February 17, 2020
Volume 27, Number 6
Last week marked the halfway point of the 2020 Legislative Session, and what a week it was!
The House and Senate approved their respective spending plans, signaling the start of the negotiation process known as conference. The House budget proposal totals $91.3 billion while the Senate weighs in at $92.8, a roughly $1.5 billion difference.
Negotiations will begin in earnest after a final revenue estimating conference takes place (maybe later this week) to determine the exact amount of revenue available for allocation by subcommittee conferees, who will be named soon. Please see the update below for a side-by-side comparison of each budget proposal.
Several substantive bills of interest continue to move through the committee process, including those that provide limited exemptions for universities and colleges conducting a presidential search, and bills that provide guidelines pertaining to the compensation of college athletes for their name, image and likeness.
Last week, the House Education Committee heard a proposed committee bill (EDC3) that would merge Florida Polytechnic University with the University of Florida, and New College of Florida with Florida State University. Please see the Spotlight on Bills section of this newsletter for details on these and other bills that received hearings last week.
Last Wednesday, the Capitol was filled with garnet and gold during the 25th annual FSU Day at the Capitol. Alumni, staff, friends and observers joined the FSU Pep Band, cheer squads and Flying High Circus in the courtyard for a lunchtime program. Seminole Caucus members, FSU Trustees, President Thrasher, state CFO Jimmy Patronis and Coach Norvell celebrated the university’s academic and athletic achievements with rousing speeches. It was a garnet and golden day, highlighted by three floors of displays by numerous FSU departments.
As always, please feel free to contact me with questions about the budget or for copies of bills and their analysis. I can be reached at (850) 644-1728 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And remember that legislative activities are shown live on the Florida Channel, on TV and at thefloridachannel.org.
Seminole Spirit Fills the Capitol
The Florida capitol rocked garnet and gold last Tuesday during FSU Day at the Capitol. Thank you to everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to share the accomplishments of their departments and programs with the legislative community, and to the volunteers who helped make this special day possible.
A very special thank you to Mr. Rob Wilson, our emcee for the noontime activities in the capitol courtyard. Rob introduced the FSU alumni currently serving in the legislature, as well as our Board of Trustees members, CFO and fellow alum Jimmy Patronis and Coach Norvell and several players. The Seminole Sound spirit band, cheerleaders and golden girls and, members of the Flying High Circus kept the substantial crowd entertained.
The festivities began the night before on the 22nd floor of the Capitol with “A Seminole Evening,” reception hosted by the FSU Student Government Association. State lawmakers, legislative staff, interns, alumni and supporters gathered with students and other members of the campus community to meet, talk and enjoy the lovely evening and delicious food.
These special events would not have been possible without the support of our generous sponsors. A big Seminole thank you goes out to:
4 Rivers Smokehouse
Coca Cola Bottling of Tallahassee
Seminole Dining - Legacy Catering by Sodexo
J. Keith Arnold
Ronald L. Book, P.A.
Cameron and Tanya Cooper
David R. Custin and Associates, Inc.
Dean, Mead and Dunbar
Florida Partners, LLC
Reginald R. Garcia, P.A.
Jennifer Green, Liberty Partners of Tallahassee
Johnson and Blanton
Nick and Debbie Iarossi
Jeff Kottkamp, P.A.
The Mayernick Group
Lisa Miller and Associates, LLC
Larry J. Overton and Associates
DHP Consulting LLC
Thomas F. Panza
Jerry and Dixie Sansom
Dr. Jeffery Sharkey
Jim and Carole Smith
Guy M. Spearman, III and Delores Spearman
The Southern Group
The budget proposals for the 2020-2021 fiscal year passed the full House and Senate late last week and are now poised for negociations between the two chambers. While there is still a long way to go, the following is a comparison between the two proposals.
