February 03, 2020
Volume 27, Number 4

Legislators completed their third week of work last week, with House and Senate Appropriations Chairs revealing their preliminary spending plans. While there’s still a few weeks to go before the budget process ends, this first draft is encouraging, especially in the Senate. Both bills will be amended and considered by their full Appropriations Committees this week, the fourth of the nine-week session. 

The House and Senate budget subcommittees proposed vastly differing bills (particularly for higher education) and are about $1.4 billion apart overall. The Senate bill (SB 2500) totals $92.8 billion and includes funding for “Universities of Distinction” and “National Ranking” enhancements, and does not cut higher-ed base or carryforward balances.

Meanwhile, the House bill (PCB-APC-01) totals $91.2 billion and cuts several universities’ base and carryforward projects. (At this point, FSU has been spared of those cuts.) Allocations for Performance-based Funding remain flat in both budgets.

Several substantive bills with implications for higher education continue to move through the committee process. These include bills pertaining to athletes’ compensation for name, image and likeness; legislative oversite for the naming of facilities for corporations; and the removal of universities’ right of first refusal for the purchase surplus state properties. More information on these and other bills is in the Spotlight on Bills section of this newsletter.

Two of FSU’s Trustees, Bob Sasser and John Thiel, will receive confirmation hearings in the Senate Education Committee later today. Those hearings, along with other legislative activities, will be shown on The Florida Channel and at thefloridachannel.org.

As always, please feel free to contact me with questions about legislation, the budget or legislative procedures at (850) 644-1728 or kdaly@fsu.edu.

Kathleen Daly

SB 7046 – State Group Insurance Program by Senator Ed Hooper (R – Palm Harbor)

SB 7046 – State Group Insurance Program by Senator Ed Hooper (R – Palm Harbor), amends the State Group Insurance Program administered by the Department of Management Services.

For the State Group Insurance Program, the bill:

  • Requires the department to establish an anti-fraud program.
  • Defines particular instances that will be deemed to be fraudulent based on the acts of the providers and imposes civil and criminal penalties.
  • Deletes obsolete language regarding employees paid from the other-personal-services appropriations categories and hired before April 1, 2013.

For the State Employee Health Insurance Program, the bill:

  • Repeals the implementation of the metal tier health insurance plans which had been scheduled for the 2020 plan year.
  • Codifies the regions that must be used for any procurement of HMO services beginning in 2023. These regions are based on utilization and referral patterns studied by DMS recently and the rule recommended by the department.
  • Requires an HMO option to be available to all enrollees of the program living in Florida.

For the Prescription Drug Program, the bill:
Clarifies the implementation of a prescription drug formulary management. The department and the pharmacy benefit manager are not permitted to substitute their judgment over the judgment of the prescriber regarding whether a prescription drug is medically necessary for the treatment of a patient. The department or pharmacy benefit manager may ask specific questions of the prescriber to ensure the patient is served well.

  • The bill requires the department to ensure that all rebates, fees and other charges related to pharmacy spend are remitted to the state for the benefit of the program.

The bill is expected to have a positive but indeterminate fiscal impact on the State Employees Group Self-Insurance Trust Fund.  The bill was workshopped by the Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee last week and submitted as a Committee Bill.  There is no House companion at this time.

HB 1213 - Holocaust Education by Representative Randy Fine (R – Palm Bay)

HB 1213—Holocaust Education by Representative Randy Fine (R – Palm Bay), permits the Florida Department of Education to contract with the Florida Holocaust Museum to develop instructional materials for courses on the history of the Holocaust, a required subject for K-12 public school students.

The bill reported favorably by the PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee last week.  The identical bill in the Senate, SB 1628 by Senator Lauren Book (D – Plantation) has been referred to the Education Committee, the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, and the Appropriations

House Bill 7051 - Intercollegiate Athlete Compensation and Rights by Workforce Development & Tourism SubCommittee and Rep. LaMarca

House Bill 7051 - Intercollegiate Athlete Compensation and Rights by Workforce Development & Tourism SubCommittee and Rep. LaMarca, authorizes intercollegiate athletes to earn compensation for their name, image, likeness, or persona (NILP). The bill seeks to preserve the integrity, quality, character, and amateur nature of intercollegiate athletics while maintaining a clear distinction between amateur and professional sports by:

  • Providing that compensation for athletic performance or attendance at a particular institution remains prohibited.
  • Allowing NILP compensation only if it is provided by a third party unaffiliated with the athlete’s postsecondary educational institution.

