LegisLetter: January 29, 2018

Volume 25, Number 4

Today marks the beginning of Week 4 of the Legislative Session. We are nearly at the halfway point, and bills are moving through the process. In contrast to previous years, both the Senate and House budgets are making their way through the process smoothly. If it holds up, we will have a timely budget and a timely end to Session.

While the process appears smooth, the products still contains a great deal of uncertainty. In the side by side comparison of the House and Senate versions of the budget, you will find significant differences. We expected the contrasts because President Negron has designated higher education as a Senate priority. The House budget contains a hefty cut to state universities. We will work diligently during the conference process to reduce or eliminate the reduction.

Florida State University has many of our funding priorities in either the House or Senate budgets. Our job now is to meld the best of both budgets over the next few weeks.

In addition to the appropriation bills, there are several notable policy bills which legislators are considering this Session. This edition of the Legisletter highlights five bills – and previous editions highlight others.

There are no policy updates to SB 4 because the Senate passed the bill by a unanimous vote during the first week of Session. The House version (HB 423) had no legislative action last week. We continue to hear that significant changes are coming to the House bill. We don’t expect to see new language to the bill this week.

It was a quick start to Session. The middle appears to be methodical. Undoubtedly, there will be a whirlwind ending. We look forward to providing you with continued updates.

Remember, next week is FSU Day at the Capitol. We hope to see you at 404 South Monroe Street as we flood the rotunda with garnet and gold.

Go Noles!

Kathy Mears

Budget Update

Both the House and Senate rolled out their initial budget proposals for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. While there is still a very long way to go, we wanted to keep you updated on the process. Following is a comparison of the two proposals.

Project House Higher Education Proposal Senate Higher Education Proposal
State University System Issues
Budget Reduction based on Carryforward Balances ($216,985,000)
Performance Based Incentives
Preeminent Funding $20,000,000 $0
World Class Scholars $0 $20,000,000
Professional & Graduate Degree Excellence Program $0 $10,000,000
Startup/Enhancement Grants – University Programs of Excellence $0 $23,800,000
SUS PECO – Utility Infrastructure Maintenance & Repair $0 $27,500,000
FSU Specific Issues
FSU General Revenue $259,801,490 $284,098,663
Boy & Girls State (R) $100,000 $100,000
Charles Hilton Endowed Professorship (R) $300,000 $300,000
College of Law Scholarship/Faculty (R) $846,763 $846,763
Florida Campus Compact (R) $514,926 $514,926
Learning System Institute (R) $0
Student Veterans Center (R) $500,000 $500,000
Pepper Center Long Term Care Proposal (NR) $500,000 $100,000
Next Gen. Ultra-High Field Magnets (NR) $300,000 $300,000
Health Equity Research Initiative (NR) $0 $100,000
High Risk Delinquent & Dependent Child (NR) $0 $150,000
FSU – Student and Other Fees $238,310,768 $238,310,768
FSU – Lottery $50,750,300 $39,512,183
FAMU-FSU College of Engineering $14,579,089 $14,411,180
FSU College of Medicine $47,907,060 $47,910,788
FSU College of Medicine – Lottery $605,115 $604,115
SUS- Maintenance, Repair, Renovation & Remodel $47,182,459 $48,629,307
College of Business $8,500,000
Earth Ocean Atmospheric Sciences Building, Phase I $12,959,263
Interdisciplinary Research Commercialization Bldg. (IRCB) $9,500,000
STEM Teaching Lab $8,000,000
FSUS – Hurricane Special Needs Shelter $0 $3,000,000
FSU Florida Diagnostic & Learning Resources Center $450,000 $450,000
FSU Autism Program $1,224,008 $1,224,008
Communication/Autism Navigator $1,353,292 $1,353,292
Public Broadcasting
Florida Channel Closed Captioning $390,862 $390,862
Florida Channel Satellite Transponder Operations $800,000 $800,000
Florida Channel Statewide Government & Cultural Affairs $497,522 $497,522
Florida Channel Year Round Coverage $2,562,588 $2,714,522
FSU – TV $307,447 $307,447
FSU - radio $100,000 $100,000
Honorably Discharged Graduate Assistance Program $1,000,000 $1,000,000
FSU – Rural NW FL Public Health Mosquito Surveillance (NR) $0 $578,544
FSU Panama City Underwater Crime Scene Investigation (NR) $0 $650,274

(R) = Recurring funds
(NR) = Non-recurring funds

Spotlight on Bills

Update on Bills

CS/CS/SB 540 – Postsecondary Education by Senator Dorothy Hukill (R – Port Orange), creates the “College Competitiveness Act of 2018” which restructures the governance of the Florida College System (FCS) and modifies the mission of the system and its institutions. Specifically, the bill:

  • Modifies the governance of the FCS by establishing a State Board of Colleges (SBC), transferring specified responsibilities from the State Board of Education to the SBC.
  • Clarifies expectations and oversight of baccalaureate degree programs offered by colleges, and:
    • Modifies the baccalaureate approval process for all colleges.
    • Establishes a 20 percent cap on upper-level, undergraduate full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment at each college, and a 10 percent cap on upper-level, undergraduate FTE enrollment for the FCS, and specifies conditions for planned and purposeful growth of baccalaureate degree programs.
  • Establishes the “2+2” targeted pathway program to provide students guaranteed access to baccalaureate degree programs at state universities.
  • Establishes the Supporting Students for Academic Success program to fund the efforts of colleges in assisting students enrolled in an associate in arts (AA) degree program to complete college-credit courses, graduate with an AA degree, and transfer to a baccalaureate degree program.
  • Modifies the college performance accountability metrics and standards to promote on-time student graduation.
  • Enhances transparency and accountability of college direct-support organizations.

