LegisLetter: May 09, 2017
Volume 24, Number 8
“All good things must come to an end.” - Geoffrey Chaucer
The gavel came down at 8:43 p.m. on May 8, 2017, just a few days beyond the 60-day legislative session. As predicted, there was a whirlwind of activity with hundreds of pages of bill language and appropriation items settled in the final days of Session.
It will take days, even weeks to sort out exactly what happened in the final version of bills that passed both chambers – but there are noteworthy budget highlights which are great news for Florida State University.
This edition of the Legisletter will include a comprehensive FSU budget guide and a complete list of education and employment bills which passed and failed.
Since both list are quite lengthy, we have also assembled for you a quick reference guide of policy highlights and major funding increases that were approved by the House and Senate.
No bills passed that would expand the access to firearms on campus.
No bills passed to cap distance learning fees.
A pension reform bill passed that only applies to new state employees (SB 7022). The bill requires new state employees to select a defined benefit plan (a traditional pension) or a defined contribution plan (a 401(k)-like savings account) within nine months of the employee’s hiring date. If the employee fails to make a selection the employee will default into the defined contribution plan.
A bill to change the State Employee Healthcare plan passed (SB 7022). The bill does not take effect until the year 2020. Employees will be provided with different levels of health care benefits. If an employee chooses a lower level of coverage, they will be able to keep the savings and use it toward a Health Savings Account or apply it as a salary increase.
Florida State University Budget Highlights
|Performance Funding Estimated Increase||2 million
(bringing the total to 525 million for SUS – a 20 million increase to the SUS this year)
|World Class Scholars||11 million
(Total 70 million for the SUS)
|Professional & Graduate Degree Excellence Program in Medicine, Business, & Law||9 million
(Total 50 million for the SUS)
|Joint College of Engineering||1 million increase
(7% increase to overall budget)
|Earth Ocean Atmospheric Sciences Building (EOAS)||16 million|
|College of Business “Legacy Hall” Building||5 million|
|Interdisciplinary Research Commercialization Building (IRCB)||8 million|
|STEM Teaching Lab||5 million|
|Strategic Land Acquisition||4 million|
|FSUS STEAM Building||7.5 million|
|Building Maintenance and Renovation||6.5 million|
|Panama City Campus Projects|
|Joint Agency In-Water Strike (JAWS)||1 million|
|Rural Northwest Florida Mosquito Surveillance||700,000|
The House and Senate did not authorize any tuition increases in the 2017-2018 budget. Although the legislature authorized salary increases in the budget, they did not include university or state college employees in those raises.
Governor Scott must still act on the budget. There is a great deal of acrimony between the Governor and the legislature in part because the Governor did not receive any funding for his legislative priorities. He has expressed public concern that there was not a sufficient funding increase for K-12. He has also been critical of the budget process, stating that it was not transparent.
In short, there is still a long way to go before we know exactly what Florida State University will receive in the upcoming fiscal year, but the budget approved by the legislature holds great promise.
Another piece of good news is that all of our Board of Trustees who were up for confirmation received unanimous support in committee and by the full Senate. Congratulations to Ms. June Duda, Mr. Ed Burr, Mr. Craig Mateer and Mr. Max Alvarez who will all continue to serve on the Board of Trustees for Florida State University.
If you want to assist in the advocacy effort for Florida State University, please sign up for Advocate for Florida State www.advocateforfloridastate.fsu.edu.
Though the budget process is not complete, this has been a great year for Florida State University so far. We have the potential of receiving significant resources that will go a long way toward our goal of reaching the top 25 public universities in the nation.
Thank you for your interest in what is happening in state government. Special thanks to Toni Moore and Chris Adcock who work tirelessly behind the scenes in Governmental Relations. We look forward to continuing to keep you informed.
2017 Budget Passes
After months of work, the Legislature passed the $82.4 billion 2017-18 budget. Following is a breakdown of issues relating to Florida State. For a printable guide to this year’s budget click here.
|Recurring projects Included in the base:|
|Boys and Girls State Housing||$100,000|
|Charles Hilton Endowed Professorship||$300,000|
|College of Law – Scholarships||$1,000,000|
|Florida Campus Compact||$608,111|
|Learning System Institute||$250,000|
|Pepper Center Long Term Care Proposal||$250,000|
|Student Veterans Center;||$500,000|
|Non-recurring projects included in the base:|
|Health Equity Research Institute||$750,000|
|Next Generation Ultra-High Field Magnets||$300,000|
|Tallahassee Veterans Legal Collaborative||$200,000|
|Preeminent & Emerging Preeminent State|
|Research Universities – additional for FY-2017-18|
|Student and Other Fees||$238,310,768|
|Student Financial Assistance||$1,467,667|
|SUS Performance Based Incentive||$520,000,000|
|College of Medicine|
|Student and Other Fees||$13,019,086|
|Evaluation of Behavioral Health System of Care In Florida (NR)||$489,619|
|FSU – College of Medicine – Immokalee||$450,000 NR|
|FAMU/FSU College of Engineering||$14,384,389|
|SUS Capital Improvement Fee Projects||$45,000,000|
|SUS FCO – Maintenance, Repair, RenovationAnd Remodeling –||$45,562,241|
|FSU – Maint. Repair. Reno …||$6,500,000|
|Earth Ocean Atmospheric Science Building||$16,040,737|
|College of Business Building||$5,000,000|
|Interdisciplinary Research Commercialization Building||$8,000,000|
|Stem Teaching Lab||$5,000,000|
|PECO -- WFSU-TV, Replace Studio Lighting||$650,000|
|SUS Lab School – PECO
Proviso: …shall be distributed among the lab schools based upon full-time equivalent student membership.
|FSU Lab School Arts and Sciences Building (STEAM)||$7,500,000|
|Honorably Discharged Graduate Assistance/GAP||$1,000,000 NR|
|Proviso: … are provided for supplemental need-based veteran educational benefits. Funds shall be used to assist in the payment of living expenses during holiday and semester breaks for active duty and honorably discharged members of the Armed Forces who served on or after September 11, 2001. To ensure students in both public and private institutions have an opportunity to receive funding, allocations to institutions shall be prorated based on the number of total eligible students at eligible institutions.|
|Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resource Ctr.
