Today’s agenda includes consideration of several bills of interest including bills relating to health and mental health, curriculum, early learning, hurricane recovery, school choice, 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.
In the Senate Education Committee:
SB 66 – Drinking Water in Public Schools by Cruz – PASSED
The bill requires each school district to filter drinking water at each source for any school built before 1986. For such schools, each school district is required to:
- Install a barcode on all school drinking water sources.
- Install a filter that meets specified standards to reduce lead at each school water source.
- Post a conspicuous sign near each non-drinking-water source warning that such source should not be used for human consumption.
- Publish on the school district’s website information about filters for each drinking water source and actions necessary to comply with requirements.
SB 520 – Funding for School Districts by Montford – PASSED
The bill holds harmless school districts impacted by Hurricane Michael from a loss of revenue due to a decrease in student enrollment. The bill provides that a special one-time appropriation based on the enrollment difference in FTE students in the October FTE survey and the February FTE survey will be provided to those school districts. The bill specifies the special one-time appropriation is for the Bay County, Calhoun County, Franklin County, Gadsden County, Gulf County, Holmes County, Jackson County, Liberty County, and Washington County school districts. The bill further specifies that the funds calculated shall support a nonrecurring appropriation which is separate from the appropriation for the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) for the affected districts.
SB 982 – Human Trafficking Education by Thurston – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE (CS)
The bill adds information on the dangers and signs of human trafficking to required instruction as a part of comprehensive health education in public schools, and authorizes a student to opt out of such instruction. Subject to appropriation, the bill also requires the Florida Department of Legal Affairs (DLA) to develop campaigns to increase awareness of human trafficking particularly among children and other potentially vulnerable populations.
SB 1342 – Post-Secondary Education by Secondary Students by Stargel – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
The bill expands secondary student access to advanced coursework through dual enrollment and early college programs. With regard to dual enrollment, the bill:
- Revises the grade point average requirement (from 3.0 to 2.5) for student eligibility relating to initial and continued enrollment in college credit dual enrollment courses;
- Prohibits district school boards and Florida College System institutions from limiting the number of students participating in dual enrollment but provides an exception via a waiver approved by the Commissioner;
- Requires private school dual enrollment articulation agreements to include a provision expressing that costs associated with tuition and fees, including registration and laboratory fees, will not be passed along to a student’s private school of enrollment.
- Specifies that instructional materials assigned for use within dual enrollment courses must be made available free of charge to students in home education programs and private schools.
- Reframes the collegiate high school program as an early college acceleration program and revises related requirements, creates a mechanism for awarding bonus funding if certain conditions are met, and specifies reporting requirements for district school superintendents and the Commissioner of Education.
SB 1480 – Civics Education by Stargel – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
The bill requires that instructional materials for the civics education course must be reviewed and approved by the Commissioner in consultation with a variety of organizations that may include, among others, the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship, the Bill of Rights Institute, and Hillsdale College, and in consultation with educators, school administrators, postsecondary education representatives, elected officials, business and industry leaders, parents, and the public. Any errors and inaccuracies the commissioner identifies in state-adopted materials must be corrected. After consulting with such entities and individuals, the commissioner must review the current state-approved civics education course instructional materials and the statewide EOC assessment test specifications and shall make recommendations for improvements to the materials and test specifications by December 31, 2019. By December 31, 2020, the department must complete a review of the statewide civics education course standards.
SB 1594 – Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program by Harrell – PASSED
The bill shifts the method for assessing Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program (VPK) providers from a kindergarten readiness rate based on the results of a screening taken in kindergarten to a program score based on assessments and a screening taken during the VPK school year. The bill eliminates the connection between the kindergarten readiness screening and a student’s VPK provider. The bill also:
- Revises the statewide kindergarten screening to conform to Next Generation Sunshine State Standards for K-12 public school students.
- Removes the Office of Early Learning’s (OEL’s) authority to adopt procedures to calculate the kindergarten readiness rate.
- Authorizes the FDOE to adopt procedures to calculate each public school’s kindergarten readiness rate.
- Requires the OEL to adopt a methodology for calculating each VPK provider’s program score, which must include program assessment scores, developmentally appropriate learning gain data, and the results of the statewide end-of-prekindergarten screening.
- Maintains the responsibility of Early Learning Coalitions (ELCs) and school districts for regulating private and public VPK provider compliance at the county and regional levels.
- Enhances the education standards for VPK by adding specified skills to the list of student skills required to be addressed in performance standards adopted by the OEL, adding certain skills to the required curricula of a VPK provider, and requiring the OEL to adopt standards for training courses for VPK instructors on the performance standards of students.
- Provides for a program assessment that measures the quality of teacher-child interactions.
- Requires each VPK provider to implement an evidence-based pre-and post-prekindergarten assessment to determine developmentally appropriate learning gains.
