February 10, 2020
Volume 27, Number 5
This week is shaping up to be the busiest of the 2020 Session thus far.
Budgets in both houses passed their full appropriations committees last week with no changes to the higher education budgets.
The House and the Senate are now poised to amend, debate and pass their spending plans out of their respective chambers during this fifth week of session.
Several bills of interest to Florida State continue to move through the committee process. The bill pertaining to the compensation for the naming, image, and likeness of collegiate athletes is receiving its first committee of reference hearing today in the Senate Education Committee. Meanwhile the House companion bill has received three hearings to date and is ready for its fourth maybe on Wednesday.
Bills that would exempt the early stages of university and college presidential searches from public meetings and public records requests will be heard this week. A bill in the Senate that establishes a university naming process for the FSU law school has its second hearing. Please refer to “Spotlight on Bills” for a complete summary of these and other legislative proposals of interest.
Also taking place on Wednesday is FSU Day at the Capitol, when sounds, displays and supporters in garnet and gold will fill the Capitol. Plus, the popular Seminole Evening begins tomorrow night from 5:30-7:00 on the 22nd floor of the Capitol. Details on both events are included in this newsletter. Please join us if you can and be sure to wear your Garnet and Gold!
Legislative activities can be followed live on the Florida Channel, thefloridachannel.org. As always, please feel free to contact me with questions, or for copies of bills and their analysis. I can be reached at (850) 644-1728 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Celebrate FSU Day at the Capitol
Our big day is almost here! After months of planning, the 2020 FSU Day at the Capitol takes place Wednesday, February 12th and promises to be another great event.
As in the past, FSU Day emphasizes the university's proud heritage and spotlights the extraordinary accomplishments of our students and faculty.
Please join us from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm for informative displays on the plaza level, and the second and third floor rotundas of the Capitol.
During the lunch hour, appearances by FSU celebrities, members of the Seminole Legislative Caucus, and performances by the pep band, flying high circus, and cheerleaders will begin at 11:30am in the capitol courtyard. There will be refreshments available for all to enjoy.
In addition, our eighth annual “Seminole Evening” reception will be held tomorrow from 5:30 to 7:30 on the 22nd floor of the capitol. Come by for this meet-and-greet with our legislators, staffers, interns, university trustees, faculty and top administrators.
We look forward to seeing you in your Garnet and Gold. GO NOLES!
CS/SB 1320 – Postsecondary Fee Waivers by Senator Janet Cruz (D – Tampa)
CS/SB 1320 – Postsecondary Fee Waivers by Senator Janet Cruz (D – Tampa), requires each state university to waive specified fees for a graduate student who has a 0.25 full-time equivalent appointment or greater as a graduate assistant, graduate research assistant, graduate teaching assistant, graduate research associate, or graduate teaching associate.
The Board of Governors of the State University System estimates the fiscal impact to the state universities to be between $14 million and $28 million annually.
The bill was amended by the Education Committee last week to revise the fee waiver by removing the state university miscellaneous fees and the distance learning course fee. The identical bill in the House HB 819 by Representative Joy Goff-Marcil (D – Maitland, FSU Alum), is waiting to be heard by the Higher Education & Career Readiness Subcommittee.
HB 7081 - Public Records and Meetings/Applicant for President/State University or Florida College System Institution by Representative Chris Latvala (R – Clearwater)
HB 7081 - Public Records and Meetings/Applicant for President/State University or Florida College System Institution by Representative Chris Latvala (R – Clearwater), creates 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 the position of president of a state university or Florida College System (FCS) institution.
The bill provides that any personal identifying information of an applicant for president of a state university or FCS institution is confidential and exempt from public record requirements. The bill provides that the personal identifying information of applicants who comprise a final group of applicants for president is no longer confidential and exempt from public record requirements at least 21 days before the date of a meeting at which either an interview is conducted or at which final action or a vote is to be taken on the employment of applicants.
The bill also creates a public meeting exemption for any meeting held for the purpose of identifying or vetting applicants for president of a state university or FCS institution, including any portion of a meeting that would disclose the personal identifying information of applicants. However, a recording must be made of any closed portion of a meeting and the meeting cannot be held off the record. The recording is exempt from public record requirements.
The public meeting exemption does not apply to a meeting held for the purpose of establishing the qualifications of potential applicants or establishing a compensation framework. Any meeting held after a final group of applicants has been selected at which an interview is to be conducted or at which final action or a vote is to be taken on the employment of applicants must be open to the public.
The bill was filed as a committee bill by the State Affairs Committee last week, and passed that committee. A similar bill in the Senate, SB 774 by Senator Manny Diaz (R – Hialeah Gardens), is waiting to be heard by the Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee, its second committee of reference. It passed the Education Committee last month.
CS/HB 7051 - Intercollegiate Athlete Compensation and Rights by Representative Chip LaMarca (R – Lighthouse Point)
CS/HB 7051 - Intercollegiate Athlete Compensation and Rights by Representative Chip LaMarca (R – Lighthouse Point), 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, including the cost of deductibles, coinsurance, and copays and a death benefit of $25,000.