General Revenue – FSU
|Autism/CARD - FSU College of Medicine
|Innovation & Engineering Pipeline Project||$1,000,000 NR|
|Communication/Autism Navigator – FSU Col of Medicine||$1,353,292 R|
|Statewide Gov. & Cultural Affairs Programming||$497,522|
|Florida Channel Closed Captioning - GR||$390,862|
|Florida Channel Year Round Coverage – GR +proviso||$2,562,588|
|FSU – Public Television||$307,447|
|FSU – Public Radio Stations||$100,000|
|FSU – Satellite Transponder||$800,000|
|Public Radio Stations Recurring Base Appropriations Project||$166,270|
Proviso… From the funds provided in Specific Appropriation 119, "Governmental
Affairs for Public Television" shall be produced by the same contractor selected by the Legislature to produce "The Florida Channel".
From the funds provided in Specific Appropriation 119 for the Florida Channel Satellite Transponder Operations, the Florida Channel shall contract for the leasing, management and operation of the state transponder with the same public broadcasting station that produces the Florida Channel.
Performance Incentives $520,000,000
Proviso … $520,000,000 is provided for State University System Performance Based Incentives. The funds available for allocation to the universities based on the performance funding model shall consist of the state’s investment of $245,000,000 in performance funding, plus an institutional investment of $275,000,000 consisting of funds to be redistributed from the base funding of the State University System…
Proviso: …the Board of Governors Foundation shall distribute $237,500 to state universities for Johnson Scholarships in accordance with section 1009.75, F.S…
Proviso: From the funds provided in Specific Appropriations 7 and 91, $52,800,000 is provided for the Sparsity Supplement as defined in section 1011.62(7), Florida Statutes, for school districts of 24,000 and fewer FTE in the 2015-2016 fiscal year. FSUS receives a portion of the Sparsity supplement.
FSU Panama City Campus – Rural Northwest Florida Mosquito Surveillance $700,000 (NR)
Proviso …$1,000,000 in nonrecurring general revenue funds is provided to Florida State University Panama City to support participation of the Underwater Crime Scene Investigation program in the Joint Agency In-Water Strike (JAWS)
Proviso … may be utilized to promote and enhance collaborative research $ 969,689
among State Universities. The Florida Public Hurricane Loss Model located at Florida International University may consult with the private sector and the Florida Catastrophic Storm Risk Management Center …
State Health Insurance Plans and Benefits – Proviso
State Paid Premiums
…For coverage period beginning August 1, 2017, the state share shall continue at the current rate….
Proviso… Each state agency, at the discretion of the agency head, may expend funds provided in this act for bar dues and for legal education courses for employees who are required to be a member of the Florida Bar as a condition of employment.
Proviso -- …facilities may be constructed or acquired from non-appropriated sources, which upon completion will require general revenue funds to operate.
Florida State University - Teaching Pavilion - Will provide teaching space for outdoor programs and academic activities, 400 gsf.
Florida State University - Administrative Annex West College Avenue - Property being acquired through the university’s land acquisition program, will be used to house E&G functions, 6,500 gsf.
Florida State University - Academic Annex South Duval Street - Project being acquired through the university’s land acquisition program, will be used to house E&G functions, 16,316 gsf.
Florida State University - Research Annex Maryland Circle - Project being acquired through the university’s land acquisition program, will be used to house E&G functions, 33,500 gsf.
Florida State University - College of Medicine Annex South Appleyard Drive - Project being acquired through the university’s land acquisition program, will be used to house E&G functions, 6,500 gsf.
Florida State University - Visitors Center Expansion - Addition will support expanding performing and visual arts programs at the Ringling Cultural Center, 7,000 gsf.
Proviso – No funds are appropriated in Specific Appropriations 1 – 161 for the payment of rent, lease or possession of space for offices or any other purpose or use at Northwood Centre, 140 North Monroe Street, Tallahassee, Florida, pursuant to State of Florida Lease Nos. 720:0139, 480:04570, 480:0644 or 480;M139 or Florida State University Lease No 2011:101, or any other lease, by the Department of Education or any state university, notwithstanding any lease or contract to the contrary. The Department of Education and all state universities are is prohibited from expending any specific appropriation from the General Revenue Fund, any trust fund or from any other source for the rent, lease or possession of any space for offices or other purpose or use at Northwood Centre, 1940 North Monroe Street, Tallahassee, Florida, pursuant to State of Florida Lease Nos. 720:0139, 480:04570, 480:0644 or 480;M139 or Florida State University Lease No 2011:101, or any other lease.
Bright Futures Scholarship Program -- $397,282,030
Proviso -- …$39,465,544, along with any unexpended funds from the fall and spring term award disbursements, is provided for 2018 summer term awards for Academic Scholars only at 100 percent of tuition and applicable fees …
Academic Scholars shall receive an award equal to 100 percent of tuition and applicable fees, and an additional $300 each fall and spring for textbooks and college-related expenses …
Bills that Passed
SB 374 – Postsecondary Education by Senator Dorothy Hukill (R – Port Orange), is a comprehensive higher education bill. Renee Fargason from the Board of Governor’s provided the following breakdown of the bill.
