As we enter what is scheduled to be the last week of the 2019 Legislative Session, new procedural rules will kick in that will make the schedule both hectic and unpredictable. During this week in floor sessions, both chambers will focus on bills on 2nd and/or 3rd Reading, on bills passed back and forth in Messages from the other chamber, and on Budget Conference Committee Reports. Because the agenda will be shifting often, some bills may come up for consideration that are not listed in our schedule below, but we will continue to do our best to keep you informed.
Budget negotiations continued over the weekend and it appears that most, if not all, PreK-12 budget issues have been resolved even though some decisions have not been apparent in the exchange of budget offers. We have provided an update on the outcome of these budget negotiations in the file below. As of this writing, no further Budget Conference Committee meetings have been scheduled for today.
The major bill of interest under consideration today is the omnibus school choice/certification/Best & Brightest/accountability/facilities bill — SB 7070. This bill was amended and passed the Senate last week and was sent to the House for consideration and was placed on the Special Order Calendar in the House for today. Dozens of amendments were proposed for consideration on this 2nd Reading of the bill, but none were approved. We have done our best to sort through amendments made to this bill by the Senate last week week and have attempted to capture those changes in an UNOFFICIAL summary of the bill as it stands today. That summary is available HERE.]
Other bills of interest on today’s schedule include the omnibus SB 7070 (mentioned above), school safety, emergency communications, mental health, elections, postsecondary issues, curriculum, and personnel. Today’s schedule is posted in the file below and will be updated to show the outcome on these bills as soon as possible after the floor sessions conclude.
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 1272 – Anti-Semitism – READ 2ND TIME; SUBSTITUTED FOR HB 741; SB 1272 LAID ON THE TABLE
HB 741 – Anti-Semitism by Fine – SUBSTITUTED FOR SB 1272; READ 2ND TIME; READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE SENATE; PASSED THE LEGISLATURE
The Florida Educational Equality Act (FEEA) requires equal access to, and prohibits discrimination against, any student or employee of the state’s K-20 public education system on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, or marital status. The bill:
- Amends the FEEA to add religion as a protected class with regard to discrimination against students and employees in Florida’s K-20 public education system. The bill requires a public K-20 educational institution to treat discrimination by students or employees or resulting from institutional policies motivated by anti-Semitism in an identical manner to discrimination motivated by race.
- Amends the FEEA to add a definition of anti-Semitism similar to the definition adopted by the U.S. Department of State’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.
- Amends s. 1002.20, F.S., relating to K-12 student and parent rights, to add religion as a protected class in all K-12 education programs, activities, and opportunities, in accordance with the provisions of the FEEA.
- Includes legislative intent that the new law defining anti-Semitism may not diminish or infringe upon any right protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, or the Florida Constitution, and prohibits construction of the law in conflict with federal or state discrimination laws.
SB 464 – Prepaid College Plans by Flores — READ 2ND TIME; SUBSTITUTED FOR HB 547; SB 464 LAID ON THE TABLE
HB 547 – Stanley G. Tate Florida Prepaid College Program by Clemons — SUBSTITUTED FOR SB 464; READ 2ND TIME; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/30/19
- Authorizes a state university to transfer Stanley G. Tate Florida Prepaid College Program related Dormitory Residence Plan funds to a qualified nonprofit organization.
- Defines a qualified nonprofit organization as an organization under s. 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code, which provides one or more dormitories, or residency opportunities to students enrolled full-time in a state university or FCS institution, primarily supports students that lack financial resources, and has been approved by the board for inclusion in the plan. Requires that the amount transferred may not exceed the average fees charged for state university or FCS institution dormitory fees.
- Revises the membership of the board of directors for Florida Prepaid College Board’s direct-support organization.