- Requires the OEL and the DOE to adopt a statewide end-of-prekindergarten screening that assesses the readiness of each student for kindergarten based upon the performance standards adopted by the OEL.
- Outlines consequences for a VPK provider who fails to attain the required minimum program score, including probation, corrective measures, suspension, and good cause exemptions.
In the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee:
SB 342 – Public Records/Voter Registration by Lee – PASSED
The bill makes all information concerning 16- and 17-year-olds who preregister to vote confidential and exempt from public inspection and copying requirements until they reach the age of 18.
SB 838 – Public Records/Mental Health Treatment by Powell – PASSED
The bill makes confidential and exempt pleadings, orders, and personal identifying information on a docket relating to Baker Act proceedings. The information may be disclosed upon request to certain persons involved in the proceedings, certain agencies, or when directed by the court.
In the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee:
HB 587 – Medicaid School Based Services by Andrade — PASSED
The bill aligns current law with the federal Medicaid requirements by removing the requirement that Medicaid recipients receiving services through the Florida Medicaid Certified School Match Program qualify for Part B or H of the IDEA, or for exceptional student services, or have an IEP or IFSP.
In the House Appropriations Committee:
HB 361 – Behavioral Health of Minors by Silvers – PASSED
The implements some of the recommendations from a task force within the Department of Children and Families (DCF) created to address the issue of involuntary examination of minors. The bill:
- Encourages school districts to adopt a standardized suicide assessment tool that school‐based mental health professionals would implement prior to initiation of an involuntary examination; and
- Increases the number of days, from the next working day to five working days that the receiving facility has to submit forms to DCF, to allow DCF to capture data on whether the minor was admitted, released, or a petition filed with the court.
HB 1047 – Government Integrity by Tomkow – PASSED
The bill includes various provisions designed to promote integrity in government and identify and eliminate fraud, waste, abuse, gross mismanagement, and misconduct in government. The bill:
- Creates the Florida Integrity Office under the Auditor General for the purpose of ensuring accountability and integrity in state and local government and facilitating the elimination of fraud, waste, abuse, gross mismanagement, and misconduct in government.
- Requires the Chief Inspector General (CIG) and agency inspectors general to determine whether there is reasonable probability that fraud, waste, abuse, gross mismanagement, or misconduct in government has occurred within six months of initiating an investigation of such activity.
- Provides a mechanism for the state to recover funds when the CIG or an agency inspector general determines a public official, independent contractor, or agency has committed fraud, waste, abuse, gross mismanagement, or misconduct in government.
- Requires the Chief Financial Officer to regularly forward to the Florida Integrity Officer copies of suggestions and information submitted through the state’s ‘Get Lean’ hotline.
- Provides a financial incentive for agency employees to file ‘Whistle-blower’s Act’ complaints and participate in investigations that lead to the recovery of funds.
- Broadens the competitive solicitation exemption for statewide broadcasting of public service announcements.
- Prohibits state or local tax incentive funds from being used to award or pay a state contractor for services provided or expenditures incurred pursuant to a state contract.
- For agency contracts over $50,000, requires a contractor to include in the contract a good faith estimate of gross profit for each year of the contract, provides a process for the agency to review such estimate, and provides financial penalties for a contractor who misrepresents the estimate.
- Prohibits a state employee, other than an agency head, from lobbying for an appropriation and also participating in awarding any contract funded by the appropriation.
- Has a projected annual fiscal impact to the state of approximately $2.5 million to implement the provisions of the bill related to the creation of the Florida Integrity Office under the Auditor General.
HB 1197 – Charter Schools by Fischer – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
As amended, the bill authorizes state universities and Florida College System (FCS) institutions to sponsor charter schools. The bill:
- Provides that a state university may sponsor a charter school to meet regional education or workforce demands by serving students from multiple school districts.
- Provides that a Florida College System institution may sponsor a charter school in any county within its service area to meet workforce demands and may offer postsecondary programs leading to industry certifications to eligible charter school students.
- Provides that students enrolled in a charter school sponsored by a state university or Florida College System institution will be funded as if they are in a basic program or a special program in the school district. The basis for funding these students is the sum of the total operating funds from the Florida Education Finance Program for the school district in which the school is located including gross state and local funds, discretionary lottery funds, and funds from each school district’s current operating discretionary millage levy; divided by total funded weighted full-time equivalent students in the district; and multiplied by the full-time equivalent membership of the charter school.
- Repeals current limitations on charter schools operated by an FCS institution with a teacher preparation program.
- Provides that the board of trustees of a sponsoring state university or FCS intuition is a local educational agency for the purpose of receiving federal funds and accepting responsibility for all requirements in the role.
- Requires the FDOE, in collaboration with charter school sponsors and operators, to develop a sponsor evaluation framework and report results in its annual charter school application report.
- Revises charter school application reporting requirements and submission dates for both sponsors and the DOE.
- Establishes operational funding and capital outlay funding formulas for charter schools sponsored by a state university and FCS institution.