The bill transfers 34 existing positions and $2.8 million from the State Board of Education budget for the creation of the SBC. The bill also provides an additional 17 positions and $1.5 million for necessary SBC positions such as a General Counsel, Inspector General, Board Secretary, and others. The bill also appropriates $100 million in recurring performance and program funding for the FCS. Specifically, the bill appropriates:

  • $10 million in recurring funds for distribution to colleges for students who earn industry certifications during the 2018-2019 academic year;
  • $60 million in recurring funds for the Florida College Performance-Based Incentive, for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. From these funds, $30 million is included as the state investment in performance funding and $30 million is redistributed from the base budget of FCS institutions as the institutional investment in performance funding.
  • $30 million in recurring funds for the Supporting Students for Academic Success Program for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, to be allocated to each college through the FCS Program Fund funding model.

The bill  passed the Appropriations Committee last week and is awaiting  a hearing by the full Senate.  A similar bill in the House, HB 831 by Representative Joe Gruters (R – Sarasota, FSU Alum), is waiting to be heard in the Postsecondary Education Subcommittee.

CS/HB 323 – High School Graduation Requirements by Representative Heather Fitzenhagen (R – Ft. Myers), creates a financial literacy as a requirement for graduation.  The bill was amended last week to provide that financial literacy instruction must be offered as a one-half credit elective course and require the Department of Education to identify freely available assessments or certificates that enable a student to demonstrate proficiency in personal finance literacy without taking the course.  The bill passed the PreK – 12 Quality Subcommittee.  The Senate companion, SB 88 by Senator Dorothy Hukill (R – Port Orange), is waiting to be heard in the House.

Spotlight On Bills

CS/SB 1680 Immunization Registry by Senator Bill Montford (D – Tallahassee, FSU Alum), requires certain health care practitioners to report vaccination administration data to the Department of Health (DOH) immunization registry when vaccinating children, or college or university students, 18 to 23 years of age, at a college or university student health care facility. Mandatory reporting to the registry will eliminate the use of a paper-based certification of immunization. The bill removes a parent or guardian’s ability to opt a child out of the immunization registry.

The reporting of the vaccination data to the registry for other persons is permitted, but not required.

The bill also requires school boards, and private school governing bodies, to establish and enforce a policy requiring that, before a child may attend a public or private school, the child must have on file a Florida Certification of Immunization (FCI) with the DOH immunization registry. Currently the policy allows submission of an FCI in paper form.

The bill reported favorably by the Health Policy Committee last week.  The House companion, HB 1045 by Representative Cary Pigman (R – Sebring), reported favorably by the Health Quality Subcommittee.

HB 977 -- Retirement of Instructional Personnel and Administrative Personnel by Representative Randy Fine (R – Palm Bay), provides that effective July 1, 2018, instructional personnel who are authorized to extend DROP participation beyond the 60-month period must have a termination date that is the last day of the last calendar month of the school year within the DROP extension granted by the employer. For those employees who have already extended DROP on or before July 1, 2018, the member’s DROP participation may be extended through the last day of the last calendar month of that school year. The employer must notify the division of the change in termination date and the additional period of DROP participation for the affected instructional personnel.

In addition, administrative personnel in grades K-12 who have a DROP termination date on or after July 1, 2018, may be authorized to extend DROP participation beyond the initial 60 calendar month period if the administrative personnel’s termination date is before the end of the school year. Such administrative personnel may have DROP participation extended until the last day of the last calendar month of the school year in which their original DROP termination date occurred.

The bill reported favorably by the Oversight, Transparency & Administration Subcommittee last week.  The Senate companion, SB 1240 by Senator Debbie Mayfield (R – Melbourne), passed the Governmental Oversight and Accountability Subcommittee.

CS/SB 90 -- Use of Wireless Communications Devices While Driving by Senator Keith Perry (R – Gainesville), amends state law to authorize a law enforcement officer to enforce the ban on texting while driving without first detaining the operator of the motor vehicle for suspected violation of another provision. The bill requires that all penalties collected for a violation of the ban be remitted to the Department of Revenue for deposit into the Emergency Medical Services Trust Fund of the Department of Health (DOH). Finally, the bill requires a law enforcement officer who has stopped a person for texting while driving to inform the person of the right to decline a search of his or her wireless communications device.

The bill was amended last week to require all law enforcement officers to record the race and ethnicity of a violator when issuing a citation for a violation. The amendment requires all law enforcement agencies to maintain such information and to forward the information to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles in a form and manner determined by the department.  Additionally, beginning on February 1, 2019, the DHMV will report annually to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, President of  the Senate, and  the Governor.  The amended bill reported favorably by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development.  The House companion, HB 33 by Representative Jackie Toledo (R – Tampa), passed the Judiciary Committee.