SB 536 – 911 Services by Brandes — READ 2ND TIME; SUBSTITUTED FOR HB 441; SB 536 LAID ON THE TABLE
HB 441 – 911 Services by DuBose — SUBSTITUTED FOR SB 356; READ 2ND TIME; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/30/19
- Requires the Technology Program within the Department of Management Services to develop a plan by February 1, 2020, to upgrade 911 public safety answering points (PSAPs) 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.
- Specifies that this transfer capability should include voice, text message, image, video, caller identification information, location information, and additional standards-based 911 call information.
- Requires the development and implementation of communications systems that allow direct radio communication between each PSAP and first responders outside the PSAP’s normal service area.
- Requires each county to develop a plan to implement countywide text-to-911 service and, by January 1, 2022, to enact a system that allows for text-to-911 service.
SB 1164 – Post-Secondary Fee Waivers by Gainer — READ 2ND TIME; SUBSTITUTED FOR HB 593; SB 1164 LAID ON THE TABLE
HB 593 – Postsecondary Fee Waivers by Trumbull — SUBSTITUTED FOR SB 1164; READ 2ND TIME; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/30/19
The bill authorizes Florida College System (FCS) institutions that serve counties directly impacted by a hurricane, and who experience an enrollment decrease by more than 10 percent as a result, to waive out-of-state fees for a period of 3 years, beginning 180 days after the date the hurricane first impacted counties served by the institution. FCS students who qualify for the waiver are eligible to receive the waiver for up to 110 percent of the total number of credit hours required for the degree or certificate program in which the student is enrolled. In order to remain eligible for the fee waiver, a student may not disenroll from the institution for more than one semester. Each FCS institution is required to report to the State Board of Education the number and value of all fee waivers granted annually. Out-of-state students enrolled at a FCS institution utilizing the fee waiver, may not be included in the enrollment totals for these institutions by the Education Estimating Conference on FCS Enrollment.
Bills on 3rd Reading:
HB 281 – Public Records/Voters & Voter Registration by Stevenson — READ 3RD TIME; AMENDED; PASSED THE SENATE; IN RETURNING MESSAGES TO THE HOUSE
As amended, the bill provides that all information concerning preregistered voter registration applicants who are 16 or 17 years of age is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1), F.S., and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution and may be used only for purposes of voter registration. This provision is subject to the Open Government Sunset Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15, F.S., and shall stand repealed on October 2, 8 2024, unless reviewed and saved from repeal through reenactment by the Legislature.
In the House Session:
Bills on Special Order (2nd Reading):
SB 292 – Education/Graduation Ceremony by Lee – READ 2ND TIME; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/30/19
The bill provides that a district school board may not prohibit a student from lawfully wearing the dress uniform of any of the Armed Forces of the United States or of the state at his or her graduation ceremony.
SB 318 – Child Abuse, Abandonment, and Neglect by Montford — READ 2ND TIME; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/30/19
The bill expands the public records exemption that protects the name of a reporter of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect to also include other identifying information. Such information would be confidential and exempt, and would only be released to specified persons, officials, and agencies specified in law.
SB 1080 – Hazing by Book — READ 2ND TIME; AMENDED; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/30/19
The bill amends statutory provisions relating to the crime of hazing occurring on the post-secondary level (Section 1006.63, F.S.), but may have implications on the PreK-12 level (Section 1006.135, F.S.) As amended, the bill:
- Amends and reorganizes the definition of hazing on the post-secondary level to include:
- Initiation, admission, or affiliation into or with any organization operating under the sanction of a postsecondary institution; and
- The perpetration or furtherance of a tradition or ritual.
- Creates a third degree felony hazing crime under circumstances where the victim sustains a permanent injury from the hazing.
- Expands the current protection of persons who are members of or applicants to a student organization from hazing to include a person who is a former member of the organization.
- Provides that persons who solicit others to commit the crime of hazing or who plan any act of hazing may be prosecuted as if they actively participated in the hazing event
- Provides that, if the hazing results in a permanent injury to the victim, the crime is a third degree felony.