- Cites act as “Florida Excellence in Higher Education Act of 2017”.
- Adds “avoiding wasteful duplication of programs” as part of the mission of Florida’s K-20 education system.
- Requires the Department of Education (DOE) provide the same level of support to the State Board of Community Colleges (SBCC) as it does to the Board of Governors (BOG).
- Removes the Division of Florida Colleges from the DOE.
- Requires the Higher Education Coordinating Council (HECC) also submit its annual report to the State Board of Community Colleges.
- Establishes the primary mission of a career center is to promote advances and innovations in workforce preparation and economic development.
- Requires each district school board to notify students who enroll in articulated acceleration mechanism courses or take examinations of the credit-by-examination equivalency list adopted by rule by the SBE and the dual enrollment course and high school subject area equivalencies approved by the state board.
- Clarifies developmental education instruction pursuant to the instructional strategies described in s.1008.02(1), F.S.
Tuition, Fees, Grants, and Scholarships
- Clarifies that the technology fee may not be included in a Bright Futures Scholarship Program award except for the Florida Academic Scholars award.
- Bright Futures - provides for funds in the GAA to support, at a minimum, summer term enrollment for a Florida Academic Scholars (FAS) award.
- Florida Academic Scholars Award – Modifies the FAS award amount to include 100% of public postsecondary institution tuition and certain tuition-indexed fees plus $300 for textbooks and college-related expenses during fall and spring terms, beginning in the fall 2017 semester.
- First Generation Matching Grant Program - Expands need-based financial aid by revising the state-to-private match requirements from a 1:1 match to a 2:1 match.
- FRAG - Changes the name of the program from the Florida Resident Access Grant (FRAG) to the Effective Access to Student Education (EASE) Program.
- Benacquisto Scholarship Program – Expands student eligibility to out-of-state students.
- Florida Farmworker Student Scholarship Program – Creates a program where DOE may award up to 50 scholarships annually to farmworkers, as defined in s. 420.503, and the children of such farmworkers, who meet the scholarship eligibility criteria. Clarifies that undocumented immigrants are not eligible for the scholarship.
- Florida Prepaid College Program – Specifies that a Florida prepaid College Program plan purchased prior to July 1, 2024, is only obligated to pay for the credit hours in which a student is enrolled.
- Courtelis University Facility Enhancement Challenge Grant Program – Maintains the temporary suspension of state matching funds and clarifies the Legislature may prioritize funding for specified projects.
- Requires each university board of trustees adopt a block tuition policy for implementation beginning in the fall 2018 academic semester.
- The policy must apply to the entering freshman class of full-time, FTIC students and may be extended to include other enrolled students, and must meet the following criteria:
- must include block tuition and any required fees, including, but not limited to, activity and service fees, financial aid fees, capital improvement fees, health fees, and technology fees;
- must require the university to maximize the application of appropriate accelerated credits to minimize unnecessary credits and excess hours; and
- must enable students to have the flexibility to earn credits across all terms of the entire academic year.
- Requires each university board of trustees, by Oct 1, 2017, adopt a block tuition and fee policy, for implementation by the fall 2018 academic semester and submit the policy, including, but not limited to, information on the potential impact of the policy on students, to the Board of Governors.
- By Dec 1, 2017, the Chancellor of the SUS shall submit to the Governor, the President, and the Speaker a summary report of such policies, the status of the board’s review and approval of such policies, and the board’s recommendations for improving block tuition and fee benefits for students.
Direct Support Organization (DSO)
- Beginning July 1, 2022, a state university board of trustees may not permit any university direct-support organization to use personal services.
- Prohibits the use of state funds for travel expenses by any university direct-support organization.
- Requires (rather than permit) the chair of each board of trustees appoint at least one (versus one) representative to the board of directors and the executive committee of a DSO.
- Prohibits a university DSO from giving to a political committee, without exception.
- Requires disclosure of all expenditures from state funds and disclosure of all travel expenditures from private funds.
Performance-based funding (PF) Model (universities)
- Requires the Board of Governors conduct a study of state investment allocation methodologies for the performance-based funding model. The study must include various options, including options in which each university may be eligible to receive some portion of the state investment based on benchmarks that reflect the institutional mission of each university and irrespective of their performance-based funding model score relative to other university scores.
- The Board shall submit a report describing the study, and any action taken by the Board relative to the study, to the chairs of the House and Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittees by Dec 31, 2017.
- Changes PF graduation rate metric from 6-year to 4-year.
- Changes PF access rate metric to require benchmarks that reward institutions with access rates at or above 50%.
- Changes in PF metrics (graduation rate and access rate) do not apply to the Board’s 2017 determination of ratings and funding. The Board will use metrics and benchmarks in place on January 1, 2017.
Board of Governors Strategic Plan
- Requires the Board strategic plan to require state universities to use data-driven gap analyses to identify internship opportunities in high demand fields.
Preeminent State Research Universities
- Revises the full-time FTIC student graduation rate metric to a 4-year rate of 60%.
- For the Board’s 2017 determination of preeminence status and funding, current statutory metrics apply (6-year graduation rate of 70%). The Board will use metrics and benchmarks in place on January 1, 2017.
- Changes funding for emerging preeminent state research universities from one-half to one-fourth of total increased preeminence funding.
- Eliminates preeminent state universities’ authority to require FTIC students take a 6-credit unique set of courses.
- Requires the Board establish standards and measures for programs of excellence, and requires recommendations to the Legislature by September 1, 2017.