- In the event of a sports-related injury, continue providing such insurance for the time it takes the athlete to recover from the injury, 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 submitted as a committee bill last week by the Education Committee and is now waiting to be heard by the Judiciary Committee. A comparable bill in the Senate, SB 646 by Senator Debbie Mayfield (R – Melbourne) is scheduled to be heard by the Education Committee later today, the first of three committee references.
HB 1113 - Fiduciary Duty of Care for Appointed Public Officials and Executive Officers by Representative Mike Beltran (R – Valrico)
HB 1113 - Fiduciary Duty of Care for Appointed Public Officials and Executive Officers by Representative Mike Beltran (R – Valrico), establishes fiduciary duty of care standards applicable to ‘appointed public officials and ‘executive officers. According to the bill, codifying a fiduciary duty of care will require appointed public officials and executive officers stay adequately informed of affairs, perform due diligence, perform reasonable oversight, and practice fiscal responsibility regarding decisions involving corporate and proprietary commitments on behalf of a governmental entity. Beginning January 1, 2021, the bill also requires appointed public officials and executive officers to complete a minimum of five hours of board governance training for each term served.
By January 1, 2021, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation is required to either contract for or approve a board governance training program that includes an affordable web-based electronic media option, or publish a list of approved board governance training providers on its website.
The bill contains two exceptions to the training requirement:
- Appointed public officials and executive officers of governmental entities whose annual revenues are less than $100,000.
- Appointed public officials who hold elected office in another capacity
The bill mandates the appointment of an executive officer or general counsel be subject to approval by a majority vote of the governing body of the governmental entity and requires all legal counsel employed by a governmental entity represent the legal interest of the governmental entity’s governing board and not the interest of any individual or employee.
The bill reported favorable by the Public Integrity and Ethics Committee last week. The identical bill in the Senate, SB 1270 by Senator Tom Lee (R – Brandon), is schedule to be heard in the Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee this afternoon. A strike-all amendment has been filed for that bill, which if passed, will exempt entities such as universities who already are statutorily mandated to provide financial orientation to their boards of trustees.
CS/SB 1578 – Education by Senator Travis Hutson (R – Palm Coast)
CS/SB 1578 – Education by Senator Travis Hutson (R – Palm Coast), expands the availability of college and career information for public high school students, adds provisions for public postsecondary institutions to serve as a charter school sponsor, provides additional flexibility for school district construction, and modifies facility requirements for charter schools. Specifically, the bill:
- Requires the Department of Education (DOE) to collect and annually distribute information about career preparation and placement to school guidance counselors and students at each public high school in the state.
- Authorizes state universities and Florida College System (FCS) institutions designated by the State Board of Education (SBE) to sponsor an application for a charter school and:
- Provides that the board of trustees of a sponsoring state university or FCS institution is a local educational agency for the purposes of receiving federal funds.
- Establishes operational and capital outlay funding formulas for charter schools sponsored by a state university or FCS institution.
- Requires the DOE to collaborate to develop a charter school sponsor evaluation framework.
- Removes the timeframe requirement for an initial charter school startup and modifies various other deadline provisions.
- Authorizes charter schools to offer career and professional academies.
- Modifies charter school facility requirements, reporting requirements for underused and vacant facilities, and provides for exceptions from educational facilities requirements available to district school boards.
The bill was amended last week by the Education Committee to make a technical correction. A similar bill in the House, CS/HB 1029 by Representative Anthony Rodriguez (R – Miami), is waiting to be heard by the Education Committee.
HB 737 – Moments of Silence in Public Schools by Representative Kimberly Daniels (D – Jacksonville, FSU Alum)
HB 737 – Moments of Silence in Public Schools by Representative Kimberly Daniels (D – Jacksonville, FSU Alum), requires a moment of silence to be set aside for public school students during each school day. The bill directs the principal of each school to require first-period classroom teachers in all grades to set aside one to two minutes for a moment of silence. The bill prohibits a teacher from making suggestions about the nature of a student’s reflection during the moment of silence. Instead, the teachers must encourage parents to discuss the moment of silence with their children and to make suggestions to their children about how they should use this time.
The bill prohibits students from interfering with each other’s participation in the moment of silence.
The bill is scheduled to heard later today by the PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee. A similar bill in the Senate, SB 946 by Senator Dennis Baxley (R – Lady Lake, FSU Alum), reported favorably by the Judiciary Committee last week and is now waiting to be heard by the Rules Committee.
