As we reported yesterday, the Senate amended and/or passed their version of the budget, budget implementing bill, and budget conforming bills and sent them to the House for consideration. Since each of these Senate bills differ from their House companion bills, the Senate requested that the House pass the bill as passed by the Senate or agree to include the bill in the Budget Conference. In today’s House Session, the House took up their budget related bills on 3rd Reading. For each House bill for which there is a Senate companion bill, the House took up each Senate bill and then amended the Senate bill by deleting the Senate’s bill text and replacing it with the text of the House companion bill. In addition to these, the House passed two conforming bills – HB 5105 relating to Schools of Hope and HB 7069 relating to the Best & Brightest Scholarship program – for which the Senate had no direct Senate companion bill. For these two bills, the House requested that the Senate pass the bills as passed by the House or agree to include the bills in the Budget Conference. The Senate received these bills, refused to agree to the House version of each bill, and agreed to include them in the conference process. This sets the stage for budget conference committees to be named and to begin the task of resolving the differences between the various versions of each bill. It is expected that Conference Committee members will be named and the conferencing process will begin next week.
The outcome on these budget related bills and several other bills that were considered today are summarized below under the Today’s Happenings tab. There are no meetings of interest scheduled for tomorrow – Friday, April 13 – in observance of the Easter holiday. Legislators will return on Monday, April 17 — we will provide the schedule of meetings and list of bills to be considered on Monday in tomorrow’s Session Spotlight.
[toggle title=”Today’s Happenings – April 13, 2017“]
In the Senate Appropriations Committee meeting:
SB 196 – Juvenile Civil Citation and Similar Diversion Programs by Flores – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE (CS)
The bill is one of several bills filed in an effort to reduce the number of juveniles with damaging criminal records and being referred to costly residential and detention programs. The bill requires that one or more civil citation or similar diversion programs to be established in each county. At least one program must be applicable countywideThe bill requires a law enforcement officer to issue a civil citation or require the juvenile’s participation in a similar diversion program when the juvenile admits to committing one of the following first-time misdemeanor offenses:
- Possession of alcoholic beverages by a person under age 21;
- Criminal Mischief;
- Retail and farm theft;
- Loitering and prowling;
- Affrays and riots;
- Disorderly conduct;
- Possession of 20 grams or less of cannabis;
- Use, possession, manufacture, delivery, transportation, advertisement, or retail sale of drug paraphernalia; or
- Resisting an officer without violence.
The bill permits a law enforcement officer to issue a civil citation or require the juvenile’s participation in a similar diversion program in other specified circumstances. A law enforcement officer must provide written documentation articulating why an arrest is warranted when he or she has the discretion to issue a civil citation but instead chooses to arrest the juvenile. The bill specifies that the option of the issuance of a civil citation or referral to a similar diversion program does not apply to a misdemeanor offense arising out of an episode in which the juvenile is also alleged to have committed a felony.
The bill requires the DJJ to report data on juveniles who qualified to be prosecuted as an adult and to report on recidivism and on best practices in the civil citation program. In addition, the bill requires the Florida Supreme Court to provide annual reports on cases on the docket that have not been cleared within 180 days and on cases that were decided but a decision was not rendered within 180 days;
[NOTE: The Committee took up a Proposed Committee Substitute (PCS) and then took up a strike all amendment to that PCS. This short summary reflects the provisions of the strike all amendment. This is the last committee of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 213 – is similar but has not been heard in any of three committees of reference.]
SB 256 – Florida Center for the Partnerships for Arts Integrated Teaching by Steube – PASSED; PLACED ON SENATE CALENDAR ON 2ND READING
The bill removes the July 1, 2017 expiration date for the statutory authority for the Florida Center for the Partnerships for Arts Integrated Teaching (Center) established within the University of South Florida Sarasota/Manatee. The Center was created in the implementing bill for the 2016-2017 General Appropriations Act and, as such, the statutory provisions for the Center are effective for one fiscal year and would expire July 1, 2017 if not preserved in this bill. The goals of the Center are to:
- Conduct basic and applied research on policies and practices related to arts integrated teaching.
