It is likely that Budget Conference Committees will meet today to continue their efforts to work out differences between the House and Senate budgets. Meanwhile, both chambers will hold floor sessions to consider several bills of interest including ongoing consideration of the Senate’s omnibus education bill — SB 7070 – that addresses public and private school choice, facilities, teacher certification, and other issues. Other key bills to be debated today include bills relating to early learning, workforce education, higher education, charter schools, civics education, and taxation. Today’s schedule is posted below and will be updated to show the outcome on these bills and progress on budget negotiations as soon as possible after each meeting concludes.
[toggle title=”House and Senate Floor Sessions – April 25, 2019“]
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 bill numbers linked below provides access the bill summary, analysis, related bills, and other information.
In the Senate Session:
Bills on Special Order (2nd Reading):
SB 7070 – K-12 Education by Education
The Senate adopted three amendments in addition to, or in place of, the provisions outlined in the April 24, 2019 Session Spotlight as follows:
- Revised provisions relating to persistently low-performing schools and schools of hope to provide:
- “Florida Opportunity Zone” means a population census tract that has been designated by the United States Department 12 of the Treasury as a Qualified Opportunity Zone pursuant to 13 Internal Revenue Code.
- “Persistently low-performing school” means a school that has earned three grades lower than a “C” in at least 3 of the previous 5 years and has not earned a grade of “B” or higher in the most recent 2 school years, and a school that was closed pursuant to s. 1008.33(4) within 2 years after the submission of a notice of intent.
- A charter school operated by a hope operator may open a school of hope , a school of hope operator may open a school of hope to serve students who reside in a Florida Opportunity Zone and/or be located in a Florida Opportunity Zone.
- Revised the provisions relating to the number of students that may participate in the Florida Empowerment Scholarship program (FES) and the scholarship amount to provide:
- Beginning in the 2020-2021 school year, the number of students participating in the scholarship program may annually increase by 0.25 percent of the state’s total public school student enrollment.
- The calculated scholarship amount must be based upon the grade level and school district in which the student was assigned as 95% of the funds per unweighted full-time equivalent in the Florida Education Finance Program for a student in the basic program plus a per-full-time equivalent share of funds for all categorical programs, except for the Exceptional Student Education Guaranteed Allocation.
- Revised provisions relating to parent and student responsibilities with regard to the FES to provide that, before enrolling in a private school, a student and his or her parent or guardian must meet with the private school’s principal or the principal’s designee to review the school’s academic programs and policies, customized educational programs, code of student conduct, and attendance policies.
- Revise provisions relating to funds for comprehensive educational plant needs to provide:
- During the 2019-2020 school year, a school district that sustained hurricane damage in the 2018-2019 school year may request funding from the Special Facility Construction Account for a new project before the completion of the district’s participation requirement for an outstanding project.
- Upon construction, the total cost per student station, including change orders, must not exceed the cost per student station unless approved by the Special Facility Construction Committee. At the discretion of the committee, costs that exceed the cost per student station for special facilities may include legal and administrative fees, the cost of site improvements or related 70 offsite improvements, the cost of complying with public shelter 71 and hurricane hardening requirements, cost overruns created by a disaster, costs of security enhancements approved by the school safety specialist, and unforeseeable circumstances beyond the district’s control.
- Restores current language with regard to funds that may not be used to pay for any new construction of education plant space with a total cost per student station that exceeds statutory costs per student station (in effect, this repeals an amendment approved yesterday).
- Revises cost per student station provisions by removing legal and administrative costs, site or offsite improvement costs, the cost of complying with public shelter and hurricane hardening requirements, and the cost of any security enhancements and/or other capital construction items approved by the school safety specialist from the costs included in the cost per student station.
SB 120 – Early Childhood Music Education Incentive Pilot Program by Perry – READ 2ND TIME; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/26/19
The extends the scheduled expiration of the Early Childhood Music Education Incentive Pilot Program from June 30, 2020, to June 30, 2022. The pilot program is contingent upon a legislative appropriation for Fiscal Year 2019-2020.