- Changes graduation criteria from a 6-year to a 4-year rate for full-time, FTIC students to determine tuition differential.
- Clarifies that state university tuition differential fee may not be included in a Bright Futures award except as authorized for the FAS award.
World Class Faculty & Scholar Program
- Creates a program to support the efforts of state universities to recruit and retain exemplary faculty and research scholars.
- Retention, recruitment, and recognition efforts, activities, and investments may include, but are not limited to, investments in research-centric cluster hires, faculty research and research commercialization efforts, instructional and research infrastructure, undergraduate student participation in research, professional development, awards for outstanding performance, and postdoctoral fellowships.
- Requires each state university use the funds only for the purpose and investments authorized. These funds may not be used for the construction of buildings.
- Requires the Board submit a report by March 15 of each year to the Governor, President, and Speaker summarizing the information from the universities that includes:
- Specific expenditure information as it relates to investments.
- The impact of those investments in elevating the national competitiveness of the universities specifically relating to:
- The success in recruiting research faculty and the resulting research funding;
- The 4-year graduation rate;
- The number of undergraduate courses offered with fewer than 50 students; and
- The increased national academic standing of targeted 6795 programs, specifically advancement among top 50 universities in the targeted programs in well-known and highly respected national public university rankings, including, but not limited to, the U.S. News and World Report rankings, which reflect national preeminence, using the most recent rankings.
State University Professional and Graduate Degree Excellence Program
- Creates a program to support the efforts of state universities to enhance the quality and excellence of professional and graduate schools and degree programs in medicine, law, and business and expand the economic impact of state universities.
- Quality improvement efforts may include, but are not limited to, targeted investments in faculty, students, research, infrastructure, and other strategic endeavors to elevate the national and global prominence of state university medicine, law, and graduate-level business programs.
- Requires each state university use the funds only for the purpose and investments authorized. These funds may not be used for the construction of buildings.
- Requires the Board submit a report by March 15 of each year to the Governor, President, and Speaker summarizing the information from the universities that includes:
- Specific expenditure information as it relates to investments.
- The impact of those investments in elevating the national and global prominence of the state university medicine, law, and graduate-level business programs, specifically relating to:
- The first-time pass rate on the United States Medical Licensing Examination;
- The first-time pass rate on The Florida Bar Examination;
- The percentage of graduates enrolled or employed at a wage threshold that reflects the added value of a graduate-level business degree;
- The advancement in the rankings of the state university medicine, law, and graduate-level programs in well-known and highly respected national graduate-level university rankings, including, but not limited to, the U.S. News and World Report rankings, which reflect national preeminence, using the most recent rankings; and
- The added economic benefit of the universities to the state.
2+2 Targeted Pathways
- Requires each FCCS institution, by the 2018-19 academic year, execute at least one “2+2” targeted pathway articulation agreement with one or more state universities to establish “2+2” targeted pathway programs.
- The agreement must provide students who graduate with an associate in arts degree and who meet specified requirements guaranteed access to the state university and a degree program at that university. Lists requirements for both the FCCS institutions and state universities.
- Requires the BOG and SBCC assist the universities and community colleges with implementing these targeted pathway programs effectively by collaborating to eliminate barriers to their execution.
Florida College Community System (FCCS) and Board (SBCC)
- Renames the Florida College System to the Florida Community College System and changes all references.
- Creates a State Board of Community Colleges (SBCC) with 13 members serving 4-year staggered terms, appointed by the Governor, with Senate confirmation.
- Directs the Division of Florida Colleges provide administrative support to the SBCC until Sept 30, 2017. On Oct 1 all powers, duties, functions, etc are transferred from the SBE to the SBCC.
- Requires the state board appoint a chancellor by Nov 1, 2017.
- Requires the state board have an organizational meeting by Sept 30, 2017.
- Restricts a citizen member of the SBCC or a citizen member of the FCCS board of trustees from having or holding employment or contractual relationship as a legislative lobbyist requiring annual registration and reporting pursuant to s. 115 11.045.
- Deletes the SBE’s authority to develop a common placement test and gives it to the SBCC.
- Gives the SBCC authority to implement new FCS institutions/mergers, evaluate presidents, authorize baccalaureate degrees, propose additional campuses, set tuition and fees, etc.
- Requires the board develop performance metrics for the System and delineates what those metrics must include.
- Makes changes to the FCCS performance-based funding model.
- Makes changes to the Distinguished Florida Community College System Institution Program.
FCCS Baccalaureate Degrees
- Prohibits the FCCS institutions from offering a Bachelor of Arts degree program.
- Deletes St Petersburg College’s authority to establish bachelor of applied science degree programs. Additionally, the bill deletes the Board of Trustees of SPC independent authorization to establish additional baccalaureate degree programs.
- Increases the notice of intent for FCCS institutions to propose a baccalaureate degree program from 100 days to at least 180 days before the submission of the proposal.
- Requires the notice of interest be entered into a shared postsecondary database for preview and feedback.
- Requires a written notice of intent submitted to the Chancellor of the FCCS at least 100 days before submitting the baccalaureate degree proposal.
- The Chancellor of the FCCS must forward notice of intent and justification for the proposed program to the Chancellor of the SUS within 10 days.
- Requires the Chancellor of the SUS review the objection raised by the university and inform the BOG before the university submits its objection to the SBCC. The Chancellor of the SBCC must review with the Chancellor of the SUS and consider the objection before approving or denying the proposal.
- Makes a proposed alternate proposal optional.
- Requires each FCCS institution submit a baccalaureate degree program proposal at least 100 days after submitting the notice of intent.