- Partner with interested Florida College System (FCS) institutions and private educational institutions to conduct arts integrated educational research.
- Seek out agreements to provide technical assistance and support to the Florida Department of Education, school districts, private schools, charter schools, and educator preparation programs in the implementation of evidence-based arts integrated instruction, assessment, programs, and professional development.
- Collaborate with interested arts organizations and Florida school districts in the development of frameworks for arts integrated courses in schools and professional development activities, using multiple delivery methods for arts integrated teaching in different content areas.
- Disseminate information about outcome-based practices related to arts integrated instruction, assessment, curricula, and programs.
- Position Florida as a national leader in arts integrate teaching and research.
- Examine arts integrated teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) educational courses.
[NOTE: This is the last committee of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 6017 – is identical and has passed two of three committees of reference.]
SB 1402 – Local Governmental Financial Emergencies by Latvala — PASSED
The bill makes numerous changes to the “Local Governmental Entity, Charter School, Charter Technical Career Center, and District School Board Financial Emergencies Act.” Specifically, the bill:
- Expands the entities that have oversight over local governmental entities, charter schools, charter technical career centers, and district school boards when certain conditions exist to include the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the Legislative Auditing Committee.
- Requires a local governmental entity, or an agency in certain cases to notify the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives when certain financial emergencies exist.
- Requires, upon notification of financial emergency, the Governor, in cooperation with the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Legislative Auditing Committee to contact the local governmental entity or the Commissioner of Education to determine which actions have been taken by the local governmental entity or district school board to resolve or prevent the condition and determine whether the local governmental entity or district school board needs state assistance to resolve or prevent the condition into the future.
The bill revises the composition and duties of financial emergency boards by specifying who can nominate and appoint members, establishing member qualifications, and revising the duties of the board. In addition, the bill authorizes the Governor to suspend a member of the governing body of the local governmental entity or district school board for malfeasance and misfeasance under certain circumstances. [NOTE: This is the second of three committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 1289 – is identical and has passed two of three committees of reference.]
SB 1582 – Workers’ Compensation Insurance by Bradley – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
The bill amends several provisions in the Florida’s workers’ compensation law and the Insurance Code (which governs the rate making approval process for many, but not all, providers of workers’ compensation coverage). The bill:
- Codifies Westphal v. City of St. Petersburg, by increasing temporary total disability benefits and temporary partial disability benefits from 104 weeks to 260 weeks.
- Amends the attorney fee provision to:
- require the Judge of Compensation Claims (JCC) to consider certain factors in determining if the attorney fees should be increased or decreased, based on a maximum hourly rate of $250;
- remove the criminal penalty for claimant attorneys receiving fees that are not approved by the JCCs, thereby allowing claimants to enter into retainer agreements; and
- eliminate the attorney fee cap of $1,500 on medical-only claims;
- Requires greater specificity in the information that must be provided in petitions for benefits filed with the Office of Judges of Compensation Claims (OJCC), such as the specific date of maximum medical improvement and the specific date that such permanent benefits are claimed to begin;
- Clarifies that deadlines within multiple provisions relating to medical care are based on business days, not calendar days;
- Revises the workers’ compensation rating law. Currently, Florida law requires carriers, or rating organization filing on their behalf, to file an administered rate or full rate. The bill implements loss costs rating, which requires each insurer to seek approval for rates based on aggregate claim information filed by a rating organization with individual company data (loss costs multipliers), being used for the final rate, subject to approval by the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR); and
- Limits defense and cost containment expenses of insurers to 15 percent of incurred losses, and provides that excessive defense and cost containment fees must be returned to policyholders.
[NOTE: The Committee took up a strike-all amendment that made several technical corrections but did not substantially change the content of the bill. There was also an amendment to the strike-all amendment that provides that specified cancers of firefighters are deemed occupational diseases arising out of work performed in the course and scope of employment. This is the second of three committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 7085 – is comparable, has passed all committees of reference, and is on the House Calendar on 2nd Reading.]