SB 236 – Public Records and Public Meetings by Book – READ 2ND TIME; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/26/19
The bill maintains the current confidential and exempt nature of complaints or referrals that involve allegations of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct but expands the confidential and exempt nature of such complaints to include circumstances in which the alleged violator seeks to make such records and proceedings public. In effect, this protects the alleged victim as well as the alleged violator. The bill also prohibits the disclosure of the personal identifying information of an alleged victim of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct or any information that could assist an individual in determining the identity of such alleged victim in a portion of a proceeding conducted by the Commission on Ethics (COE) or like local commission which is open to the public. However, such information may be disclosed to another governmental entity in the furtherance of its official duties and responsibilities or to the parties to the allegation and their attorneys. The bill also creates a new public meetings exemption to make exempt any portion of a meeting that would reveal any records involving an allegation of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct.
- SB 1098 – Sales Tax Refund for Eligible Job Training Organizations by Lee – READ 2ND TIME; AMENDED; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/26/19
Provides that an eligible job training organization may apply for a refund of 10 percent of the sales tax the organization remitted to the Department of Revenue (DOR) on its sales of donated goods during the previous state fiscal year.
- Requires the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) to determine an applicant’s eligibility for the sales tax refund and certify the eligibility of organizations that meet the specified requirements.
- Provides that the total amount of sales tax refunds issued may not exceed $2 million in any state fiscal year.
- Limits the use of a sales tax refund issued to an eligible job training organization to the following purposes:
- Growth in employment hours;
- Job training and employment services to low-income persons, individuals who have workplace disadvantages, or individuals with barriers to employment; or
- Job training and employment services for veterans.
- Requires the job training organization to annually report eligibility information to the DEO, including how the previously issued refund was used.
- Authorizes the DOR to audit any refund within four years of the refund and subjects the overpayment of a refund to an ineligible job training organization is subject to repayment and specified interest.
In the House Session:
Bills on Special Order (2nd Reading):
HB 1061 – Funds for the Operation of Schools by Overdorf – READ 2ND TIME; READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE
The bill provides for school districts to receive additional funding through the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) for each student who receives an Advanced Placement Capstone Diploma in addition to a standard high school diploma.
HB 1197 – Charter Schools by Fischer – READ 2ND TIME; AMENDED; READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE
The bill authorizes state universities and Florida College System (FCS) institutions to sponsor charter schools upon approval by the FDOE. The bill:
- Provides that a state university-sponsored charter school may serve students from multiple school districts to meet regional education or workforce demands.
- Provides that a FCS institution sponsored charter may exist in any county within its service area to meet workforce demands.
- Provides that a charter school currently operated by a FCS institution is not eligible to be sponsored by a FCS institution until its existing charter with the school district expires.
- Provides that a state university or FCS institution may, at its discretion, deny an application for a charter school.
- Authorizes a FCS institution-sponsored charter to offer postsecondary programs leading to industry certifications for eligible charter school students.
- Repeals the limitation that a FCS institution that operates an approved teacher preparation program operate no more than one charter school which allows a FCS institution to operate additional charter schools that serve students in grades K-12 and allows that the students served may be in any school district within the service area of the FCS institution.
- Repeals the requirement that the school implement an innovative blended learning instructional model for students in kindergarten through grade 8.
- Prohibits a FCS institution from reporting FTE for any students participating in FCS sponsored charter schools who receive FTE funding through the FEFP.
- Specifies that a board of trustees of a sponsoring state university or FCS institution is the local education agency for all charter schools it sponsors which allows the sponsor to receive federal funds and accept full responsibility for local education agency requirements and the schools it oversees.
- Provides that the performance of a charter school sponsored by a state university or FCS institution will not be included in the school district grade for the district in which the charter school is located.
- Requires the FDOE, in collaboration with charter school sponsors and operators, to develop a sponsor evaluation framework that must address specified elements and requires FDOE to compile the results of the evaluation framework, by sponsor, and add them to its annual charter school sponsor report.
- The bill repeals the requirement that a charter school sponsor report on draft applications it receives, revises the date by which a sponsor must annually report the number of applications it receives, and revises the date by which the FDOE annually reports the number of applications on its website.
- Provides that students enrolled in a charter school sponsored by a state university or FCS institution are to be funded as if they are in a basic program or a special program in the school district and provides that funding for these students as the sum of the total operating funds from the FEFP for the school district in which the school is located and the General Appropriations Act — 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 FTE students in the school district and multiplied by the FTE membership of the charter school. The total obtained by the calculation must be appropriated from state funds in the GAA to the charter school.
- Establishes a capital outlay funding formula for charter schools sponsored by a state university or FCS institution.
- Authorizes charter schools to provide career and professional academies.
