As we enter the final two weeks of the Legislative Session, bills and amendments will move even more quickly. In some cases, the deadline for publishing committee meeting agendas may not be available until the evening prior to these meetings, making it more difficult for us to provide a complete list of bills that will be under consideration the next day. Also, as bills and/or certain provisions are being mixed and matched onto other bills, it becomes harder for us to provide up-to-the-minute information about which bills have which provisions. We will do our best to share this information in a timely manner via our Twitter Feed. As always, at the end of each day, we will provide a recap of the day’s meetings and bill action here in our Session Spotlight. In addition, we are developing a series of reference cards with the key elements of each of the major bills of interest that you may wish to support and/or discuss with your legislators. We hope to have the first few reference cards available tomorrow (Monday).
In the meantime, below we have posted the schedule of meetings and bills that will be under consideration tomorrow. Please note that HB 773 relating to assessments is among the bills that will be under consideration and we have provided a detailed summary of the bill below.
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Please note that all of the meetings listed below may be viewed via live webcast on the Florida Channel. For real-time updates on these meetings and other legislative activities, please click HERE to access our Twitter feed.
The House Government Accountability Committee will meet (9:00 am-1:30 pm; 17 HOB) to consider the following item and others:
HB 843 — Meetings Between Two Members of Board or Commission by Donalds
The bill authorizes two members of any board or commission, including persons elected or appointed to such board or commission who have not yet taken office, of any state agency or authority or any agency or authority of any county, municipal corporation, or political subdivision with a total membership of at least five members to meet in private and discuss public business without providing notice of such meeting or recording the meeting. Such meetings are exempt from open meetings requirements if:
- The members do not adopt a resolution or rule to take any other formal action, or agree to do so at a future meeting, at such meeting. A resolution or rule adopted, or any other formal action taken, in violation of this prohibition is void.
- The members do not discuss an appropriation, a contract, or any other public business that involves the direct expenditure of public funds to a private vendor.
- The meeting is not intended to frustrate or circumvent the purpose of the open meetings laws.
The bill provides for repeal of the exemption on October 2, 2022, unless reviewed and saved from repeal through reenactment by the Legislature. [NOTE: This is the second of two committees of reference for this bill. The Senate companion bill – SB 1004 – is similar but has not been heard in any of three committees of reference.]
The House Education Committee will meet (2:00-5:00 pm; 102 HOB) to consider the following items and others:
HB 265 – Computer Coding Instruction by Porter
The bill amends the law to more closely align state policy to the Southern Regional Education Board’s recommendations concerning computer science education. The bill promotes student access to education in computer science and related fields by requiring the Articulation Coordinating Committee to develop recommendations that identify:
- High school courses in computer science, including computer coding and computer programming, which may be used to satisfy state university admissions requirements for math and science.
- Common academic and technical skills needed for students to help meet projected labor market demands in computer science, information technology, and related fields in Florida.
- How middle and high school students, including underrepresented and nontraditional students, can be encouraged to pursue further studies and careers in computer science, information technology, and related fields.
- Secondary course sequences which prepare students to succeed in postsecondary educational programs in computer science, information technology, and related fields.
- Gaps in current policy, curricula, programs, and practices that inhibit students from pursuing postsecondary education and careers in computer science and related fields.
- Appropriate educator qualifications and computer science pedagogy to maintain technologically current instructional knowledge and practices in teacher preparation programs.
- Common definitions for terms related to computer science, including terms such as computer coding and computer programming, for consistent use across the Florida K-20 education system.
The committee must report its recommendations to the BOG and the Legislature by December 31, 2018. In addition, the bill requires the Commissioner to identify high school-level courses that incorporate the computer science standards in the Course Code Directory by June 30, 2018 and requires DOE to provide annual reports to the BOG and the Legislature that identify:
- The courses identified in the Course Code Directory pursuant by the commissioner in accordance with the bill;
- The number of students, by district, including the FLVS, who are enrolled in a course so identified; and
- The number of individuals who hold a valid educator certificate in computer science or a related field.
The bill also requires the state board to consult with the BOG and school districts to develop strategies for:
- Recruiting qualified teachers to provide computer science instruction;
- Updating computer science educator certification requirements;
- Providing appropriate professional development to maintain technologically current instructional knowledge and practices in the school districts; and
- Identifying and streamlining traditional and alternative pathways toward computer science educator certification.
