Today’s schedule appears fairly light, but several bills of interest will be considered, including the House Proposed Committee Bill (PCP) relating to school safety as well as bills relating to anti-Semitism, parental rights, public records, government accountability. and construction, Today’s schedule is posted below and is updated throughout the day with the outcome on these bills after each meeting concludes.
- 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
In the House Education Committee:
PCB EDC 19-02 – School Safety by Education – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE (CS); FILED AS HB 7093
The bill revises the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act (SB 7026) and incorporates several recommendations of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission. The bill:
- Expands access to school guardians by allowing private schools and charter schools to employ school guardians (either directly or by contract) and allows law enforcement academies and school districts that employ school resource officers (SROs), in addition to sheriffs, to offer guardian training adopted by the Criminal Justice Standards Training Commission.
- Increases ability of the Office of Safe Schools (Office) within the FDOE to enforce school safety by allowing the Education Practices Commission to fine superintendents, school board members, and school personnel for noncompliance as determined by the Office and conditions the distribution of the safe schools allocation on compliance with use of the Florida Safe Schools Assessment Tool.
- Requires the Office to determine the types of schools and campuses that need a safe-school officer and the number and type of drills.
- Increases information sharing among schools and school districts by requiring schools to transfer student records, including mental and behavioral records maintained by the school, within one business day if within the district and within two business days if outside of the district.
- Requires schools to consult with law enforcement when an act poses a threat to school safety.
- Requires schools to screen or assess within 45 days, students who are referred for mental assistance and school-based interventions must occur within 30 days of the screening and continue until the student receives community based care, where appropriate.
- Provides that, when a student transfers to a different school, the threat assessment team must verify that any intervention services remain in place until the threat assessment team of the receiving school independently determines the need for intervention services.
- Revises the safe schools allocation to distribute funds based on the number of students instead of the crime index.
- Provides that the priority use of safe schools allocation funds is safe-school officers, instead of solely SROs which allows school districts and charter schools to use the funds for school guardians.
- Clarifies that an individual may not serve as a school guardian in a traditional public school unless the individual is appointed by the superintendent or, in a charter school, unless the individual is appointed by the charter school governing board.
HB 741 – Anti-Semitism by Fine – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
- Amends the Florida Educational Equity Act (FEEA) by adding religion as a protected class with regard to discrimination against students and employees in the Florida K-20 public education system.
- Requires all public K-20 educational institutions to treat discrimination, based on anti-Semitism, by students or employees or resulting from institutional policies in an identical manner to discrimination based on race and adds to current law a definition of anti-Semitism similar to the definition adopted by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights.
- Adds to Florida law examples of what classifies as anti-Semitism including those related to Jewish people generally and the State of Israel.
- Provides that the legislation is not intended to diminish or infringe upon any right protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, or the Florida Constitution and is not intended to conflict with federal or state discrimination laws.
HB 1171 – Parental Rights by Grall – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
The bill creates a new chapter of Florida Statutes – Chapter 1014, F.S. – that addresses parental rights. The bill:
- Provides legislative findings and defines the term “parent” as a person who has legal custody of a minor child as a natural or 28 adoptive parent or a legal guardian;
- Provides that the state, its political subdivisions, other governmental entities, or other institutions may not infringe on the fundamental rights of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, health care, and mental health of his or her minor child except under certain circumstances;
- Provides that parental rights include, among others:
- The right to direct the education and care of his or her minor child.
- The right to access and review all school records relating to the minor child.
- The right to consent in writing before the state or any of its political subdivisions makes a video or voice recording of his or her minor child, except in certain circumstances.
- The right to be notified promptly if an employee of the state, any of its political subdivisions, any other governmental entity, or any other institution suspects that a criminal offense has been committed against his or her minor child, except in certain circumstances.
- Provides that an employee of the state, any of its political subdivisions, or any other governmental entity who encourages or coerces a minor child to withhold information from his or her parent may be subject to disciplinary action.
- Requires each district school board to develop and adopt a policy to promote parental involvement in the public school system that addresses specified topics.
- Authorizes a parent to request certain information in writing and provides a procedure and timeline for such requests to be handled by the school district.
- Prohibits certain health care practitioners from taking specified actions and/or a hospital from allowing certain actions without a parent’s written permission.
In the Senate Session:
SB 186 – Public Records/Victim of Mass Violence by Lee – READ 2ND TIME; AMENDED; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 3/27/19
The bill expands an existing public records exemption to make confidential and exempt from public disclosure any photographs and video and audio recordings that depict or record the killing of a victim of mass violence. The bill provides that it is a third degree felony for any custodian of such photographs and recordings to willfully and knowingly violate the exemption requirements.
SB 7014 – Government Accountability by GOA – READ 2ND TIME; PLACED ON 3RD READING FOR 3/27/19
The bill amends various statutes to enhance government accountability and auditing processes based on recommendations noted in recent reports by the Auditor General. Of particular interest to school boards, the bill:
- Authorizes the Governor or Commissioner of Education, or designee, to notify the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee if an entity fails to comply with certain auditing and financial reporting requirements;
- Provides definitions for the terms “abuse,” “fraud,” and “waste;”
- Requires each agency, the judicial branch, the Justice Administrative Commission, state attorneys, public defenders, criminal conflict and civil regional counsel, capital collateral regional counsel, the Guardian Ad Litem program, local governmental entities, charter schools, school districts, Florida College System institutions, and state universities to establish and maintain internal controls designed to prevent and detect fraud, waste, and abuse;
- Specifies that the definition of fraud, waste and abuse apply to s. 1001.42, F.S., relating to the powers and duties of school boards; and
- Revises the membership, and restrictions thereof, for an auditor selection committee of a county, municipality, special district, district school board, charter school, or charter technical career center.
In the House Commerce Committee:
HB 101 – Public Construction by Andrade – AMENDED; PASSED WITH A CS
The bill reduces the portion of an agreed upon contract price that may be retained until the work is substantially complete. For contracts more than $200,000, the bill reduces the maximum amount that may be retained from 10% to 5% before half of the work is complete, from 5% to 2.5% after half of the work is complete, and from 5% to 2.5% of a payment from a contractor to a subcontractor after half of the work is complete. Adjustments to the retainage amount apply for sparsely populated cities and counties. These provisions to not apply to any contract for construction services which is entered into or is pending approval or to any construction services project advertised for bid prior to October 1, 2019.
In the House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee:
HB 7035 – Government Accountability by OTPM – PASSED
The bill amends statutes pertaining to government accountability and auditing. Many provisions are directed at city and county governments, but of interest to school districts, the bill:
- Specifies that the Governor or Commissioner of Education, or designee, may notify the Legislative Auditing Committee of an entity’s failure to comply with certain auditing and financial reporting requirements;
- Provides definitions for the terms “abuse,” “fraud,” and “waste;”
- Requires each agency, the judicial branch, the Justice Administrative Commission, state attorneys, public defenders, criminal conflict and civil regional counsel, the Guardian Ad Litem program, local governmental entities, charter schools, school districts, Florida College System institutions, and state universities to establish and maintain internal controls;
- Revises the composition of auditor selection committees;
- Requires completion of an annual financial audit of the Florida Virtual School;
- Prohibits any person from willfully failing or refusing to provide access to an employee, officer, or agent of an entity subject to an audit if such access is necessary for a proper audit or examination by the Auditor General or the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability; and
- Requires state universities and Florida College System institutions to designate the employee positions subject to background screening and investigation.
Please note that there are no committee/subcommittee meetings of interest scheduled for tomorrow, March 22, so our next issue of the Session Spotlight will be posted next week.