January 13, 2020
Volume 27, Number 1

Happy 2020! The start of the new year brings yet another legislative session. House and Senate members will gather tomorrow in their respective chambers to officially open the 60-day session and Governor Ron DeSantis will give his State of the State address at 11:00 am.

Revenue projections for the coming fiscal year are up slightly. However, Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) continues to show decreases in revenue for public education facilities construction and fixed capital outlay needs, including those for the State University System (SUS).

Florida State University’s 2020 Legislative Priorities include a $25 million increase for National Rankings Enhancements and another $25 million in Preeminence funding, and the revenue needed to complete the Legacy Hall and IRCB buildings.  To view the university’s priorities, please go to advocateforfloridastate.fsu.edu (see related story), which is where you can also add your voice to our legislative interests.

State lawmakers will be taking up a wide range of issues this session, in addition to negotiating a budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1. The FSU Governmental Relations office is tracking numerous bills, including those pertaining to guns on campus, legislation that modifies BOG performance metrics and preeminence credentialing, and initiatives that codify student success and college affordability. An overview of proposed legislation is in the Spotlight on Bills section of this newsletter.

In addition to the above, high-profile issues such as increased K-12 teacher pay, gun safety, access to firearms and mental health, and college athlete name and likeness compensation bills are also being tracked. Some of these will impact the budgeting process and have the support of legislative leaders and the Governor, and will be discussed in committees as early as this week. 

FSU’s advocacy efforts include our 35-member Seminole Caucus, chaired by Representative Holly Raschein, which will convene again later this month to discuss the university’s priorities, and strategize on how to achieve our session goals.

Again, please visit and register at the Advocate for Florida State website – www. advocateforfloridastate.fsu.edu website – which will allow you to receive legislative updates and alerts, along with a simplified way to contact your legislators. Your voice is important.

You can also keep up with legislative proceedings through live, streamed and taped coverage of the session on The Florida Channel. As always, please feel free to contact me with questions about pending legislation, as well as requests for copies of bills and their analysis. I can be reached at (850) 644-4453 or kdaly@fsu.edu

Kathleen Daly

2020 Legislative Priorities

Each year, Florida State University administrators identify legislative priorities that are vital to the operation of the university.

See the priorities for 2020

Priority Request
National Ranking Enhancement $25,000,000
Enriching Florida’s Talent Pipeline (Preeminence) $25,000,000
Integrated Advancement for the Joint FAMU-FSU College of Engineering $6,511,000
Legacy Hall Business Building $17,000,000
Interdisciplinary Research & Commercialization Building $18,492,086

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Employee Guidelines for Legislative Session

The 2020 Session of the Florida Legislature begins tomorrow.

See the policies

Please note the following Florida State University policies:

  • President John Thrasher, Associate Vice President for University Relations Kathleen Daly and Director of External Relations at the College of Medicine Laura Brock are the lobbyists for Florida State University.
  • No one on campus other than President Thrasher, Ms. Daly and Dr. Brock are authorized to lobby for Florida State University or the State University System.

However, the Legislature periodically requests faculty and/or staff to attend committee meetings or to formally respond to questions about certain issues.  FSU employees asked to appear before committee must notify Kathleen Daly, 850-644-1728 and submit a legislative contact form prior to making an appearance.

The form can be found here.  If you have trouble accessing this form please contact Governmental Relations at 644-4453 for a hard copy.

Nothing here is intended to discourage FSU employees from exercising their individual rights as citizens or as members of groups or organizations not affiliated with the University.  Such rights include the freedom to express their views on legislation, provided that the views are not presented as those of FSU, the SUS, or a subunit of these.

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Let’s ‘rock the capitol’ during the 2020 legislative session

Making Florida State’s legislative priorities real during the 2020 session will require active input from university alumni and friends.

Read more

Our vision is solid, our needs are real and we absolutely must have the energetic support of the Florida State faithful to rock the capitol during the legislative session which begins tomorrow.  Proposed legislation is already moving and well underway, so we definitely need our alumni and supporters to engage with our priorities right now – and stay engaged throughout the year – if we’re going to achieve our legislative goals.

FSU has made supporters’ activism simple through its Advocate for Florida State website – www.advocateforfloridastate.fsu.edu  – where comprehensive information on the university’s legislative priorities is available to alumni and friends.

Plus when you register on the site, your email messages are automatically directed to the Florida legislative members who represent you. We encourage you to go to the Advocate site and sign-up today.

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FSU Day at the Capitol

The annual salute to Florida State’s significant contributions to our state will take place on Wednesday, February 12, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

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FSU Day at the Capitol has become one of the most popular traditions during the legislative session, and provides a wonderful opportunity to showcase our University’s programs and accomplishments to our friends in the legislature.

Through this event, Florida State is able to emphasize the University's long and proud heritage, and bring attention to the extraordinary achievements of our students, faculty and staff.

Preceding the day’s festivities, a “Seminole Evening” reception will be held on February 11, starting at 5:30 on the 22nd floor of the Capitol. This special event is sponsored by the FSU Student Government Association and all University supporters are welcome to attend.

As always, FSU Day at the Capitol will include informative displays, which will be positioned throughout the plaza level, second and third floor rotundas. Also featured will be University “celebrities” – administrators, legislative alumni and more – along with performances by the FSU pep band, cheerleaders and Flying High Circus. 

A special celebration of all things FSU will take place in the Capitol courtyard beginning at 11:30 with refreshments available for all to enjoy.

If your department has not yet signed up to display your achievements, please contact Toni Moore in the FSU Governmental Relations office at tmoore@fsu.edu or 644-3847.

Mark your calendars now for this Garnet and Gold event on February 12!