HB 807 – Civics Education by Aloupis – READ 2ND TIME; AMENDED; READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE
The bill revises the requirements for middle grades promotion to require that all instructional materials for the required civics education course must be reviewed and approved by the Commissioner of Education, in consultation with organizations that may include, but are not limited to, the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship, the Bill of Rights Institute, Hillsdale College, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, iCivics, and the Constitutional Sources Project, and 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 as provided by law. After consulting with such entities and individuals, the commissioner shall review the current state-approved civics education course instructional materials and the test specifications for the statewide, standardized EOC assessment in civics education and shall make recommendations for improvements to the materials and test specifications by December 31, 2019. By December 31, 2020, the FDOE must complete a review of the statewide civics education course standards. In addition, the bill provides that the hours that a high school student devotes to the Florida Debate Initiative, also known as the Central Florida Debate Initiative, the YMCA Youth and Government program, the American Legion Boys State program, the American Legion Girls State program, or other similar programs approved by the commissioner shall count towards the service work requirement for the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program.
HB 403 – Safety of Religious Institutions by Grall – READ 2ND TIME; AMENDED; READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE
The bill provides that, for the purposes of safety, security, personal protection, or other lawful purposes, a church, a synagogue, or any other religious institution may authorize a person licensed to carry a firearm on property owned, rented, leased, or lawfully used by the church, synagogue, or religious institution.
HB 281 – Public Records/Voters and Voter Registration by Stevenson — READ 2ND TIME; AMENDED; READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE
The bill provides a public records exemption or certain information regarding voters and voter registration. The bill adds to the information that is confidential and exempt from public records requirements to include:
- The telephone number and e-mail address of a voter registration applicant or voter, except that such information shall be made available to, or reproduced only for, the voter registration applicant or voter, an official elected to public office, a canvassing board, and an election official and, for political purposes only, to a political party or official thereof, a candidate, and a registered political committee.
- All information concerning preregistered voter registration applicants who are 16 or 17 years of age.
HB 7123 – Taxation by Ways & Means – READ 2ND TIME; AMENDED; READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE
The bill provides for several tax reductions and other tax-related policy modifications designed to provide tax relief totaling $102 – $114 million. The main tax relief provisions include:
- A reduction in the tax rate for commercial property rentals from 5.7% to 5.35%;
- A three-day “back-to-school” holiday for certain clothing, school supplies, and personal computers; and
- A seven-day “disaster preparedness” holiday for specified disaster preparedness items.
In addition, of particular interest to school districts, the bill:
- Provides, for the purpose of distributing taxes collected via additional millage levied, by local referendum or in a general election, for school operational purposes, pursuant to s. 1011.71, F.S., the term “school operational purposes” includes charter schools sponsored by a school district. Such funds must be shared with charter schools and used in a manner consistent with the purposes of the levy.
- Allows the Department of Revenue (DOR) more flexibility in estimating a county’s level of assessment in one or more assessment years following a natural disaster in counties in which a state of emergency has been declared and to take all practicable steps to maximize the representativeness and reliability of its statistical and analytical reviews and use the best information available to estimate levels of assessment.
- Revises provisions relating to contributions to the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program by taxpayers seeking a credit against insurance premium tax to provide that such a taxpayer may apply for a credit to be used for a prior taxable year before the date the taxpayer is required to file a return for that prior taxable year.
Bills on 3rd Reading:
HB 7103 – Property Development by Commerce – READ 3RD TIME; AMENDED; PASSED THE HOUSE
To fund local infrastructure and expand local services to meet the demands of population growth caused by development, local governments may impose impact fees and concurrency requirements for transportation or public education facilities and infrastructure. Of particular interest to school districts, the bill:
- Amends how local governments impose or give credits for impact fees and clarifies that water and sewer connection fees are not governed as impact fees.
- Requires credits for required contributions for public educational facility development be allocated to reduce applicable impact fees on a dollar-for-dollar basis at fair market value for the entire impact fee imposed rather than just those exactions imposed for a specific educational facility.
- Provides legislative findings about the need for to develop affordable workforce housing and creates a new definition for “essential services personnel” that includes teachers or other education personnel
HB 441 – 911 Services by DuBose — READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE
The bill seeks to implement recommendations of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission. As amended, the bill:
- Requires each county to develop a countywide implementation plan addressing text-to-911 services and enact the plan by January 1, 2022.