- Requires an FCCS institution that is proposing a new baccalaureate degree program include a justification in the proposal that includes a data-driven analysis of workforce demand and how the program will meet that demand and unmet need. Delineates requirements in the justification, and requires the analysis be verified by more than one independent third-party professional entity.
- The justification must be provided to the SBCC within 90 days after submitting a notice of proposal for a new degree program. The state board has 10 business days to forward the justification to the Chancellor of the SUS.
- Requires new degree program proposals not to exceed $10,000 for the entire degree program.
- Requires the state board require the FCCS institution’s board of trustees terminate a program that has indicated negative program performance and/or fails a needs assessment.
- Establishes upper-level FTE enrollment threshold at 10%; authorizes growth at 4% for institutions above that threshold, and 8% for institutions below that threshold.
- Establishes an institution upper-level FTE enrollment cap of 15%.
- Within the 4% and 8% growth, for any planned and purposeful expansion of existing baccalaureate degree programs or creation of a new baccalaureate program, a community college must demonstrate satisfactory performance in fulfilling its primary mission, complying with 2+2 targeted pathways, and meeting performance standards.
- Requires the review of all academic programs in FCCS institutions at least every 7 years.
Joint tasks of the BOG and FCCS
- Requires the BOG work in tandem with the SBE and the SBCC on avoiding the wasteful duplication of facilities or programs.
- Requires the SBCC to establish and review, in consultation with the SBE and BOG, minimum and uniform standards of college-level communication and computation skills generally associated with successful performance and progression through the baccalaureate level, to identify college-preparatory high school coursework and postsecondary-level coursework that prepares students with the academic skills necessary to succeed in postsecondary education.
- Requires the board develop a 5-year strategic plan in coordination with the SBE and BOG in order to coordinate the roles of the school districts and universities to best meet state needs and reflect cost-effective use of state resources, and must consider reports and recommendations of the HECC and Articulation Coordinating Committee. A report from the SBCC must be submitted with the LBR.
- Requires the BOG, SBE, and FCCS jointly develop long-range plans and annual reports for financial aid in this state. The long-range plans must establish goals and objectives for a comprehensive program of financial aid for students and shall be updated every 5 years. Lists requirements in the plan. Requires the long-range plan be submitted to the Legislature by July 1, 2018 and every 5 years thereafter, and a report on the same date in each successive year a plan is not submitted.
- Encourages the FCCS institutions to enter into agreements with state universities which allow a FCCS institution student to complete upper-division-level courses at a FCCS institution.
SUMMARY OF REQUIRED REPORTS
Oct 1, 2017 – (Block Tuition) - Requires each university board of trustees adopt a block tuition and fee policy, for implementation by the fall 2018 academic semester and submit the policy, including, but not limited to, information on the potential impact of the policy on students, to the Board of Governors.
Board of Governors:
Sep 1, 2017 – (Programs of Excellence) - Requires Board submit recommendations to the Legislature
Dec 1, 2017 - (Block Tuition) - Requires the Chancellor of the SUS shall submit to the Governor, the President, and the Speaker a summary report of university block tuition policies, the status of the board’s review and approval of such policies, and the board’s recommendations for improving block tuition and fee benefits for students.
Dec 31, 2017 - (PF state investment allocation methodologies) - The Board shall submit a report describing the study, and any action taken by the Board relative to the study, to the chairs of the House and Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittees.
March 15, 2018 – (World Class Faculty & Scholar Program) – Requires Board submit a report summarizing the information from the universities on this program.
March 15, 2018 – (State University Professional and Graduate Degree Excellence Program) – Requires Board submit a report summarizing the information from the universities on this program.
July 1, 2018 – (Joint strategic plan) - Requires the joint long-range plan (BOG, SBE, FCCS) be submitted to the Legislature by July 1, 2018 and every 5 years thereafter, and a report on the same date in each successive year a plan is not submitted.
Effective October 1, 2017
SB 7022 -- State-administered Retirement Systems by Senator Dennis Baxley (R – Ocala, FSU Alum), relating to public employees, makes the following substantial changes:
- Amends provisions of the State Group Health Insurance Program (Program).
- For plan year 2020 and thereafter, the Department of Management Services (DMS) must offer four health insurance coverage levels of at least a certain actuarial value under the Program as follows: Platinum – 90 percent, Gold – 80 percent, Silver – 70 percent, and Bronze – 60 percent. If the state’s contribution is more than the premium cost of the health plan selected by the employee, the bill specifies that the employee will be permitted to allocate unused state health insurance contributions to other benefits or as salary. The DMS must recommend contribution policies and employee education strategies regarding the coverage levels and other benefit alternatives.
- Beginning with plan year 2018, the DMS is authorized to procure new types of health care products and services. For plan year 2018, the DMS must contract with an entity to provide enrollees with an online cost comparison for health care services and providers and at least one entity that provides comprehensive pricing and inclusive services for surgery and other medical procedures. Enrollees may access these services and share in any savings to the plan. The DMS must report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives on certain criteria, including cost-savings to both enrollees and the state resulting from implementation of the Internet-based platform and the comprehensive services.
- The DMS must competitively procure an independent benefits consultant to assist the agency in developing a plan for implementation of the new benefit levels in the Program. This plan must be submitted to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by January 1, 2019.
- By October 1, 2017, the DMS must calculate alternative premium rates that reflect the differences in costs to the Program for each of the health maintenance organizations and the preferred provider organization plan options for the 2018 plan year.
- For Plan Year 2019, the DMS must determine and recommend premiums for enrollees that reflect the differences in costs to the Program for each of the health maintenance organizations and the preferred provider organization plan options. The premium rate for the employers used in this report will be the premiums established in the general appropriations act for fiscal year 2018-2019.