(R) = Recurring • (NR) = Non-recurring
|House Higher Education Proposal||Senate Higher Education Proposal|
|State University System|
|Performance Based Incentives (same funding as last year)|
|Redistribution from university base||$295,000,000||$295,000,000|
|Programs of Distinction||$0||$15,000,000|
|SUS FCO – Capital Improvement Fee Projects||$48,000,000||$48,000,000|
|SUS Maintenance, Repair, Renovation & Remodeling||$0||$0|
|FSU General Revenue||$295,209,738||$319,567,748|
|Nationally Ranked Enhancement (R)||$0||$37,500,000|
|Boy & Girls State (R)||$100,000||$100,000|
|Student Veterans Center (R)||$500,000||$500,000|
|Florida Institute on Child Welfare||$10,000,000||$0|
|Florida Institute of Politics (SB 2502)||$0||$1,000,000|
|FSU – Student and other fees||$229,310,768||$229,310,768|
|FSU – Lottery||$60,914,547||$60,056,537|
|FAMU-FSU College of Engineering||$14,541,522||$14,541,522|
|FSU College of Medicine||$49,958,570||$49,958,570|
|FSU College of Medicine – Lottery||$824,574||$824,574|
|FSU PECO (NR)|
|College of Business||$0||$ 30,500,000|
|Interdisciplinary Research Commercialization Bldg. (IRCB)||$0||$0|
|WFSU-TV/FMR – Replace Panama City tower safety fence||$21,000||$21,000|
|WFSU-TV/FM – Replace unsafe studio camera components||$132,000||$132,000|
|FSU Florida Diagnostic & Learning Resources Center||$450,000||$450,000|
|FSU Autism Program||$1,224,008||$1,224,008|
|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||$2,714,588||$2,714,522|
|WFSU – Radio||$100,000||$100,000|
|Honorably Discharged Graduate Assistance Program||$1,000,000||$1,000,000|
Insurance benefits – No change to employee-paid premiums; for coverage beginning January 1, 2021, state-paid premiums in the:
- Senate bill increase from $713.80 to $767.23 per month for individual coverage and from $1,539.32 to $1,659.68 for family coverage
- House bill increase from $713.80 to $759.64 per month for individual coverage and from $1,539.32 to $1,642.48 for family coverage
EDC 3 – Higher Education by Representative Jennifer Sullivan (R – Eustis)
EDC 3 – Higher Education by Representative Jennifer Sullivan (R – Eustis), The bill requires Florida State University (FSU) and New College of Florida (NCF) to apply for merger with SACSCOC. Upon approval of the merger, all real and personal property, licenses and associated revenues, existing contracts, unexpended balances, appropriations, allocations, funds, and mutually agreed-upon obligations, responsibilities, and liabilities of NCF must be transferred to FSU.
The bill also requires the University of Florida (UF) and Florida Polytechnic University (FPU) to apply for merger with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Upon approval of the merger, specified items must be transferred to UF, including the Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute. FPU is required to transfer related foundation funds to the UF Foundation after obtaining donor consent.
The bill requires tuition and fees at FPU and NCF to remain in place for current undergraduate and graduate students until they graduate.
Additionally, the bill revises the Florida Academic Scholars textbook award (within Bright Futures) by providing an additional stipend for textbooks if funds are specifically provided in the General Appropriations Act, in lieu of providing a $300 cap for textbooks each fall and spring semester.
The bill alsorevises the Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS) award effective for students initially eligible in the fall 2021 semester, to provide for the following:
- A FMS student who is enrolled in an associate degree program at a Florida College System (FCS) institution is eligible for an award equal to 100 percent of tuition and applicable fees.
- A FMS student who earns an associate degree at an FCS institution with a 3.5 cumulative grade point average or higher is eligible for an award equal to 100 percent of tuition and applicable fees upon enrolling in a baccalaureate degree program at an eligible Florida postsecondary institution.
- A FMS student who earns an associate degree at an FCS institution with a 2.75 cumulative grade point average or higher, but below a 3.5, is eligible for an award equal to 75 percent of tuition and applicable fees upon enrolling in a baccalaureate degree program at an eligible Florida postsecondary institution.
The bill revises the intent of the William L. Boyd, IV, Effective Access to Student Education (EASE) program and the Access to Better Learning and Education (ABLE) Grant Program to be a financial aid program. Beginning with the fall semester of 2021, the bill requires students applying for an initial EASE or ABLE award to apply for the Pell Grant and meet the eligibility requirements for demonstrated financial need.
The bill reported favorably by the Education Committee last week and will be filed as a committee bill. There is no Senate companion at this time.
CS/HB 7079 – Education by Representative Vance Aloupis (R – Miami)
CS/HB 7079 – Education by Representative Vance Aloupis (R – Miami), authorizes the Commissioner of Education to discontinue the statewide, standardized Geometry end-of-course assessment upon approval from the Department of Education to use the SAT or ACT as the state’s high school math assessment under federal law.