- Requires the Technology Program within the Department of Management Services (Office) to develop a plan by February 1, 2020, to upgrade 911 public safety answering points (PSAP) within the state to allow the transfer of an emergency call from one local, multijurisdictional, or regional E911 system to another local, multijurisdictional, or regional E911 system in the state.
- Requires each sheriff, in collaboration with all first responder agency heads in his or her county, to facilitate the development and execution of written interlocal agreements between all primary first responder agencies within the county.
- Provides that each such agreement must:
- Establish written protocols that outline circumstances and public safety emergencies under which a PSAP will directly provide notice of an emergency by radio to the on-duty personnel of a first responder agency for which the PSAP does not provide primary dispatch functions.
- Require the PSAP to have direct radio contact with primary first responder agencies and their dispatchers, for which the PSAP may reasonably receive 911 communications, without having to transfer a 911 communication to another PSAP or dispatch center for dispatch.
- Provides that each PSAP must be capable of immediately broadcasting 911 communications or public safety information over the primary radio dispatch channels of each first responder agency in the county it serves, where the PSAP may reasonably receive 911 calls in the first responder’s service area. If a county or jurisdiction has multiple PSAPs, each PSAP must have this capability
HB 7071 – Workforce Education by Higher Education & Career Readiness – READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE
The bill promotes apprenticeships, enhances talent development, and increases career opportunities for Floridians. The bill:
- Creates the “Strengthening Alignment between Industry and Learning to 60” Initiative and establishing a statewide attainment goal to increase the percentage of working-age adults who hold a high-value postsecondary certificate, degree, or training experience to 60 percent by the year 2030.
- Revises the school grades formula to recognize career certificate clock hour dual enrollment and establishing formal career dual enrollment agreements between high schools and career centers.
- Allows students with an industry certification to earn two mathematics credits for Algebra I.
- Allows a computer science credit to substitute for a mathematics or science credit and requiring a biennial review of career education courses for alignment with high school graduation requirements.
- Requires the Department of Education (DOE) to provide assistance in increasing public awareness of apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship opportunities.
- Requires the Commissioner of Education to annually review career and technical education course offerings.
- Establishes a “College and Career Decision Day” to recognize high school seniors for their postsecondary education and career plans.
- Doubles the cap on career and professional education Digital Tool certificates.
- Establishes a middle grades career planning course requirement.
- Revises requirements relating to adjunct teaching certificates.
- Reconstitutes the Higher Education Coordinating Council as the Florida Talent Development Council, revising its membership, and requiring the council to develop a strategic plan.
- Creates the Florida Pathways to Career Opportunities Grant Program to provide, subject to appropriation, competitive grants to expand and enhance apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs.
- Requires the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, in consultation with the DOE, to submit a report by December 1, 2019, regarding apprenticeship programs that could substitute for the educational training otherwise required for licensure.
- Requires the statewide articulation agreement to provide for a reverse transfer agreement.
- Requires career centers and Florida College System (FCS) institutions with overlapping service areas to execute regional career pathways agreements.
- Requires each school district and FCS institution receiving state workforce education funds to maintain adequate and accurate records and revising the calculation methodology for determining state funding for workforce education programs.
- Requires, beginning with the 2019-2020 school year, all school districts to offer a financial literacy course consisting of at least one-half credit as an elective.
HB 259 – Comprehensive Health Education by Williams – READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE
- Revises the required comprehensive health education curriculum for K-12 public schools to include instruction on the dangers and signs of human trafficking and techniques to recognize and respond to child abuse and deletes a requirement that such health education include specified information relating to teen dating violence and abuse and information relating to healthy relationships.
- Provides that, with parental consent, a student may opt out of portions of comprehensive health education.
- Requires each school district to develop a cardiac emergency response plan for implementation at each public school operated by the district. The plan must include a school’s response to sudden cardiac arrest experienced by a student or other individual on school grounds and an automated external defibrillator and maintenance plan if a school has equipment. The AED maintenance plan must include a review of the status of AEDs in school facilities at least once every 3 years.
[toggle title=”Education Budget Conference Committee Update“]
The PreK-12 Education Budget Conference Committee met twice today, and, although there has been progress in aligning portions of the proviso language of the budget, there is still not much more clarity with regard to FEFP funding beyond what we have already reported. This afternoon, the House presented House Offer #1 on Proviso language and House Offer #1 on the education related portions of the budget implementing bill. This evening, the Senate responded to these offers and presented Senate Offer #2 on the Budget. These documents are provided below.