The second week of the Legislative Session is underway with several bills of interest scheduled to be considered today, including bills relating to health and safety, government accountability, exceptional students, curriculum, personnel, and term limits for school board members. Today’s schedule is posted in the file below and is updated throughout the day to show the outcome on these bills after each meeting concludes.
[toggle title=”Committee/Subcommittee Meetings – March 12, 2019“]
- Clicking on the Committee/Subcommittee names linked below provides access to membership, meeting packets, and other committee information
- Clicking on the PCBs linked below provides access the actual text of the proposed bill
- Clicking on the bill numbers linked below, you can access the bill summary, analysis, related bills, and other information
- Expands the definition of hazing to include conduct committed for the purpose of perpetuating or furthering a tradition or ritual of an organization;
- Broadens the scope of who may be charged with criminal hazing to include individuals who solicit others to commit hazing or individuals actively involved in the planning of hazing;
- Expands the category of individuals who may be victims of hazing to include former members of an organization;
- Expands felony hazing to include conduct resulting in a permanent injury to a victim; and
- Provides immunity from criminal prosecution under certain circumstances.
HB 741 – Anti-Semitism by Fine – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
As amended, the bill defines “anti-Semitism”, prohibits discrimination in the Florida K-20 public education system based on religion and requires a public K-20 educational institution to take into consideration anti-Semitism under certain instances of discrimination.
HB 6005 – Possession of Firearms on School Property by Byrd – PASSED
The bill maintains the authority of a school district to prohibit a student from storing a firearm inside a vehicle on school property, but removes the prohibition for others on school property, such as employees or parents, from storing firearms inside their vehicles. The bill does not change the prohibition against carrying a firearm into a school facility or school-sponsored event.
In the House Local, Federal, & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee:
HB 15 – Local Government Fiscal Transparency by Burton – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
This bill is directed more to city and county governments, but has implications for school districts. Among other things, the bill requires:
- Easy public access to voting records of local governing body members as related to tax increases or the issuance of tax-supported debt;
- Easy online access to TRIM notices and a 4-year history of property tax rates and total revenue generated by each local government;
- Additional public meetings and expanded public notice requirements for local option tax increases and the issuance of new long-term, tax-supported debt;
- Local governments to conduct a debt affordability analysis prior to issuance of new long-term, tax-supported debt;
- The chair of the local governing body to sign an affidavit of compliance with the Act; and
- The Auditor General to request evidence of corrective action from local governments found not to be in compliance with the Act and reporting those who fail to do so to the Legislative Auditing Committee.
In the Senate Education Committee:
SB 62 – Students with Disabilities in Public Schools by Book – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
As amended, the bill revises the use of restraint techniques on students with disabilities in public schools, prohibits the use of specified physical restraint techniques and placing students in seclusion, and specifies responsibilities for school districts, schools, the Department of Education, and the Commissioner of Education.
SB 226 – Mastery-Based Education by Brandes – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
As amended, the bill:
- Renames the Competency-Based Education Pilot Program as the Mastery-Based Education Pilot Program, authorizes public school districts and developmental research schools to submit applications for the program, and authorizes currently participating school districts and developmental research schools to amend their applications;
- Authorizes a participating district school board or developmental research school to award credit based on student mastery of certain content and skills;
- Authorizes a participating district school board or developmental research school to use an alternative interpretation of letter grades for certain students and requires the use of the current 4-point scale in determining student grade point averages; and
- Requires the statewide articulation agreement to ensure fair and equitable access for students who have earned high school credit through mastery-based education and graduate with a standard high school diploma.
SB 522 – Apprenticeship Programs by Diaz – PASSED
- Expands the class of intended beneficiaries of apprenticeship training to include all residents – not just young people;
- Requires the FDOE to provide an annual report to the Legislature and the State Apprenticeship Advisory Council on apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship training in this state;
- Requires the FDOE to provide information on its website explaining how a Florida College System institution or a school district may assume the responsibilities of a local educational agency for the purposes of administering an apprenticeship program;
- Creates the Florida Apprenticeship Grant (FLAG) Program, which authorizes registered apprenticeship program sponsors who do not require assistance from a career education institution to apply to the FDOE for grant awards to assist in funding apprenticeship programs; and
- Provides that, if a registered program sponsor has received a FLAG Program award, the FDOE is responsible for the administration and supervision of supplemental instruction for apprentices, coordination of such instruction with job experiences, and selection and training of teachers and coordinators for such instruction.