In the Senate Criminal & Civil Justice Appropriations Subcommittee meeting:
SB 260 – Threats to Kill or Do Bodily Injury by Steube – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
The bill deletes the current statutory requirements that a specific person be directly threatened by a person making a threat through means of a letter, inscribed communication, or electronic communication, and that the specific person actually receive the threat, The bill prohibits a person from making a threat to kill or injure another in writing or other record , including an electronic record, by sending, posting, or transmitting, or procuring the sending, posting, or transmission of, the threat in a manner that would allow another person to view the threat. The bill provides that violation of these provisions may be the basis for a lawful arrest by an officer without a warrant, if the officer has probable cause to believe a person has committed the offense. The bill retains the current second degree felony penalties for adult offenders and creates a first degree misdemeanor applicable to juvenile offenders. [NOTE: Today’s amendment was a clarifying amendment that did not substantively change the content of the bill. This is the second of four committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 575 – is similar and has passed two or three committees of reference.]
In the Senate PreK-12 Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting:
SB 360 – Middle School Study by Stargel – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
The bill requires the Florida Department of Education to conduct a comprehensive study of states with high-performing students in grades 6 through 8 in reading and mathematics, based on the states’ performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress; and report findings of the study to the Governor, the State Board of Education, and the Legislature by December 2017. Specifically, the study must review, at a minimum:
- Academic expectations and instructional strategies.
- Attendance policies and student mobility issues.
- Teacher quality.
- Middle school administrator leadership and performance.
- Parental and community involvement.
The bill requires Doe to submit a report on the findings of the comprehensive study and make recommendations to improve middle school student performance to the Governor, the State Board of Education, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by December 2017. [NOTE: Today’s amendment added further details on the general topics that the study is expected to review. This is the second of three committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 293 – is comparable, has passed all committees of reference, and is on the House Calendar on 2nd Reading.]
SB 642 – Public Educational Facilities by Garcia – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
The bill revises provisions related to public educational facilities. Specifically, the bill:
- Requires the Commissioner of Education to, upon request by a district school board, grant an exemption to the State Requirements for Educational Facilities (SREF).
- Requires the district school board to provide a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis along with its request for an SREF exemption.
- Specifies, for the purposes of determining the capacity of school facilities as reported in the Florida Inventory of School Houses that a classroom containing kindergarten through grade 5 is considered an elementary school and a classroom containing students in grades 6 through 8 is considered a middle school.
- Provides that, if a contract has been executed for architectural and design services or for construction management services before July 1, 2017, a district school board may use funds from any source for the new construction of educational plant space and such funds are exempt from the total cost per student station requirements.
[NOTE: Two clarifying amendments were adopted. The first amendment clarifies the July 1, 2017 effective date for which inclusion of locally generated dollars within the cost per student station caps. The second amendment clarifies the calculation of FISH capacity reflects classroom use for each grade level. This short summary reflects these changes. This is the second of three committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 559 – is similar and has passed one of three committees of reference.]
SB 772 – Assistive Technology Devices by Rousson — PASSED
The bill revises provisions related to the use of assistive technology devices by students with disabilities. Specifically, the bill:
- Recognizes that access to and use of the assistive technology device is essential for a student moving from school to home and community;
- Allows an individualized plan for employment to be one of the plans that may serve as the basis for a student to retain an assistive technology device through a transition; and
- Adds the Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice within the Florida Department of Education to the group of educational entities required to enter into interagency agreements with specified agencies, as appropriate, for the transaction of assistive technology devices.
[NOTE: This is the second of three committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 371 – is similar, has passed all committees of reference, and is on the House Calendar on 2nd Reading.]