- The bill appropriates $151,216 in recurring funds and $507,546 in nonrecurring funds from the State Employees Health Insurance Trust Fund to DMS and authorizes 2 fulltime equivalent positions and $120,000 of associated salary rate for the 2017-2018 fiscal year to implement the act.
- Amends the Florida Retirement System (FRS).
- Renewed membership is permitted in the investment plan or one of the optional annuity retirement plans for certain former participants of those plans;
- The survivor benefit for investment plan members killed in the line of duty was expanded to include all members of the investment plan and made the provisions, including those pertaining to the Special Risk Class, retroactive to 2002;
- The Senior Management Service Optional Annuity Program is closed to new members
- The default for members failing to elect participation in either the pension plan or the investment plan is set to:
- The pension plan for enrollees in positions within the Special Risk Class; and
- The investment plan for all other members.
- The period allowed to initially select a plan in which to participate is extended by 3 months.
- The employer contribution rates are increased to fund FRS’s normal costs and unfunded actuarial liability and the costs of the new benefits offered under this legislation.
- Provides pay adjustments to state employees and officers for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.
Effective July 1, 2017
SB 2508 – Division of State Group Insurance by Senator Jack Latvala (R – Clearwater), relates to the Division of State Group Insurance, and makes the following changes:
- The DMS is permitted to contract with a vendor to conduct a dependent eligibility verification audit. The department is required to put all enrollees of the State Group Health Insurance Plan on notice regarding the eligibility requirements for dependents. Through the next open enrollment period for the plan, enrollees can remove dependents who are no longer eligible for coverage. Beginning in December 2017, a contractor will begin the eligibility audits, requesting and reviewing documents on each dependent to ensure eligibility requirements have been met. The documents submitted for this audit must be retained until June 30, 2019. After that date, the documents are no longer useful and may be destroyed.
- The bill also updates the current statutory provisions relating to the State Employees Prescription Drug Program. The current copayment structure is codified so that it does not revert to the December 31, 2010 copayment levels each year. The current copayments of $7 for generic drugs, $30 for preferred brand name drugs, and $50 for non-preferred brand name drugs continue rather than reverting to $10 for generic drugs, $25 for preferred brand name drugs, and $40 for non-preferred brand name drugs.
Effective July 1, 2017.
CS/HB 1079 – Public Records and Meetings/Campus Emergency Response for Public Postsecondary Educational Institutions by Representative Bob Rommel (R – Naples), creates an exemption from public record and public meeting requirements for information associated with a campus emergency response of a public postsecondary educational institution. “Campus emergency response” is defined as a public postsecondary educational institution’s response to or plan for responding to an act of terrorism or other public safety crisis or emergency. Effective July 1, 2017
CS/SB 396 – Student Loan Debt by Senator Dorothy Hukill (R – Port Orange), requires certain postsecondary education institutions to provide information regarding student loans to each student annually or once during each academic year, and that such information must be provided in print or electronic format. Effective July 1, 2017
CS/CS/HB 859 – Postsecondary Distance Education by Representative Amber Mariano (R – New Port Richey), establishes the Postsecondary Reciprocal Distance Education Coordinating Council within the Florida Department of Education (DOE). The bill was amended to:
- allow the Institutional Assessment Trust Fund to collect all fees from all institutions related to participating in the SARA;
- provide a fee schedule and collect fees from each Florida SARA institution. The fees are based on a graduated scale of institutional enrollment. All fees collected shall be submitted through the DOE to the Chief Financial Officer for deposit into a separate account within the Institutional Assessment Trust Fund. The bill provides the fees will be assessed as follows:
- $1,500/year for institutions with fewer than 2,500 FTE students;
- $3,000/year for institutions between 2,500-9,999 FTE students;
- $4,500/year for institutions with 10,000 or more FTE students;
- provide a reporting requirement for the council; and
- appropriate recurring funds of $225,534 from the Institutional Assessment Trust Fund and 2 FTE to the Department of Education to implement the requirements of the bill.
Effective upon becoming law.
HB 543—Regulation of Nursing by Representative Cary Pigman (R – Sebring), makes changes to nursing education program regulation. The bill authorizes the Board of Nursing (BON) to grant a one-year extension to a nursing education program that is on probation for failure to meet the graduate passage rate, if the program shows progress. The BON retains authority to terminate a program after the two-year probation period. A program on probation must notify its students and applicants of that status and its implications in writing. The bill removes a requirement that a nursing student who does not take the licensure examination within six months of graduation successfully complete a licensure examination preparatory course. The bill prohibits a program that was terminated or closed from reapplying for approval for three years. It authorizes the BON to adopt rules related to nursing education programs, and to perform an on-site evaluation of a nursing education program applicant. Finally, it eliminates annual reports by the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability on the status of nursing education programs, but requires the Florida Center for Nursing to issue the annual reports and include an assessment progress accreditation status for certain nursing programs The bill makes various changes to many other programs at DOH.
