEEA) requires equal access to, and prohibits discrimination against, any student or employee of the state’s K-20 public education system on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, or marital status. The bill:
- Amends the FEEA to add religion as a protected class with regard to discrimination against students and employees in Florida’s K-20 public education system.
- Requires a public K-20 educational institution to treat discrimination by students or employees or resulting from institutional policies motivated by anti-Semitism in an identical manner to discrimination motivated by race.
- Provides a definition of anti-Semitism similar to the definition adopted by the U.S. Department of State’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.
- Provides the legislative intent that the new law defining anti-Semitism may not diminish or infringe upon any right protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, or the Florida Constitution, and prohibits construction of the law in conflict with federal or state discrimination laws.
- Adds religion as a protected class in all K-12 education programs, activities, and opportunities, in accordance with the provisions of the FEEA.
HB 349 – Students with Disabilities in Public Schools by DuBose — READ 2ND TIME; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/11/19
- Defines terms related to seclusion, physical restraint, and mechanical restraint, and instructs when such techniques may be used.
- Prohibits placing a student in seclusion.
- Provides that physical restraint may be used only to protect students or school personnel, but not for disciplining a student and provides that a student may only be physically restrained for the time necessary to protect the student and others.
- Prohibits straightjackets and restraint techniques such as obstructing or restricting breathing or blood flow or inflicting pain to induce compliance.
- Requires school districts to adopt policies and procedures related to positive behavior interventions and supports and identify all school personnel authorized to use the restraint.
- Requires each school district to report to the FDOE approved procedures for training.
- Requires the Commissioner of Education to develop recommendations to incorporate instruction regarding autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, other developmental disabilities, and emotional or behavioral disabilities into continuing education or inservice training requirements for instructional personnel and requires that these recommendations must address the use of restraint techniques, positive behavior interventions and supports, and effective classroom behavior management strategies.
HB 1027 – Office of Early Learning by Aloupis — READ 2ND TIME; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/11/19
- Codifies early learning professional development standards and career pathways in law.
- Requires the Office of Early Learning to develop early learning professional development training and course standards for school readiness program providers and identify both formal and informal early learning career pathways with stackable credentials and certifications, which allow early childhood teachers to access specialized professional development.
- Requires the established credentials and certifications to align with the training for K-12 teachers, reading coaches, and school principals to the greatest extent possible.
HB 7035 – Government Accountability by OTPM – READ 2ND TIME; SUBSTITUTED FOR SB 7014; HB 7035 LAID ON THE TABLE
SB 7014 – Government Accountability by GOA – SUBSTITUTED FOR HB 7035; READ 2ND TIME; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/11/19
The bill amends various statutes to enhance government accountability and auditing processes based on recommendations noted in recent reports by the Auditor General. Of particular interest to school districts, the bill:
- Authorizes the Governor or Commissioner of Education, or designee, to notify the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee if an entity fails to comply with certain auditing and financial reporting requirements;
- Provides definitions for the terms “abuse,” “fraud,” and “waste;”
- Requires each agency, the judicial branch, the Justice Administrative Commission, state attorneys, public defenders, criminal conflict and civil regional counsel, capital collateral regional counsel, the Guardian Ad Litem program, local governmental entities, charter schools, school districts, Florida College System institutions, and state universities to establish and maintain internal controls designed to prevent and detect fraud, waste, and abuse;
- Provides that the Department of Financial Services may request additional information from local government entities when preparing its annual verified report;
- Revises the membership, and restrictions thereof, for an auditor selection committee of a county, municipality, special district, district school board, charter school, or charter technical career center;
- Specifies that the definition of fraud, waste and abuse apply to s. 1001.42, F.S., relating to the powers and duties of the district school board;
- Requires completion of an annual financial audit of the Florida Virtual School; and
- Requires the Florida College System and Florida State University System to comply with statutory provisions relating to employee background screenings.
HB 15 – Local Government Fiscal Transparency by Burton — READ 2ND TIME; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/11/19
The bill creates the Local Government Fiscal Transparency Act (Act), providing for increased fiscal transparency for local governments, including school boards. The bill requires:
- Easy public access to voting records of local governing body members as related to tax increases or the issuance of tax-supported debt;
- Easy online access to truth-in-millage notices and a four-year history of property tax rates and total revenue generated by each local government;
- Additional public meetings and expanded public notice requirements for local option tax increases and the issuance of new long-term, tax-supported debt;
- Local governments to conduct a debt affordability analysis prior to issuance of new long-term, tax-supported debt;
- The chair of the local governing body to sign an affidavit of compliance with the Act; and
- The Auditor General to request evidence of corrective action from local governments found not to be in compliance with the Act and reporting those who fail to do so to the Legislative Auditing Committee.
HB 5 – Local Tax Referenda by DiCeglie — READ 2ND TIME; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/11/19
- Requires any referendum to levy a discretionary sales surtax be held at a general election and requires approval by two-thirds of the electors voting on the ballot measure.
- Provides that, upon adoption of an ordinance or resolution by a county or school district to hold a discretionary sales surtax referendum on or after January 1, 2020, the county or school district holding a referendum must notify the OPPAGA of the proposed referendum and provide a copy of the final ordinance or resolution calling for the referendum at least 180 days before the referendum is held.
- Declares void any discretionary sales surtax referendum if the county or school district fails to provide notice to OPPAGA or fails to publish the results of the performance audit.
- Provides similar requirements for a proposal to adopt a discretionary sales surtax is by initiative and provides that the failure of an initiative sponsor to comply with these requirements renders any referendum held void.