The Legislature will hold a third round of Interim Committee Meetings this week. Please click on the file below to access the schedule and more information on the education-related meetings, bills, and presentations that will be considered. In addition, please click on the links below for our updates on the Constitution Revision Commission Committee meetings that were held last week and on several federal issues.
[toggle title=”Legislative Interim Committee Meeting Schedule for November 6-9, 2017“]
The observance of Veterans Day on Friday will make this a somewhat shorter week of Interim Meetings, but several bills and presentations of interest will be considered. Of particular note, on Tuesday, several committees will consider bills and Proposed Committee Bills (PCBs) relating to state and local government accountability (SB 354 and HB 11) and ethics reform (PCB PIE-2 and PCB PIE-3). On Wednesday, committees/subcommittees will consider several bills of interest, including:
HB 317 – Local Tax Referenda by Ingoglia
Requires local government discretionary sales surtax referenda, including referenda for the School Capital Outlay Surtax, to be held on date of a primary or general election & requires specified percentage of votes for passage; requires notice of intent to levy certain local government discretionary sales surtaxes; prohibits certain entities for a specified period from increasing taxes that were reduced at the time discretionary sales surtax was levied.
SB 88 – High School Graduation Requirements by Hukill
Revising the requirements for the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards to include financial literacy; revising the required credits for a standard high school diploma to include one-half credit of instruction in personal financial literacy and money management and seven and one-half, rather than eight, credits in electives, etc.
HB 1 – The Hope Scholarship Program by Donalds
Establishes Hope Scholarship Program; provides program purpose & requirements; authorizes certain persons to elect to direct certain state sales & use tax revenue to be transferred to nonprofit scholarship-funding organizations for Hope Scholarship Program; provides penalties; authorizes DOR to adopt emergency rules for specified purposes.
In addition, committees/subcommittees will receive presentations and updates on the Implementation of HB 7069 and on the FY 2017-18 2nd K-12 FTE Survey Period and Alternate Survey Period. On Thursday, a select committee will receive presentations on hurricane related issues. You may access the our full schedule of education related meetings, bills, and presentations HERE. Please note that you may view these meetings on http://www.thefloridachannel.org/. As usual, we will provide a detailed report on the outcome of these meetings at the end of the week.
[toggle title=”Update: Constitution Revision Commission“]
Several of the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) Committees met last week. Of particular interest, the CRC Education Committee held two meetings. In the first of these meetings, the CRC Education Committee received presentations on education governance, including an overview of governance at the state level by the State Board of Education and Commissioner of Education and at the local K-12 level by school boards, superintendents, principals, and charter school governing boards. The presentation also covered governance of career and technical education, colleges, and universities. With regard to K-12 education, committee discussion and public testimony primarily focused on issues relating to superintendents, including election versus appointment of superintendents, and superintendent performance and accountability measures. The Meeting Packet is available HERE.
The second meeting of the CRC Education Committee received a presentation on the education finance. The presentation provided a detailed overview of state education operating and capital funding for K-12 and post-secondary programs, including descriptions of Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) funding, non-FEFP funding, and workforce education funding. The presentation also included information on taxing authority and scholarship programs. The Meeting Packet is available HERE. [NOTE: a scheduled presentation on aid to sectarian institutions was not presented.]
The deadline for the submission of new proposals by the CRC members has now passed. As of this writing, 91 proposals submitted by Commissioners have been posted and others may be added in the coming weeks. The next step in the CRC process will be for these proposals to receive a formal hearing by the appropriate CRC Committee(s) and then by the full Commission. Please note that, in order to be placed on the November 2018 ballot, a proposal must be approved by 22 of the 37 CRC members. We are in the process of preparing a chart of several proposals that may be of interest to school board members. In the meantime, you may access a list and more information about all proposals HERE. For more information about the CRC, please visit the Education Legal News page in our Resource Room and/or the CRC Website.
[toggle title=”Update: Federal Tax Reform, Budget, and Children’s Health“]
The federal fiscal year began on October 1 which should have been the deadline for Congress to pass a budget for fiscal year 2018. Instead, Congress passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) to continue to fund government programs and services through December 9, 2017 at about the same level as fiscal year 2017. In recent years, passing a Continuing Resolution rather than an actual new budget has become the norm, rather than the exception. In late October, Congress finalized the Fiscal Year 2018 budget resolution, House Continuing Resolution 71. This budget resolution includes broad goals for education on ensuring state flexibility, enhancing outcomes with federal workforce development programs, the consolidation and streamlining of overlapping early learning and child care programs, educational programs for individuals with disabilities, and child nutrition programs. Although this moves the budget process forward, it does not provide budget details and is far from a finished product. However, the budget resolution did pave the way for passage of a tax reform package (discussed below) by providing reconciliation instructions that will allow the tax package to be approved without risking a filibuster in the Senate. Recently, Politico released some analysis showing how the vote on the budget resolution was impacted by the proposed tax package and on the general impacts of the budget resolution itself. You may access this analysis HERE.
The House Committee on Ways and Means is scheduled to begin its tax reform meetings throughout this week on H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). A summary of the tax package is available HERE. Estimates about the fiscal impact of this tax reform plan would be an increase of $1.4 trillion in annual deficits over the next ten years, as projected by the Joint Committee on Taxation. The tax package includes some troubling provisions including the elimination and/or limitations on the state and local tax deductions that taxpayers are currently able to take on their federal taxes, provisions to expand the use of education savings accounts to apply to K-12 education expenses (rather than only post-secondary education expenses), and limitations on tax-exempt bonds for construction and other capital improvement projects approved by traditional local school boards.
Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
CHIP is a program administered by the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides matching funds to states for health insurance for children in families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. The program was created in 1997 with bipartisan support and provides insurance coverage for about 8 million children nationwide, including about 340,000 children in Florida. Earlier this year, the program was allowed to expire in the midst of the debate on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Although, funding remains to keep the program operating, that funding is due to run out in December. Last week, the House passed H.R. 3922, the Championing Healthy Kids Act, which calls for a five-year reauthorization of the CHIP program. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration where the legislation may face opposition due to the manner in which the extension of program is funded.