Additionally, the bill:
- Authorizes DOH to request a date of birth on a licensure application and removes requirements for the size and forms of licenses
- Requires DOH to deny license renewal of an applicant who owes fines and costs imposed in a licensure disciplinary proceeding unless the applicant has received an extension of time to pay;
- Authorizes a regulatory board or DOH, if there is no board, to transfer funds from a profession’s operating trust fund to cover a deficit related to prosecuting unlicensed activity and to waive licensure or renewal fees under certain circumstances;
- Authorizes DOH to administer the Conrad 30 Waiver program, which allows a limited number international physicians, employed by a facility in an underserved area, to waive certain federal requirements;
- Requires certain pain management clinics to register with DOH at no cost;
- Authorizes any entity approved by the BON to offer the required 3-hour continuing education class on the safe and efficient prescription of controlled substances;
- Requires an ARNP to maintain a copy of his or her protocol at the location the ARNP practices and if the ARNP works with multiple supervising physicians in a group practice, the ARNP has to enter into a protocol with at least one physician;
- Establishes standards for permitting and regulating in-state sterile compounding pharmacies and outsourcing facilities;
- Authorizes DOH to issue a single license to a prosthetist-orthotist;
- Establishes a path to licensure for certain students enrolled in physical therapist assistant programs; and
- Updated national licensure examinations for marriage and family therapists; etc.
Effective July 1, 2017
SB 436 -- Religious Expression in Public Schools by Senator Dennis Baxley (R – Ocala, FSU Alum), creates the “Florida Student and School Personnel Religious Liberties Act,” protecting K-12 public school students, their parents, and school personnel from discrimination based on their religious belief and expression.
The bill protects students from discrimination based on their religion in several ways. Regarding coursework, the bill requires that students’ work be graded according to the expected academic standards, without regard for any religious content. Also, if students in a given school setting are permitted to wear clothing, jewelry, or accessories that display a secular message or symbol, then students may also wear items displaying religious messages or symbols. Moreover, the bill authorizes students to express themselves in a religious manner, and to engage in and organize religious activities to the same extent as secular expressions and activities are permitted.
The bill protects school personnel from discrimination in several ways. First, school districts may not discriminate against their employees on religious grounds. Also, school personnel may not be barred from joining in certain types of student-initiated religious activities. This protection includes several caveats, including that the activity must be on school grounds, occur at reasonable times before or after school, be voluntary, and not conflict with the duties of the employee joining the student-initiated activity.
The bill protects religious groups from discrimination by requiring school districts to permit these groups access to the same facilities for assembly that it permits such access to secular groups. The bill requires school districts to adopt a policy establishing a “limited public forum” for student speakers at certain school events.
Effective July 1, 2017
HB 501 – Public Records and Meetings/Information Technology/Postsecondary Education Institutions by Representative Thomas Leek (R-Daytona Beach), provides that the following records held by a state university or Florida College System institution are confidential and exempt from public record requirements:
- Records that identify detection, investigation, or response practices for suspected or confirmed information technology security incidents, including suspected or confirmed breaches, if the disclosure of such records would facilitate unauthorized access to or unauthorized modification, disclosure, or destruction of data or information or information technology resources; and
- Those portions of risk assessments, evaluations, audits, and other reports of the university’s or institution’s information technology security program for its data, information, and information technology resources, if the disclosure of such records would facilitate unauthorized access to or unauthorized modification, disclosure, or destruction of data or information or information technology resources.
The bill exempts from public meeting requirements those portions of a meeting that would reveal data or information that is made confidential and exempt by this bill. The meeting must be recorded and transcribed, but the recording and transcript of such a meeting must remain confidential and exempt from public disclosure. The bill provides that such confidential and exempt information must be provided to specified entities. The bill provides for repeal of the exemption on October 2, 2022, unless reviewed and saved from repeal through reenactment by the Legislature. Effective upon becoming law.
HB 989 – Instructional Materials by Representative Byron Donalds (R – Naples, FSU Alum), provides for greater transparency in the district-level adoption process and more opportunities to review and challenge materials made available to students by:
- allowing parents and residents of the county to provide the district school board evidence that an instructional material for adoption by the district does not meet the state criteria, contains prohibited content, or is otherwise inappropriate or unsuitable;
- defining the terms “resident” and “purchase;”
- allowing county residents to contest the adoption of an instructional material and object to the use of a material made available to students;
- requiring the process for contesting the adoption of an instructional material to provide for an impartial hearing officer and to provide certain procedural protections;
- requiring school districts to discontinue use of a material found to be inappropriate or unsuitable;
- requiring school districts to provide access to library materials upon written request;
- requiring school districts to maintain a current list of purchased instructional materials on their websites;
- requiring that instructional materials purchased using the instructional materials allocation be on the state-adopted list unless purchased through a district instructional materials program;
- requiring that instructional materials purchased through a district instructional materials program meet the criteria for inclusion in the state-adopted list, be aligned to the state academic standards, and be consistent with course expectations and course descriptions;
- eliminating the requirement that 50 percent of the instructional materials allocation be used to purchase electronic or digital materials; and
- clarifying that a school district is responsible for the content of all materials made available to students, including those that may not meet the statutory definition of an instructional material.
The bill also specifies that an instructional material must be free of content that is pornographic or harmful to minors in order to be recommended for inclusion in the state-adopted list and that any material used in a classroom must also be free of such content. Effective July 1, 2017
HB 7069 -- Best and Brightest Teachers and Principals by Representative Manny Diaz (R – Hialeah Gardens), revises charter school provisions and expands the authority of high performing charter schools and systems. The bill authorizes the establishment of Schools of Hope, revises traditional public school improvement provisions and creates the Schools of Hope revolving loan program. The bill revises teacher certification provisions, modifies eligibility requirements for the best and brightest teacher scholarship requirements, and creates the best and brightest principal scholarship program. The bill revises eligibility requirements for virtual education, requires recess, authorizes specified sunscreen uses, specifies reading intervention programs, clarifies permissible school absences related to autism spectrum disorder, creates “American Founders’ Month,” eliminates certain required assessments, and revises the assessment administration and reporting process.
Effective July 1, 2017, except as otherwise provided (for schools of hope, certain school improvement provisions, certain capital outlay funding requirements which are effective upon becoming law).
