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 bills relating to mental health, personnel, workforce education, and elections. 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.
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 342 – Public Records/Voters & Voter Registration by Lee – READ 2ND TIME; SUBSTITUTED FOR HB 281; SB 342 LAID ON THE TABLE
HB 281 – Public Records/Voters & Voter Registration by Stevenson – SUBSTITUTED FOR SB 342; READ 2ND TIME; READ 3RD TIME; FAILED; MOTION TO RECONSIDER APPROVED; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/29/19
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.
SB 838 – Public Records/Mental Health Treatment by Powell — READ 2ND TIME; READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE SENATE
The bill creates a new public records exemption to provide that all petitions for voluntary and involuntary admission for mental health treatment, court orders, and related records filed with or by a court are confidential and exempt from public records requirements. The pleadings and other documents may be disclosed by the clerk of court, upon request, to certain persons or agencies, such as the petitioner, the respondent and their legal representatives, as well as the Department of Corrections and Department of Children and Families. The bill provides that records made confidential and exempt from public disclosure can be submitted by the clerk of the court to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement as required by law.
SB 1418 – Mental Health by Powell – READ 2ND TIME; READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE SENATE
Requires service providers to disclose information from a clinical record to the extent necessary to warn any potential victim and to communicate the threat to a law enforcement agency if a patient or client has communicated to the service provider a specific threat to cause serious bodily injury or death to an identified or readily available person, and the service provider makes a judgment that the patient or client has the apparent intent and ability to imminently or immediately carry out such threat.
- Provides that disclosure of confidential communications by a service provider when communicating a threat may not be the basis of any legal action or criminal or civil liability against such person.
- Revises deadlines for submission of documentation regarding involuntary examinations.
- Requires the FDOE to develop a list of approved youth suicide awareness and prevention training materials and suicide screening instruments that may be used for training in youth suicide awareness, suicide prevention, and suicide screening for instructional personnel in elementary school, middle school, and high schools.
- Requires FDOE to keep an updated record of all Suicide Prevention Certified Schools and post the list of these schools on the department’s website.
- Requires each school to post on its own website whether it is a Suicide Prevention Certified School, and each school district to post on its district website a list of the Suicide Prevention Certified Schools in that district.
Bills on 3rd Reading:
SB 120 – Early Childhood Music Education Incentive Pilot Program by Perry – READ 3rd TIME; PASSED THE SENATE
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 3rd TIME; PASSED THE SENATE
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 3RD TIME; PASSED THE SENATE
- 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 1127 – Educational Employees/Disqualification by Duggan – READ 2ND TIME; AMENDED; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/29/19
As amended, the bill:
- Requires that, in addition to existing offenses that may disqualify individuals from employment, FDOE maintain a disqualification list, which must include the following:
- oIndividuals whose educator certificates have been permanently revoked by a panel of the Education Practices Commission, and
- oIndividuals who were owners or operators of a private school whose authority to establish or operate a private school in this state has been permanently denied or revoked by the Commissioner of Education.
- Provides that a person is ineligible for educator certification or employment in any position that requires direct contact with students in a district school system, charter school, or private school that participates in a state scholarship program if the person is on the disqualification list, is registered as a sex offender, or has been convicted of specified felony offenses, misdemeanor offenses, criminal acts, or delinquent acts.
- Provides that an individual on the disqualification list may not serve or apply to serve as an employee or contracted personnel at any public school or private school in this state and an individual who violates this provision commits a felony of the third degree.
- Revises the requirement that the FDOE maintain a computer database of persons whose employment has been terminated to include in the database those who resigned in lieu of termination or during the course of an investigation.
- Provides that FDOE must provide authorized staff of school districts, charter schools, the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, and private schools that accept scholarship students who participate in a state scholarship program with access to electronic verification database that includes:
- The Professional Practices’ Database of Disciplinary Actions Against Educators;
- The Department of Education’s Teacher Certification Database;
- The Department of Education’s computer database of certain persons whose employment was terminated or who resigned in lieu of termination or during the course of an investigation; and
- The Department of Education’s disqualification list.
- Provides that, before recommending any individual to the district school board for employment, the district school superintendent must check the database and, if the prospective employee is in the database, the district school superintendent must document the individual’s suitability for employment at a public school within the school district.
- Provides that, before making an offer of employment, a charter school must check the database and, if the prospective employee is in the database, the charter school must document the individual’s suitability for employment at the school.