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CS/HB 613 – Higher Education by Representative Ray Rodriguez (R – Ft. Myers)

CS/HB 613 – Higher Education by Representative Ray Rodriguez (R – Ft. Myers), requires the Board of Governors (BOG) and the State Board of Education (SBE) to report annually on the intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity at each institution by conducting a survey. Additionally, the bill:

  • Revises the data for academic and research excellence standards of preeminent institutions by using more timely performance data and requiring the standards to be reported annually in the BOG Accountability Plan.
  • Repeals the emerging preeminent state research university designation and creates State Universities of Distinction. The bill requires the BOG to establish standards and measures for State Universities of Distinction which identify universities who are achieving excellence, meeting state workforce needs, and fostering an innovation economy.
  • Modifies state university performance funding metrics to include metrics that focus on the success rate of “2+2” Associate in Arts (AA) degree transfer students and Pell Grant students; and prohibits the adjustment of such metrics once data has been received.
  • Requires Florida College System (FCS) institutions and state universities be given the choice to provide either an opt-in or an opt-out provision to students regarding textbook and instructional materials affordability.
  • Removes the limitation that prohibits a Phosphate Research and Activities Board member from serving more than 180 days after the expiration of his or her term, until a successor is appointed.
  • Requires the BOG legislative budget request to include 5-year trend information on the number of faculty and administrators at each university along with the proportion of full-time equivalent (FTE) dedicated to instruction and research compared to administration and specifies that the growth rate of administrators at any state university may not exceed the growth rate of faculty.

The bill was amended before the holidays to exclude preeminent universities from programs of distinction funding.  The amended bill reported favorably by the House Higher Education Committee. A comparable bill in the Senate, SB 72 by Senator Kelli Stargel (R – Lakeland) has a hearing in the Senate Education Committee today.

SB 72 by Senator Kelli Stargel (R – Lakeland)

SB 72 modifies provisions relating to the prioritization of capital outlay projects at FCS institutions, the carry forward of operational funds at state universities and FCS institutions, state student financial aid, and textbook affordability at public postsecondary institutions. Specifically, the bill:

  • Modifies a criterion for new construction, remodeling, or renovation projects at FCS institutions that have not been previously state funded to be added to the Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) priority list.
  • Modifies reporting deadlines and spending plan provisions relating to the carry forward of operational funds at state universities and FCS institutions.
  • Replaces the State University System Programs of Excellence with the State Universities of Distinction program and establishes requirements.
  • Aligns student eligibility, maximum awards, fund distribution, remittance deadlines, and reporting requirements between the four Florida Student Assistance Grant programs.
  • Clarifies initial and renewal award requirements for the Benacquisto Scholarship Program.
  • Provides that pricing and payment options relating to textbook affordability may include either an opt-in or opt-out provision for students.

CS/HB 171 – Postsecondary Education for Certain Military Personnel by Representative Mel Ponder (R – Ft. Walton Beach, FSU Alum)

CS/HB 171 – Postsecondary Education for Certain Military Personnel by Representative Mel Ponder (R – Ft. Walton Beach, FSU Alum), requires the Board of Governors (BOG) to adopt regulations and the State Board of Education (SBE) to adopt rules to create a process that enables servicemembers and veterans of the United States Armed Forces to earn uniform postsecondary credit or career education clock hours across all Florida public postsecondary educational institutions for college-level training and education acquired in the military.

The regulations and rules must be developed in consultation with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and include procedures for credential evaluation and the uniform award of postsecondary credit or career education clock hours, including, but not limited to, equivalency and alignment of military coursework with appropriate postsecondary courses and course descriptions. The bill requires the Articulation Coordinating Committee (ACC) to:

  • convene a workgroup to develop a process for determining when courses taken and occupations held by individuals during their service in the military is appropriate for postsecondary credit or career education clock hours;
  • provide recommendations to the BOG and the SBE regarding a process for determining postsecondary course equivalencies; and
  • approve a list of postsecondary course equivalencies and the minimum credit or career education clock hours that must be awarded for courses taken and occupations held by individuals during their service in the military.

The bill requires the BOG and the SBE to adopt the list approved by the ACC. State universities, Florida College System (FCS) institutions, and career centers must award postsecondary credit or career education clock hours based on the list adopted by the BOG and the SBE, provided the credit is applicable toward the student’s degree or certificate.

The bill authorizes institutions to award additional postsecondary credit or career education clock hours, if appropriate, and guarantees credit and career education clock hours awarded in accordance with minimum credit and clock hour requirements to transfer to other state universities, FCS institutions, and career centers as if the credit or clock hours were earned at the receiving institution.

State universities, FCS institutions, and career centers must waive the transcript fee for active duty members and honorably discharged veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States, and their spouses and dependents.

The bill reported favorably by the Higher Education and Career Readiness Subcommittee.  A similar bill in the Senate, CS/SB 372 by Senator Tom Lee (R – Brandon) reported favorably by the Education Committee.

HB 287 – Student Athletes, by Representative Byron Donalds (R – Naples, FSU Alum)

HB 287 – Student Athletes, by Representative Byron Donalds (R – Naples, FSU Alum), allows student athletes to receive compensation for the use of the student’s name, image, or likeness.  The bill prohibits a postsecondary educational institution, athletic association, conference, or other group or organization with authority over intercollegiate athletics from preventing a student athlete in this state from obtaining professional representation in relation to contracts or legal matters, including, but not limited to, representation provided by an athlete agent or legal representation provided by an attorney.  The bill is waiting to be heard in the Higher Education and Career Readiness Subcommittee, however the topic will be workshopped today in a joint House Education, Commerce and Judiciary Committee meeting.  A similar bill in the Senate, SB 646 by Senator Debbie Mayfield (R – Melbourne) has been referred to the Education; Innovation, Industry, and Technology; Rules committees.