- Provides that a person may not be prosecuted for the crime of hazing if he or she establishes all of the following:
- That he or she was present at an event where, as a result of hazing, a person appeared to be in need of immediate medical assistance.
- That he or she was the first person to call 911 or campus security to report the need for immediate medical assistance.
- That he or she provided his or her own name, the address where immediate medical assistance was needed, and a description of the medical issue to the 911 operator or campus security at the time of the call.
- That he or she remained at the scene with the person in need of immediate medical assistance until such medical assistance, law enforcement, or campus security arrived and that he or she cooperated with such personnel on the scene.
- Provides that a person is immune from prosecution if the person establishes that, before medical assistance, law enforcement, or campus security arrived on the scene of a hazing event, the person rendered aid to the hazing victim.
- Provides that provisions providing protections from prosecution for the crime of hazing may be cited as “Andrew’s Law”
SB 190 – Higher Education by Stargel — READ 2ND TIME; AMENDED; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/30/19
The bill was amended by a strike-all amendment that focuses on postsecondary capital outlay funding policies and related funding issues. The strike-all removed any provisions that directly relate to PreK-12 education.
SB 7070 – K-12 Education by Education — READ 2ND TIME; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 4/30/19
[NOTE: As mentioned above, dozens of amendments were proposed for consideration in the House on this 2nd Reading of the bill, but none were approved. We have done our best to sort through amendments made to this bill by the Senate last week and have attempted to capture those changes in an UNOFFICIAL summary of the bill as it stands today. That summary is available HERE.]
Bills on 3rd Reading:
HB 189 – Postsecondary Education for Secondary Students by Zika – READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE
- 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 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE
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.
Budget negotiations continued over the weekend between Senate Appropriations Committee chair, Senator Rob Bradley, and House Appropriations Committee chair, Representative Travis Cummings. The chairs met on Saturday and Sunday evening, but PreK-12 education funding was only addressed on Sunday evening. The House presented House Bump Offer #1 and the Senate agreed to the House offer. This closed all of the remaining early learning, non-FEFP, and State Board of Education budget items. There were also some adjustments to the funding sources for the FEFP, but the total FEFP allocation was unchanged. The chairs then announced that, although some budget issues in other funding areas will be bumped up to the Senate President, Bill Galvano, and House Speaker, Jose Oliva, the PreK-12 funding decisions were complete and no bumps were contemplated at this time. In a press availability after Sunday’s meeting, the Appropriations Committee chairs announced that the Base Student Allocation will be increased by $75 for a total of about $4,280 and that total FEFP funds per student will be increased by $250 for a total of about $7,680. In addition, it was announced that remaining differences in categorical funding and proviso had been resolved and would be released soon. No FEFP funding summary has been provided, so the impact of these decisions on categorical funding and proviso language remains unclear – either on a statewide basis or for individual districts. We are hopeful that an FEFP funding summary will be available soon.
Meanwhile, please keep in mind the following elements of the budget process:
- Once the budget negotiations are complete and a single budget has been agreed upon, the final budget will be presented to the chambers for consideration as the Conference Committee Report on the General Appropriations Act.
- Both chambers will debate and vote on the Conference Committee Report as is. If one or both chambers pass an amendment to the Report or fail to pass the Report as a whole, the budget conference process must begin all over again. This makes it very unlikely that the Report will be amended and also highlights the importance of the work of the Conference Committees.
- The Florida Constitution requires that the budget be made available to legislators at least 72 hours before either chamber may take a final vote on the budget. This 72 hours is referred to as a “cooling off period” to allow legislators to review the budget – which is often nearly 400 pages in length — so that they may make an informed decision about their vote. This cooling off period means that the Conference Committee Report must be available for review by 11:59 pm on Tuesday, April 30.
- The budget is the ONLY bill that the Legislature is constitutionally required to pass during the Session. If the budget negotiators are unable to agree on a Conference Committee Report and/or if the Report is not made available to legislators on time, the Legislature will have to extend the Legislative Session or reconvene in a Special Session.