If a student enrolls in an identified course that satisfies any FCS or SUS admission requirements for mathematics, or science, the bill requires the school district to notify the student that he or she should contact any out-of-state or private postsecondary institution to which the student is applying and inquire whether the course credit satisfies any of the institution’s admissions requirements. [NOTE: This is the second of two committees of reference for this bill. The Senate companion bill – SB 104 – is comparable and has passed one of two committees of reference. Also note that SB 104 allows students to take computer coding courses of sufficient rigor such that two credits in those courses and the earning of a related industry certification satisfies two credits in sequential foreign language instruction.]
HB 773 – K-12 Student Assessments by M. Diaz
The bill revises and adds to existing provisions relating to assessments. The bill:
- Requires that beginning with the 2017-2018 school year the ELA assessment in grades 3 through 10 and the mathematics assessment in grades 3 through 8 to be administered no earlier than the last 3 weeks of the school year. The bill specifies that the testing window for these assessments may be no longer than 3 weeks and exempts the 3rd grade “Reading” assessment from the requirements of the bill. The bill does not expressly include state EOC assessments under these requirements.
- Requires that under any new contract for the statewide, standardized ELA and mathematics assessments entered into after July 1, 2017, the assessments must be made available quarterly for students who have been identified through competency-based education as having mastered the content and who are prepared to take the applicable assessment.
- Requires that, beginning with any contract for the statewide, standardized ELA and mathematics assessments entered into after July 1, 2017, “achievement level 3 shall be defined as proficient for each new assessment.” It is unclear whether the effect of the provision is to nominally equate “proficient” with “satisfactory” or to require that a Level 3 score signify the attainment of higher achievement standards. According to the Department of Education, if the Level 3 cut point is aligned to the NAEP “Proficient” level, the percentage of students passing assessments required for graduation would decrease from 51 percent to 36 percent.
- Requires that the results of the statewide, standardized ELA and mathematics assessments be reported in an “easy-to read and understandable” format to each student’s current teacher of record and to each student’s teacher of record for the subsequent school year before the start of the school year. The report must include, at a minimum:
- A clear explanation of the student’s performance on the applicable assessments;
- Information identifying the student’s areas of strength and areas in need of improvement;
- Specific actions that may be taken, and the available resources that may be used, by the student’s parent to assist the student based on his or her areas of strength and areas in need of improvement;
- Longitudinal information, if available, on the student’s progress in each subject area based on previous statewide, standardized assessment data;
- Comparative information showing the student’s score compared to other students in the school district, in the state or, if available, in other states; and
- Predictive information, if available, showing the linkage between the scores attained by the student on the statewide, standardized assessments and the scores he or she may potentially attain on nationally recognized college entrance examinations.
- Requires that a student’s performance on a district-required local assessment be provided to the student’s teacher within 7 days after the assessment was administered.
- Requires the commissioner to review the SAT and ACT to determine their alignment with the core curricular content for high school-level ELA and mathematics established in the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards. The commissioner must submit a report with the results of the review to the Governor, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the State Board of Education by December 1, 2017.
[NOTE: This is the third of three committees of reference for this bill. The Senate companion bill – SB 926 – is comparable, has passed all
committees of reference, and is on the Senate Calendar on 2nd Reading. In addition, another House bill — HB 549 – is comparable, has passed all committees of reference, and is on the House Calendar on 2nd Reading.]
The House Judiciary Committee will meet (2:00-5:00 pm; 404 HOB) to consider the following item and others:
HB 697 — Federal Immigration Enforcement by Metz
The bill creates the “Rule of Law Adherence Act” (Act) to require state and local governments and law enforcement agencies, including their officials and employees, to support and cooperate with federal immigration enforcement. Specifically, the bill:
- Prohibits a state or local governmental entity or law enforcement agency from having a law, policy, practice, procedure, or custom which impedes a law enforcement agency from communicating or cooperating with a federal immigration agency on immigration enforcement;
- Prohibits any restriction on a state or local governmental entity or law enforcement agency’s ability to use, maintain, or exchange immigration information for certain enumerated purposes; Requires a state or local governmental entity and law enforcement agency to comply with and support the enforcement of federal immigration law;
- Provides procedures for a law enforcement agency and court to follow when an arrested person cannot provide proof of lawful presence in the United States or is subject to an immigration detainer;
- Requires any sanctuary policies currently in effect be repealed within 90 days of the effective date of the Act;
- Authorizes a board of county commissioners to enact an ordinance to recover costs for complying with an immigration detainer;
- Requires an official or employee of a state or local governmental entity or law enforcement agency to report a violation of the Act to the Attorney General or state attorney, failure to report a violation may result in suspension or removal from office;
- Authorizes the Attorney General or a state attorney to seek an injunction against a state or local governmental entity or law enforcement agency that violates the Act;
- Requires a state or local governmental entity or law enforcement agency that violates the Act to pay a civil penalty of at least $1,000 but no more than $5,000 for each day the policy was in effect;
- Creates a civil cause of action for a person injured by the conduct of an alien unlawfully present in the United States against a state or local governmental entity or law enforcement agency whose violation of the Act contributed to the person’s injury;
- Prohibits the expenditure of public funds to reimburse or defend a public official or employee who violates the Act; and
- Suspends state grant funding eligibility for 5 years for a state government or local government entity or law enforcement agency that violates the Act.