HB 7109 – Taxation by Representative Jim Boyd (R – Bradenton, FSU Alum), provides for a wide range of tax reductions and modifications that affect households and businesses and improve tax administration. Following is a list of some of the tax changes included in the bill:
- Allows low-income residents of homes for the aged to prove their income by providing an affidavit to the property appraiser;
- Provides a 50 percent discount in property taxes to certain multifamily, low-income housing projects;
- Repeals several annual license taxes and registration fees;
- Repeals a cigarette tax distribution to the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute;
- Reduces the state sales tax rate on the rental of commercial real estate from 6.0 percent to 4.5 percent for two years, beginning January 1, 2018, then maintains a permanent tax rate reduction from 6.0 percent to 5.5 percent, beginning January 1, 2020;
- Sets forth procedures for certain resellers of admissions to receive a refund of taxes paid when they make a sale to a tax-exempt person; Repeals a requirement that a tax notice be placed on vending machines, and the related penalty;
- Exempts from sales tax certain animal health products and other agricultural items;
- Exempts from sales tax certain purchases made by municipally-owned golf course operators;
- Exempts from sales tax products used to control menstrual flow;
- Exempts from sales tax diapers and incontinence products;
- Provides an annual sales tax holiday for veterans;
- Exempts from sales tax certain purchases of tangible personal property by related companies covered by the federal Dodd-Frank Act;
- Increases the amount of Research and Development Tax Credits that may be taken against the Corporate Income Tax from $9 million to $20 million for calendar year 2018;
- Redefines “beer” for purposes of the beverage law;
- Exempts from sales tax the sale of college textbooks and instructional materials for one year;
- Provides a ten-day “back-to-school” holiday for clothing, footwear, school supplies, and computers; and
- Provides a nine-day “disaster preparedness” holiday for certain items related to disaster preparedness.
The total fiscal impact of the bill in Fiscal Year 2017-2018 is a reduction of $296.7 million. Effective July 1, 2017.
HB 39 -- Autism Awareness Training for Law Enforcement Officers by Representative Evan Jenne (D – Hollywood, FSU Alum), requires FDLE to establish a continuing education training (CET) component relating to Autism Spectrum Disorder. The training must include, but is not limited to, instruction on the recognition of the symptoms and characteristics of an individual on the autism disorder spectrum and appropriate responses to such individuals. Completion of the training may count toward a law enforcement officer’s required 40 hours of CET. Effective October 1, 2017.
Bills that Failed
HB 6005 Licenses to Carry Concealed Weapons or Firearms by Representative Scott Plakon (R – Longwood) and SB 140 by Senator Greg Steube (R – Sarasota), removes provision prohibiting concealed carry licensees from openly carrying handgun or carrying concealed weapon or firearm into college or university facility. The bills died in committee.
CS/CS/SB 926 – Education by Senator Anitere Flores (R – Miami) and HB 549 by Representative Randy Fine (R – Palm Bay), was a comprehensive education bill that modified provisions related to K-12 student assessments, the minority teacher education scholars program, early childhood development, intensive reading instruction, visitation of schools by individual school board members, exceptional student education, school board attendance policies, and teacher bonus, etc. The bill died in House messages.
CS/SB 392 – High School Graduation Requirements by Senator Dorothy Hukill (R – Port Orange) and HB 955 by Representative Larry Ahern (R – Seminole), created the “Personal Financial Literacy Education Act” to specify financial literacy standards and instruction for students entering grade 9 in the 2017-2018 school year. The bills died in House messages.
HB 265 -- Computer Coding Instruction by Representative Elizabeth Porter (R – Lake City, FSU Alum) and SB 104 by Senator Jeff Brandes (R – St. Petersburg), required the Articulation Coordinating Committee to develop & submit recommendations relating to computer science instruction to Board of Governors, State Board of Education (SBE) & Legislature. The bill required the Commissioner of Education to include certain courses relating to computer science in the Course Code Directory and required SBE to develop strategies relating to computer science educator certification & teacher recruitment.
HB 351 -- Pub. Rec. and Meetings/Postsecondary Education Executive Search by Representative Bob Rommel (R – Naples) and SB 478 by Senator Kathleen Passidomo (R – Naples), created an exemption from public record and public meeting requirements for information associated with the applicant recruitment process and discussions associated with the applicant search for certain state university and Florida College System institution employees. The bills died in Committee.
SB 1276 Postsecondary Educational Institution Affordability by Senator Kelli Stargel (R – Lakeland) and HB 1073 by Representative Chuck Clemons (R – Jonesville), prohibited Florida College System institution boards of trustees and State University System institution boards of trustees from increasing statutorily authorized student fees. The bills died in Committee.
HB 1375 – Specialty License Plates by Representative James Grant (R – Tampa and SB 1060 by Senator Kevin Rader (D – Boca Raton), established a cap at 125 specialty license plates and provided a process for the discontinuation of low performing plates and the addition of new plates. It provided direction to DHSMV on the discontinuance of specialty license plates and established a timeframe of 180 days to distribute the remaining annual use fees held or collected by DHSMV, etc. The bills died in Committee.
HB 7047 -- Deregulation of Professions and Occupations by Representative Halsey Beshears (R – Monticello, FSU Alum), and SB 802 by Senator Kathleen Passidomo (R – Naples), Removed regulations on specified DBPR professions, including labor organizations, hair braiders, hair wrappers & body wrappers, & boxing timekeepers & announcers; revised certain requirements for barbers, nail specialists, business organizations that provide architecture services and interior design, landscape architects, & geologists. The bills died in Committee.