SB 1222 – School Grades by Bradley — PASSED
The bill reduces the percentage of students that must be scheduled to be assigned to another school from 60% to a majority (over 50 percent) to allow a K-3 school that does not receive a school grade itself to be assigned the school grade of a graded school for which it is designated to be a feeder pattern school. A designated feeder pattern school may be eligible to receive Florida School Recognition Program funding and, for a charter school that is an expanded feeder chain of a charter school within the same school district that is currently receiving charter school capital outlay funds, may be eligible to receive a charter school capital outlay funding allocation. [NOTE: This is the second of three committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 781 – is similar, has passed all committees of reference, has passed the House, and is in Messages to the Senate.]
SB 1710 – Education/Civic Literacy by Stargel – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
The bill designates the month of September as “American Founders’ Month” and authorizes the Governor to issue a proclamation urging all civic, fraternal, and religious organizations and public and private educational institutions to recognize, observe, and celebrate the month. Specifically, the bill:
- Encourages all public schools to observe “American Founders’ Month” with appropriate instruction and activities.
- Establishes civic literacy as a priority of Florida’s K-20 education system.
- Requires the Just Read, Florida! Office to develop and provide access to sequenced, content-rich programming, instructional practices, and resources to increase students’ core knowledge and literacy skills including student attainment of state standards for social studies, science, and the arts.
- Requires students initially entering a Florida College System institution or state university in 2018-2019 and thereafter, to demonstrate civic literacy through successful completion of a civic literacy course or by achieving a passing score on an assessment adopted in rule by the State Board of Education or in regulation by the Board of Governors, as applicable.
[NOTE: This is the second of four committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 7057 – is similar, has passed all committees of reference, and is on the House Calendar on 2nd Reading.]
In the Senate Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee meeting:
SB 1416 – Enhanced Safety for School Crossings by Young — PASSED
The bill requires the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to evaluate the viability and cost of a uniform system of pavement markings and signage for use on all state and local arterial or collector roads within a one-mile radius of all public and private schools for the purpose of designating safe school crossing locations. [NOTE: This is the second of three committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 493 – is similar, has passed all committees of reference, and is on the House Calendar on 2nd Reading.]
In the House Session:
HB 5001 – General Appropriations Act (GAA) – READ 3RD TIME; SUBSTITUTED FOR SB 2500; HB 5001 LAID ON THE TABLE
SB 2500 – General Appropriations Act (GAA) – READ 2ND TIME; AMENDED; READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE
The bill provides moneys for the annual period beginning July 1, 2017, and ending June 30, 2018, and supplemental appropriations for the period ending June 30, 2017, to pay salaries and other expenses, capital outlay – buildings, and other improvements, and for other specified purposes of the various agencies of state government. [NOTE: Please see FSBA’s Comparison of the Senate and House Education Budgets for details and differences between SB 2500 and HB 5001.]
HB 5003 – Implementing the General Appropriations Act – READ 3RD TIME; SUBSTITUTED FOR SB 2502; HB 5003 LAID ON THE TABLE
SB 2502 – Implementing the General Appropriations Act – READ 2ND TIME; AMENDED; READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE
The bill provides the statutory authority necessary to implement and execute the General Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017-2018. Statutory changes are temporary and are effective July 1, 2017 and expire on July 1, 2018 unless otherwise specifically indicated.
HB 5007 — Florida Retirement System – READ 3RD TIME; SUBSTITUTED FOR SB 7022; HB 5007 LAID ON THE TABLE
SB 7022 – State Administered Retirement Systems – READ 2ND TIME; AMENDED; READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE
The bill establishes the contribution rates paid by employers participating in the Florida Retirement System (FRS) beginning July 1, 2017 and revises related policy provisions.
HB 5101 — Educational Funding – READ 3RD TIME; SUBSTITUTED FOR SB 2516; HB 5101 LAID ON THE TABLE
SB 2516 — Education Funding – READ 2ND TIME; AMENDED; READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE
The bill conforms applicable statutes to the appropriations provided in the General Appropriations Act for Prekindergarten through grade 12 education.