[NOTE: This is the third of three committees of reference for this bill. The Senate companion bill – SB 786 – is similar but has not been heard in any of four committees of reference.]
The Senate Governmental Oversight & Accountability Committee will meet (3:00-4:30 pm; 401 SOB) to consider the following items and others:
SB 856 – Education/Contracts for Instructional Personnel by Broxson
The bill clarifies that a district school board must issue contracts on an annual basis to instructional personnel hired on or after July 1, 2011, by specifying that the district school board may not:
- Award an annual contract based on a contingency or condition that is not expressed in s. 1012.335, F.S.; or
- Alter or limit its authority to award or not award an annual contract as provided in s. 1012.335, F.S.
In addition, the bill specifies that the provisions enumerated above only apply to collective bargaining agreements entered into or renewed by a district school board on or after this legislation is enacted. Accordingly, instructional personnel hired after the effective date of this bill may not be awarded an annual contract based on a contingency or condition that is not currently authorized in law. [NOTE: This is the third of three committees of reference for this bill. The House companion bill – HB 373 – is identical, has passed all committees of reference, has passed the House, and has been sent to the Senate for consideration.]
SB 7030 – Retirement by Governmental Oversight and Accountability
The bill revises and adds to provisions of the Florida Retirement System. The bill:
- Changes the default retirement plan election from the pension plan to the investment plan for employees hired on or after January 1, 2018 who do not affirmatively select a retirement plan prior to the last business day of the fifth month following the member’s month of hire. This change does not impact the ability of a new employee to choose between the pension plan and the investment plan.
- Authorizes renewed membership in FRS for certain retirees of the investment plan, Senior Management Optional Annuity Program (SMSOAP), State University System Optional Retirement Plan (SUSORP) or the State Community College System Optional Retirement Plan (SCCSORP) and requires that certain retirees who are employed on or after July 1, 2017 become renewed members in the investment plan, SUSORP or the SCCSORP, as applicable, to the renewed member. Such renewed member will be a member of the appropriate membership class in the investment plan, unless employed in a position eligible for participation in the SUSORP or the SCCSORP, in which case the retiree will become a renewed member of the applicable optional retirement program.
- Effective July 1, 2017, closes the SMSOAP to new participants.
- Effective July 1, 2017, provides survivor benefits for the spouse or child(ren) of an investment plan member whose death was in the line of duty since July 1, 2002. It provides the same survivor benefits to the spouse and children of such member as those currently provided for pension plan members who are killed in the line of duty. The investment plan survivor benefits program is funded by additional employer-paid contributions to the survivor benefits account of the FRS Trust Fund.
- Does not provide renewed FRS membership for any pension plan retirees and:
- Prohibits employees and employers from paying funds into a renewed member’s investment plan or optional retirement program account for the period July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2017 when the FRS was closed to renewed membership;
- Requires employers and renewed members to make applicable membership class contributions to the renewed member’s FRS Investment Plan account;
- Provides that creditable service does not accrue for a renewed member’s employment in a regularly established position with a covered FRS employer from July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2017 and prohibits the payment of past service in the investment plan;
- Allows renewed investment plan members who have not accrued the maximum health insurance subsidy to earn additional credit towards the health insurance subsidy benefit;
- Provides that renewed members must meet the vesting requirements of the plan in which they become renewed members;
- Provides that renewed members are ineligible to receive disability benefits; and,
- Provides that renewed member is not eligible to switch to the pension plan once renewed membership in the investment plan or optional retirement program is effectuated.
- Provides that any condition or impairment of the health of a firefighter employed full-time by a state or local government which is caused by multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, prostate cancer or testicular cancer and results in total or partial disability or death is presumed to have been accidental and to have been suffered in the line of duty unless the contrary is shown by competent evidence.
- Provides the allocations from the Florida Retirement System Contributions Clearing Trust Fund to provide in-line-of-duty death benefits and the required employer contribution rate to fund the benefit changes provided in the bill.
[NOTE: This is a Proposed Committee Bill (PCB) offered for consideration. There is no direct House companion bill, but HB 5007 addresses the Florida Retirement System and is included among the budget conference package.]