SB 1198 – School District Fiscal Transparency by Stargel – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
The bill revises some, but not all, of the more troubling provisions enacted last year in HB 1279 that would, otherwise, go into effect July 1, 2019. As amended, the bill:
- Requires charter schools to comply with cost accounting and reporting for school districts as required under s. 1010.20, F.S. and school district budget transparency as required under s. 1011.035, F.S.;
- Clarifies that the school district shall report expenditures to the FDOE on a school-by-school and on a district-aggregate basis for total operating costs provided in “School District Program Cost Reports” by category, including subtotals for direct and indirect costs, total school costs, and program costs as well as total costs for classroom instruction.
- Permits the FDOE to categorize schools by school type, age of facility, and any other category that equalizes cost comparability to determine groups of peer schools and districts;
- Clarifies that the FDOE is required to annually calculate the total costs for classroom instruction to specify that:
- For schools, this means school direct classroom instructions costs plus instructional supports costs divided by total school costs, and
- For school districts, this means total direct costs plus total school and district instructional supports costs divided by total program costs;
- Clarifies that the web-based fiscal transparency tool combines and compares academic achievement and the percentage of funds spent on classroom instruction for all public schools and districts based on cost reporting and student performance measurement calculations;
- Modifies school district budget transparency and removes the requirement to include graphical representations for each public school within the district on its budget items; and
- Removes the provisions regarding financial emergencies, which required the superintendent to reduce the district’s administration expenditures reported in proportion to the reduction in general fund’s ending balance or the reduction in student enrollment, whichever is greater if a financial condition existed for two consecutive fiscal years.
In the Senate Governmental Oversight & Accountability Committee:
SB 432 – Employment Conditions by Gruters – PASSED
- Prohibits a county, city, district, or other public body created by state law from requiring an employer from paying a minimum wage other than the state or federal minimum wage or to offer other conditions of employment. This does not prohibit the political subdivision from requiring a minimum wage or conditions of employment for its own employees, the employees of its contractors and subcontractors, and the employees of any entity receiving a direct tax abatement or subsidy;
- Preempts to the state the right to regulate any requirements imposed upon employers relating to a minimum wage and conditions of employment;
- Defines “conditions of employment” to include pre-employment screening, job classification, job responsibilities, hours of work, scheduling and schedule changes, wages, payment of wages, leave, paid or unpaid days off for holidays, illness, vacations, and personal necessity, and employee benefits;
- Clarifies the definitions for “employer” and “employee;”
- Substitutes the term “employment benefits” with the term “conditions of employment” throughout s. 218.077, F.S.;
- Voids any ordinance, regulation, or policy currently in existence which is now preempted.
SB 490 – Statewide Procurement Efficiency Task Force by Albritton – PASSED
The bill creates a 14 member Statewide Procurement Efficiency Task Force (which would include on district school board member appointed by the Governor). The purpose of the task force is to evaluate the effectiveness and value of state and local procurement laws and policies to the taxpayers of this state, determine where inconsistencies in such laws and policies exist, and submit a report by July 1, 2020. The final report of the task force must include, at a minimum, recommendations for consideration by the Legislature that promote procurement efficiency, streamline procurement policies, establish best management practices, and encourage increased use of state term contracts.
- Provides that any referendum to adopt or amend a discretionary sales surtax must be held at a general election and requires approval of two-thirds of the qualified electors voting on the ballot question for passage.
- Provides that, upon adoption of an ordinance by a county or school district to hold a discretionary sales surtax referendum on or after January 1, 2020, the county or school district to notify OPPAGA at least 180 days before the date of the proposed referendum and, within 30 days after receiving the notification, OPPAGA must select and pay for a certified public accountant to conduct a performance audit of the program associated with the proposed surtax.
- Maintains the requirement that the performance audit be completed and made available on the county or school district website at least 60 days prior to the referendum and remain on the website for two years.
- Declares void any discretionary sales surtax referendum if the county or school district fails to provide notice to OPPAGA or fails to publish the results of the performance audit.
- Provides a similar process for a proposal to adopt a discretionary sales surtax that arises from an initiative.
In the Senate Ethics & Elections Committee:
SJR 274 – Limitation on Terms of Office / School Board Members by Baxley – PASSED
The bill proposes that district school board members be subject to an 8-year consecutive service term limitation. The provision would operate prospectively beginning with the 2020 general election. The joint resolution must be approved by a 3/5ths vote of each chamber of the Legislature to be placed on the ballot at the general election in November 2020. The measure would then need to be approved by 60% of the voters voting in the election.