The bill prohibits postsecondary educational institutions receiving state aid (Florida College System institutions, State University System institutions, and private colleges and universities) from:

  • Preventing or unduly restricting an intercollegiate athlete from earning NILP compensation.
  • Preventing or unduly restricting an intercollegiate athlete from obtaining professional representation for purposes of seeking NILP compensation.
  • Revoking or reducing grant-in-aid awards for an intercollegiate athlete who earns compensation for his or her NILP.

The bill specifies that the terms of a contract for NILP compensation may not conflict with the terms of the intercollegiate athlete’s team contract or extend beyond the time of the athlete’s participation in an athletic program at a postsecondary educational institution.

In addition, the bill requires each postsecondary educational institution receiving state aid to:

  • Provide intercollegiate athletes with health and disability insurance for the time it takes the athlete to recover from the sports-related injury and a death benefit of $25,000, subject to certain conditions.
  • Maintain grant-in-aid for intercollegiate athletes until the athlete graduates, under certain circumstances.
  • Conduct a financial and life skills workshop at the beginning of the intercollegiate athlete’s first and third academic years.

The bill was workshopped by the Workforce and Tourism Subcommittee last week.  A Senate companion, SB 646 by Senator Debbie Mayfield (R – Melbourne), has been referred to the Education; Innovation, Industry and Technology; and, Rules committees.

CS/HB187 – Postsecondary Education for Secondary Students by Representative Ardian Zika (Land O’ Lakes)

CS/HB187 – Postsecondary Education for Secondary Students by Representative Ardian Zika (Land O’ Lakes), renames “collegiate high school programs” as “early college acceleration programs” and expands the programs from 1 to 2 years.

The bill requires the programs be made available to students in grades 11 and 12 and specifies that they must include an option for a student to graduate from high school with an associate degree. The bill also prohibits district school boards and Florida College System (FCS) institutions from limiting the number of eligible students who may enroll in dual enrollment programs, including early college acceleration programs, unless a 1-year waiver is granted by the Commissioner of Education.

The bill requires each dual enrollment articulation agreement between a FCS institution and a school district to establish at least one early admission program, one career early admission program, or one early college acceleration program. District school boards may establish an early college acceleration program with a state university or an eligible institution and charter and private schools may establish a program with a state college, state university, or other eligible postsecondary institution.

The bill establishes reporting requirements for district school boards, postsecondary institutions, and the Department of Education (DOE) regarding early college acceleration programs and dual enrollment articulation agreements.

For private schools, the bill provides that costs associated with dual enrollment, including the early college acceleration program, may not be passed on to their students. The bill also prohibits dual enrollment articulation agreements from passing along costs associated with tuition and fees, including registration and laboratory fees, and instructional materials to a student’s private school of enrollment.

The bill requires articulation agreements that address the costs associated with courses delivered using technology to be borne by both entities.

The bill requires the dual enrollment transfer guarantees statement developed by the DOE to include English and mathematics courses that require a grade of C or higher to measure student achievement in college-level communication and computation skills. This must include a notice stating that grades in college credit courses remain on the student’s permanent record.

The bill reported favorably by the Appropriations Committee last week.  The Senate companion, SB 1246 by Senator Kelli Stargel (R – Lakeland) is waiting to be heard in the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, although portions of that bill were amended into SB 62 last week (see next bill).  SB 62 is scheduled for a hearing on the Appropriations Committee on Wednesday.

CS/SB 62 – K-12 Education by Senator Kelli Stargel (R – Lakeland)

CS/SB 62 – K-12 Education by Senator Kelli Stargel (R – Lakeland), renames the “collegiate high school” program to the “early college” program and modifies a number of provisions related to education funding. Specifically, the bill:

  • Specifies that the resolution required for voters to approve the levy of a discretionary sales surtax for school capital outlay must include a statement that the revenues collected will be shared with charter schools based on their proportionate share of the total school district enrollment.
  • Expands the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) funding to incentivize school districts to offer secondary students access to advanced coursework through dual enrollment and early college programs. The bill:
  • Provides bonus full-time equivalent (FTE) funding to public school districts for each dual enrollment general education core course with an earned grade of “C” or better.
  • Provides bonus funding of 0.3 FTE student membership for each student who completes an associate degree through the dual enrollment program with at least a 3.0 grade point average.
  • Requires school districts to allocate at least 50 percent of the bonus funds for dual enrollment and early college programs to the schools that generated the funds to support academic guidance and postsecondary related activities.
  • Provides bonus funding in the FEFP of 0.3 FTE for each student who receives an Advanced Placement (AP) Capstone Diploma in addition to a standard high school diploma.
  • Adds new requirements to the mental health plans that school districts and charter schools must submit in order to receive the mental health assistance allocation in the FEFP.
  • Removes the July 1, 2020, expiration date for the funding compression allocation within the FEFP.

The bill reported favorably by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education last week.  The House companion, HB 641 by Representative Rene Plasencia (R – Titusville) is waiting to be heard by the full House.

House Bill 7063 – Child Welfare by Representative Mel Ponder (R – Ft. Walton Beach, FSU Alum)

House Bill 7063 – Child Welfare by Representative Mel Ponder (R – Ft. Walton Beach, FSU Alum), addresses ongoing issues affecting the child welfare workforce, increases opportunities for community- and faith-based organizations to work with those in need, and expands the functions of the Florida Institute on Child Welfare (FICW) at FSU to develop professional supports for child welfare workers. Additionally, the bill ensures that all of its partners who provide the same services as agency staff are held to the same standards, processes, and outcome measures. Specifically, the bill:

  • Directs DCF, in collaboration with the FICW, to develop an expanded career ladder for Child protective investigators (CPIs). Additionally, DCF must implement policies and programs that prevent and mitigate the impact of secondary traumatic stress and burnout among CPIs.
  • Expands the functions of the FICW to inform, train, and engage social work students for a successful career in child welfare. The FICW and the FSU College of Social Work will work together to redesign the social work curriculum to include opportunities for students to learn from real-world child welfare cases.
  • Requires the FICW to design and implement a career long professional development curriculum for child welfare professionals at all levels and from all disciplines.
  • Requires the sheriffs providing child protective services and contracted attorneys providing children’s legal services to adopt the child welfare practice model and be held to the same standards, processes and outcome measurements as those employed by DCF. Additionally, the bill provides a sunset provision for the grant or contract of these services on July 1, 2023, unless saved from repeal by the Legislature.
  • Requires the local community alliances to include an individual representing faith-based organizations and to work with these organizations to encourage their involvement in the community system of care. It also directs community-based care lead agencies (CBCs) to have a liaison to community- and faith-based organizations and have a process for ensuring CBCs are aware of the services offered by these organizations.
  • Creates a tax credit capped at $5 million total for businesses that make monetary donations to certain eligible charitable organizations that provide services focused on child welfare and well-being.

The bill was workshopped last week by the Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee and submitted as a committee bill.  A similar bill in the Senate, SB 1326 by Senator Wilton Simpson (R – Spring Hill) reported favorably by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services.

Update on Bills

CS/SB 72 – Postsecondary Education by Senator Kelli Stargel (R – Lakeland)

CS/SB 72 – Postsecondary Education by Senator Kelli Stargel (R – Lakeland), modifies provisions relating to preeminent state research universities, the prioritization of capital outlay projects at Florida College System (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. The bill was amended last week by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education to make the following changes:

  • Remove the requirement that participating institutions in the Florida Student Assistance Grant program prioritize the distribution of grant funds to students with the lowest family resources.
  • Modify the appointment term of members to the Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute board, to allow board members to serve until their replacement is named.
  • Remove 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.
  • Modify the remuneration statute for state universities, directing the Board of Governors to define in regulation the university faculty and administrative personnel classifications.
  • Modify the Academic and Research Excellence Standards subsection so that the BOG Accountability Plan is the source for the measures rather than third-party sources.
  • Revise 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.
  • Modify the preeminence statute to preserve the designation of emerging preeminent universities, remove the funding component for emerging preeminent universities, and change the funding for preeminent universities to be determined annually by the Legislature.
  • Remove the repeal of section 11, ch. 2019-116, L.O.F., as that provision is no longer necessary because the award cap was permanently removed from law in 2019.

The bill is scheduled to be heard in the Appropriations Committee on Wednesday.  The House companion, HB 613 by Representative Ray Rodrigues (R – Ft. Myers), in waiting to be heard in the Education Committee.