CS/SB 680 – Shark Fins by Senator Travis Hutson (R – Palm Coast)
CS/SB 680 – Shark Fins by Senator Travis Hutson (R – Palm Coast), prohibits importing and exporting shark fins to and from Florida. The bill reported favorably by the Environment and National Resources Committee. The House companion, HB 401 by Representative Kristin Jacobs (D – Coconut Creek) is waiting to be heard in the State Affairs Committee
HB 315 – Enforcement of School Attendance by Representative Susan Valdes (D – Tampa)
HB 315 – Enforcement of School Attendance by Representative Susan Valdes (D – Tampa), authorizes each district school board and charter school governing board, as part of its policies relating to student absences, to allow each student to take up to one “mental health day” for each semester as an excused absence. The term “mental health day” is not defined in Florida law.
The bill reported favorably by the PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee last week. The identical bill in the Senate, SB 588 by Senator Darryl Rouson (D – St. Petersburg), has been referred to the Education; Children, Families, and Elder Affairs; and, Rules committees.
Update on Bills
SB 7042 – State University Facility Designations by Senator Ed Hooper (R – Palm Harbor)
SB 7042 – State University Facility Designations by Senator Ed Hooper (R – Palm Harbor), establishes a process for naming and renaming state university facilities, including the FSU Law School Building. The bill is scheduled to be heard by the Education Committee late today, its second committee of reference. There is no House companion at this time.
CS/SB 1402 – Higher Education by Senator Manny Diaz (R – Hialeah Gardens)
CS/SB 1402 – Higher Education by Senator Manny Diaz (R – Hialeah Gardens), modifies postsecondary education policies, primarily those policies related to the state university performance and recognition.
The bill was amended last week by the Education Committee to modify provisions relating to preeminent state research universities by:
- Preserving the designation of emerging preeminent state research universities that was removed in an earlier version of the bill, but removing the funding provision associated with emerging preeminent universities.
- Specifying that the Legislature will determine the distribution to preeminent state research universities of any increase in preeminence funds over the prior fiscal year, rather than an equal distribution.
The amended bill reported favorably by the Education Committee last week and is now waiting to be heard by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education. A similar bill in the House, HB 613 by Representative Ray Rodrigues (R – Ft. Myers), is waiting to be heard by the Education Committee.
CS/SB 1302 – Sovereign Immunity by Senator Anitere Flores (R – Miami)
CS/SB 1302 – Sovereign Immunity by Senator Anitere Flores (R – Miami), increases the per-occurrence limit on the collectability of judgments against government entities from $300,000 to $500,000 and eliminates the $200,000-per-claimant limit. These new limits will apply to lawsuits that have not been adjudicated before the effective date of the bill.
The bill further allows government entities to settle claims in any amount without the approval of a claim bill by the Legislature. In contrast, current law allows government entities to settle and pay amounts exceeding the sovereign immunity caps only to the extent of insurance coverage. Otherwise, current law requires that the payment of the portion of a claim or judgment exceeding the sovereign immunity caps be approved by the Legislature in a claim bill.
The bill was amended by the Judiciary Committee and differs from the underlying bill by:
- Lowering the proposed increases in the per-occurrence liability cap to $500,000 from $1 million.
- No longer expanding the liability of a government entity for damages resulting from the actions of a state employee acting in bad faith, with a malicious purpose, or in a manner exhibiting wanton and willful disregard for human rights (the underlying bill stated that the state would be liable for these damages over the statutory caps).
The bill is waiting to be heard by the Appropriations Committee. There is not House companion at this time.
HB 7073 – Public Postsecondary Commercial sponsorships by Representative Randy Fine (R – Palm Bay)
HB 7073 – Public Postsecondary Commercial sponsorships by Representative Randy Fine (R – Palm Bay), requires State University System and Florida College System institution presidents to provide written notification to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives prior to executing a contract for all non-philanthropic commercial sponsorships of $1 million or more, designed for marketing in a public postsecondary institution’s athletic facilities. If, within 30 days of receipt, any of the parties provide written objection, an act of the Legislature shall be required for authorization.
Formerly PCB HEA 1, the proposed bill was filed as a committee bill by the Education Appropriations Subcommittee and reported favorably. It is now waiting to be heard by the Education Committee. There is no Senate companion at this time.
SB 1714 – Sale of Surplus State-owned Office Building and Associated Non-conservation Lands by Senator Rob Bradley (R – Orange Park)
SB 1714 – Sale of Surplus State-owned Office Building and Associated Non-conservation Lands by Senator Rob Bradley (R – Orange Park), provides that funds received through the sale of surplus state-owned office buildings and associated non-conservation lands are deposited into the Architects Incidental Trust Fund as opposed to the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, and must be used for the acquisition, lease, planning, entitlement, design, permitting, construction, or maintenance of state-owned office buildings.
The bill also removes the requirement that state universities and Florida College System institutions be offered to lease a building or parcel of land with priority consideration before the same is offered to another government entity or private party.
The bill also provides that when appraising surplus land value, the Division of State Lands must base the value on the “highest and best use” of the property after considering any applicable developmental rights.
The bill reported favorably the bye Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee last week and is now waiting to be heard by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government Committee. A similar bill in the House, HB 1387 by Representative James Grant (R – Tampa), is waiting to be heard by the State Affairs Committee.