- The private school participating in a state scholarship program must deny employment to any individual whose educator certificate is revoked, who is barred from reapplying for an educator certificate, or who is on the disqualification list maintained by the FDOE.
- Provides that, before making an offer of employment, the private school must check the database and, if the prospective employee is in the database, the private school must document the individual’s suitability for employment at the school.
- Provides that the commissioner may permanently deny or revoke the authority of an owner or operator to establish or operate a private school in this state if the commissioner decides that the owner or operator is operating or has operated an educational institution in this state or another state or jurisdiction in a manner contrary to the health, safety, or welfare of the public, and shall include such individuals on the disqualification list maintained by the department.
- Provides that an elected or appointed school board official forfeits his or her salary for 1 year for failure to report the disqualification of personnel or administrators for misconduct that meets the definition of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect to the central abuse hotline.
- Provides that a superintendent forfeits his or her salary for 1 year for failure to report or act on reports of misconduct.
- Requires superintendents to report individuals that meet criteria for termination.
- Adds to the information that each district school board, charter school, and private school that participates in a state scholarship program must post in a prominent place to include directions for accessing the FDOE’s website for more information on reporting acts that violate s. 800.101, F.S., relating to offenses against students by authority figures.
HB 189 – Postsecondary Education for Secondary Students by Zika – READ 2ND TIME; AMENDED; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/29/19
As amended, the bill:
- Renames “collegiate high school programs” as “early college acceleration programs” and expands the programs from 1 to 2 years.
- Requires the programs be made available to students in grades 11 and 12 and specifies that they must include an option for a student to graduate from high school with an associate degree. Prohibits district school boards and Florida College System (FCS) institutions from limiting the number of eligible students who may enroll in dual enrollment programs, including early college programs, unless a 1-year waiver is granted by the Commissioner of Education.
- Deletes the requirement for a separate early college program contract and requires each dual enrollment articulation agreement between a FCS institution and a school district to establish an early college program.
- Authorizes district school boards to establish an early college program with a state university or an eligible institution and authorizes charter and private schools to establish an early college program with a state college, state university, or other eligible postsecondary institution.
- Requires each district school board, by September 1, 2020, and annually thereafter, to post on its website information regarding earning college credit through the early college program and the associated cost savings.
- Requires the FDOE, by November 30, 2020, and annually thereafter, to post on its website information regarding the status of early college programs.
- Requires each postsecondary institution, beginning September 1, 2020, and annually thereafter, to report information regarding each dual enrollment articulation agreement it has entered into during the previous year to the Commissioner of Education.
- Requires dual enrollment instructional materials be provided to home education and private school students at no cost. An articulation agreement between a public postsecondary institution and a private school must express that costs associated with tuition and fees, including registration and laboratory fees, and instructional materials will not be passed along to the student’s private school of enrollment.
- Requires the dual enrollment transfer guarantees statement developed by FDOE to include English and mathematics courses that require a grade of C or higher to measure student achievement in college-level communication and computation skills, pursuant to state board rule.
- Provides that, subject to annual appropriation in the General Appropriations Act, a public postsecondary institution that uses technology to provide dual enrollment courses on the institution’s campus or on the high school site and has a total number of dual enrollment students that meets or exceeds 25% of the institution’s total FTE or total headcount enrollment shall receive an appropriation in an amount equivalent to the statewide average cost of a fulltime faculty member’s salary and benefits. The institution shall receive an additional appropriation in the same amount for each 100 students served above the 25% threshold.
- Provides, for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the sum of 5 $550,000 to the FDOE for the purpose of implementing the dual enrollment provisions of the bill.
HB 533 – Disposition of Surplus Funds by Candidates by Payne – READ 2ND TIME; AMENDED; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/29/19
As amended, the bill revises provisions relating to the disposition of surplus funds by a candidate to a charitable organization to provide that the candidate may not be employed by the charitable organization to which he or she donates the funds.
The PreK-12 Education Budget Conference Committee met for the last time this morning. Today, the Senate presented Senate Offer #1 on Proviso language and Senate Offer #1 on the education related portions of the budget implementing bill. The Committee recessed briefly to allow the House and Senate members of the Committee to confer on these Offers and then reconvened to accept or decline the offers. As with our previous updates this week, although there has been progress in aligning portions of the budget, proviso, and implementing language, there is still not much more clarity with regard to FEFP funding beyond what we have already reported. The Committee agreed that all remaining issues would be “bumped” to the chairs of the House and Senate Appropriations Committee — Representative Hutson and Senator Bradley – who did not meet Friday, but are expected to meet over the weekend.