The bill requires each school district to choose either the SAT or ACT for districtwide administration to grade 11 students beginning in the 2020-2021 school year.
The bill also revises the school grades calculation to include the percentage of eligible students passing the English language arts portions, and the percentage of eligible students passing the math portions of the SAT and ACT beginning with the 2022-2023 school year.
The bill requires all grade 12 students to take a civic literacy assessment beginning in the 2020-2021 school year. Additionally, the bill requires postsecondary students to demonstrate civic literacy by successfully completing a civic literacy course and achieving a passing score on the civic literacy assessment.
The bill revises the school turnaround process by requiring implementation of a district-managed turnaround option after the first year a school earns a grade of “D.”
The bill reported favorably by the PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee last week and is now waiting to be heard by the Education Committee. A comparable bill in the Senate, SB 1498 by Senator Dennis Baxley (R – Lady Lake, FSU Alum), is scheduled to be heard by the Education Committee later today.
SB 1550 – High School Graduation Requirements by Senator Janet Cruz (D – Tampa)
SB 1550 – High School Graduation Requirements by Senator Janet Cruz (D – Tampa), requires that, beginning with students entering grade 9 in the 2021-2022 school year, a student must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to be awarded a standard high school diploma. The bill authorizes a waiver of the requirement if the student or parent declines, in writing, to submit the FAFSA. The bill reported favorably by the Education Committee last week. The Identical bill in the House, HB 993 by Representative Richard Stark (D – Weston) is waiting to be heard in PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee, its first committee of reference.
CS/SB 542 – Back-to-school Sales Tax Holiday by Senator Keith Perry (R – Gainesville)
CS/SB 542 – Back-to-school Sales Tax Holiday by Senator Keith Perry (R – Gainesville), establishes a 10-day “back-to-school” sales tax holiday, from Friday, July 31, 2020 to Sunday, August 9, 2020, for certain clothing, school supplies, personal computers, and personal computer-related accessories. The bill reported favorably by the Finance and Tax Committee last week and is waiting to be heard by the Appropriations Committee. There is no House companion at this time.
CS/SB 70 – Panic Alarms in Public Schools by Senator Lauren Book (D – Plantation)
CS/SB 70 – Panic Alarms in Public Schools by Senator Lauren Book (D – Plantation), creates a new section of statute to:
- Define “panic alarm” to mean a security system signal generated by the manual activation of a device or an alternative mechanism intended to communicate a life-threatening or emergency situation that requires a response from law enforcement;
- Define “public school building” to include all buildings on a public elementary, middle, or high school campus where instruction takes place or where students are present during the school day; and
- Require each public school to be equipped with a panic alarm system for use in a school security emergency, including, but not limited to, a non-fire evacuation, lockdown, or active shooter situation. The panic alarm system must be accessible to administrators, teachers, staff, and other designated personnel at all locations on the school grounds and provide permanently installed alert indicators located at indoor and outdoor locations. The panic alarm system must be directly linked to the main office at the school and to local law enforcement agencies that are designated as first responders to the school’s campus, and the system must immediately transmit a signal or message to those authorities upon activation.
The bill is scheduled to be heard by the Education Committee tomorrow afternoon. A comparable bill in the House, HB 23 by Representative Michael Gottlieb (D – Plantation), is waiting to be heard by the Education Committee.
CS/SB 1750 – High School Graduation Requirements by Senator Bill Montford (D – Tallahassee, FSU Alum)
CS/SB 1750 – High School Graduation Requirements by Senator Bill Montford (D – Tallahassee, FSU Alum), modifies the requirement that a student complete one credit in fine or performing arts, speech and debate, or an identified practical arts course as a part of the 24 credits required to earn a standard high school diploma. The bill replaces the option to complete one credit in practical arts with the option to complete one credit in career and technical education identified in the Course Code Directory. The bill is scheduled to be heard by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education tomorrow. A similar bill in the House, HB 403 by Representative Jason Shoaf (R – Blountstown, FSU Alum), is waiting to be heard by the PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee its first committee of reference.