HB 5103 — Capital Outlay Funding – SUBSTITUTED FOR SB 376; HB 5103 LAID ON THE TABLE
SB 376 – Charter School Capital Outlay Funding – READ 2ND TIME; AMENDED; READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE
The bill restructures charter school capital outlay to dedicate a source of funding consisting of shared local capital outlay funding derived from the discretionary millage revenue. The bill allows the legislature the discretion to determine whether to provide additional charter school capital outlay funds in the General Appropriations Act (GAA). [NOTE: Please see the Comparison of SB 376 and HB 5103 prepared by Jim Hamilton for the details and differences of these bills.]
HB 5105 — School Improvement – READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE
The bill streamlines early warning system requirements and alleviates school improvement planning requirements by requiring a school improvement plan only for schools with a grade of “D” or “F.” The bill also streamlines the school improvement process by:
- Requiring the same level of intensive interventions and support strategies for “D” and “F” schools;
- Requiring the school district to provide the SBE a district-managed turnaround plan by September 1 after a school earns a “D” or “F;”
- Requiring the selection of another turnaround option after the school receives a third consecutive grade below a “C” unless the school is deemed likely to improve to a “C” and receives an additional year; and
- Requiring another turnaround option be implemented after 2 years implementing the first plan unless the school is deemed likely to improve to a “C.”
The bill provides that an educational emergency exists in a school district when a school earns a “D” or “F” and requires the district to execute a memorandum of understanding with the collective bargaining agent concerning the selection, placement, and expectations of instructional personnel and school administrators at the school. The memorandum must also be submitted to the SBE by September 1 after a school earns a “D” or “F.”
The bill authorizes the establishment of “schools of hope” and designation of “hope operators” to provide students in areas of persistently low-performing schools with a high-quality education option designed to close the opportunity gap and increase student achievement. The bill:
- Establishes criteria for schools of hope and hope operators;
- Defines persistently low-performing schools as those subject to differentiated accountability for more than three years or closed as a result of school improvement requirements;
- Authorizes the State Board of Education (SBE) to identify and designate hope operators who meet specified criteria;
- Removes barriers to hope operators by creating a new notice and agreement process that is exempt from the current charter law and state procurement laws. The process:
- allows a hope operator to submit a notice of intent to establish a school of hope in a school district with one or more persistently low-performing schools;
- requires the school district to enter into a performance based agreement with the hope operator which must include specified provisions;
- Provides a school of hope with specific exemptions from current law;
- Provides provisions for facilities and funding for schools of hope;
- Establishes a grant program to cover specified operational expenses; and
- Establishes the Schools of Hope Revolving Loan Program to help schools of hope cover school building construction and startup costs.
HB 7069 – Best & Brightest Teachers & Principals – READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE
The bill amends the Best and Brightest Teacher Scholarship Program eligibility criteria and establishes the Best and Brightest Principal Program. With respect to the Best and Brightest Teacher Scholarship Program, the bill deletes the statutory expiration date of July 1, 2017, and amends eligibility criteria by:
- Lowering the threshold for a qualifying assessment score from the 80th percentile to the 77th percentile based on the National Percentile Ranks in effect when the assessment was taken;
- Allowing teachers to use scores from other assessments that measure cognitive ability to qualify; and
- Allowing teachers to demonstrate they are “highly effective” based solely on their value-added model rating.
The bill creates the Best and Brightest Principal Scholarship Program, which:
- Establishes a procedure for identifying principals who qualify for recognition under the program;
- Establishes eligibility criteria for principals, as follows:
- o The principal must have served as principal at his or her school for at least the last 2 years; and
- o The faculty at the principal’s school must have a ratio of best and brightest teachers to other classroom teachers that is at the 80th percentile or higher, statewide, for that school type (elementary, middle, high, or combination);
- Provides a monetary award, established in the General Appropriations Act, for principals who are designated as best and brightest and requires that qualifying principals at a Title I school receive a greater award; and
- Requires school districts to provide qualifying principals with the autonomy over budgetary and personnel decisions that are currently provided to principals participating in the Principal Autonomy Pilot Program Initiative (PAPPI).