Bills of interest on today’s schedule include 3rd Reading of SB 7030 (school safety) in the House. Other bills of interest on the schedule today include bills relating to early learning, personnel, mental health, and public records. In addition to bills on the agenda, bills will be moving back and forth between chambers in Messages. Please see the file below for the schedule for consideration of bills that we are aware of, but remember that bills in Messages might be added. We will note the outcome of the consideration of these bills as soon as possible.
BUDGET UPDATE: The Conference Committee Report on SB 2500 – 2019-2020 General Appropriations Act (aka the budget) has been released along with a full FEFP Funding Summary. We are working on our detailed budget analysis but, in the meantime, we provided some budget highlights in the April 30 edition of the Session Spotlight and the FEFP Funding Summary is available HERE. Because the budget was not posted until today, the Session will need to be extended through, at least, 1:30 pm +/- on Saturday, May 4 to allow for the constitutionally required 72-hour cooling off period before a final vote can be taken on the budget. We will keep you informed of any further developments as they become available.
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 1412 – Taxation by Gruters – TEMPORARILY POSTPONED
[NOTE: The House companion bill — HB 7123 – contains a provision that would require school district voted operating millage levies to be shared with charter schools in the school district. This provision is currently not included in SB 1412.]
Bills on 3rd Reading:
SB 172 – Florida Endowment for Vocational Rehabilitation by Bean – READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE SENATE; IN MESSAGES TO THE HOUSE
The bill saves from repeal the Florida Endowment for Vocational Rehabilitation (The Able Trust), which is a direct-support organization for the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation in the Department of Education.
HB 1027 – Office of Early Learning by Aloupis – READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE SENATE; PASSED THE LEGISLATURE
- Codifies early learning professional development standards and career pathways in law.
- Requires the Office of Early Learning to develop early learning professional development training and course standards for school readiness program providers and identify both formal and informal early learning career pathways with stackable credentials and certifications, which allow early childhood teachers to access specialized professional development.
- Requires the established credentials and certifications to align with the training for K-12 teachers, reading coaches, and school principals to the greatest extent possible.
In the House Session:
Bills on 3rd Reading:
HB 1127 – Educational Employees/Disqualification by Duggan – READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE; IN MESSAGES TO THE SENATE
- 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.
SB 7030 – School Safety & Security by Education — READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE; PASSED THE LEGISLATURE
[NOTE: We are working on a detailed summary of this bill which will be available soon. In the meantime, please see a summary prepared by the Florida Association of School Superintendents (FADSS) which is available HERE.]
SB 620 – Military-Friendly Initiatives by Broxson – READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE; PASSED THE LEGISLATURE
The bill provides a number of benefits to servicemembers and their families and additional protections and benefits for military organizations, land interests and uses. Of particular interest to school districts, the bill requires school districts to accept a permanent change of station order as proof of residency for all public school programs including special academic programs.
SB 1418 – Mental Health by Powell – READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE; PASSED THE LEGISLATURE
- 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.
SB 838 – Public Records/Mental Health Treatment by Powell — READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE; PASSED THE LEGISLATURE
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 186 – Public Records/Victim of Mass Violence by Lee – READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE; IN RETURNING MESSAGES TO THE SENATE
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.