SB 1246 – Dual Enrollment by Senator Kelli Stargel (R – Lakeland)
SB 1246 – Dual Enrollment by Senator Kelli Stargel (R – Lakeland), modifies the dual enrollment and collegiate high school programs to ensure students have access to such programs, parents and legal guardians are informed of opportunities and responsibilities, and school districts and postsecondary institutions are provided financial support to offer dual enrollment opportunities to students. Specifically, the bill:
- Modifies the dual enrollment program to increase access for students by specifying that:
- School districts or Florida College System institutions may not deny an eligible student from participating in dual enrollment, and may not establish eligibility criteria in addition to those in law.
- Instructional materials are free-of-charge for students in private schools and home education programs
- Private schools are exempt from the payment of tuition and fees for dual enrollment.
- Renames the “collegiate high school” to “early college” program and specifies requirements in the program contract and student performance contract.
- Establishes funding and financial incentives for school districts and postsecondary institutions by:
- Creating the Dual Enrollment Scholarship Program in the Department of Education to reimburse eligible postsecondary institutions a specified amount for tuition and instructional materials for dual enrollment taken by private school and home education program students in the fall and spring term, and by all students in the summer term, subject to appropriation in the General Appropriations Act.
- Providing a full-time equivalent (FTE) student membership bonus in the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) for students who complete general education core courses or an associate degree through dual enrollment, and requiring school districts to allocate half of such funds to support academic guidance and postsecondary readiness.
- Establishes a requirement for the Commissioner of Education to report to the Governor and Legislature regarding the status of dual enrollment programs for public and private school and home education program students.
The bill is scheduled to be heard by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education tomorrow. The House companion, HB 187 by Representative Ardian Zika (R – Land-O-Lakes), is scheduled to be heard by the Education Committee on Wednesday.
Update on Bills
CS/SB 646 – Postsecondary Student Athletes by Senator Debbie Mayfield (R – Melbourne)
CS/SB 646 – Postsecondary Student Athletes by Senator Debbie Mayfield (R – Melbourne), establishes compensation and rights for intercollegiate athletes and responsibilities for postsecondary educational institutions concerning these rights. The bill is scheduled to be heard later today by the Innovation, Industry, and Technology Committee and will hear three amendments to the bill. A comparable bill in the House, HB 7051 by Representative Chip LaMarca (R Lighthouse Point), is waiting to be heard by the full House.
CS/HB 953 – Charter Schools by Representative Stan McClain (R – Ocala)
CS/HB 953 – Charter Schools by Representative Stan McClain (R – Ocala), authorizes state universities and Florida College System (FCS) institutions to solicit applications and sponsor charter schools upon approval by the Department of Education (DOE).
The bill also revises requirements for charter schools operated by a FCS institution with a teacher preparation program. The bill provides that the board of trustees of a sponsoring state university or FCS institution is a local educational agency for the purpose of receiving federal funds and accepting responsibility for all requirements in that role.
The bill requires the Department of Education (DOE), in collaboration with charter school sponsors and operators, to develop a sponsor evaluation framework and report results in its annual charter school application report. In addition, the bill revises charter school application reporting requirements and submission dates for both sponsors and the DOE.
The bill establishes operational funding and capital outlay funding formulas for charter schools sponsored by a state university or FCS institution. The bill authorizes charter schools to provide career and professional academies and revises charter school enrollment limitations.
The bill reported favorably by the Education Committee last week and is waiting to be heard by the full House. A comparable bill in the Senate, SB 1578 by Senator Travis Hutson (R – Palm Coast), is waiting to be heard by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education.
CS/HB 393 – Jury Service by Representative Charlie Stone (R – Ocala)
CS/HB 393 – Jury Service by Representative Charlie Stone (R – Ocala), allows students who are between the ages of 18 to 21 to be excused from jury service, upon request, if they are a full-time student attending a high school, state university, private postsecondary educational institution, Florida College System institution, or career center. A student is not prohibited from choosing to report for jury service if they are summoned for jury service while a full-time student. A student’s request to be excused only applies to a specific summons for jury service. The bill reported favorably by the Judiciary Committee last week. A similar bill in the Senate, SB 738 by Senator Gayle Harrell (R – Stuart), is waiting to be heard by the Rules Committee.
SB 372 – Postsecondary Education for Certain Military Personnel by Senator Tom Lee (R – Brandon)
SB 372 – Postsecondary Education for Certain Military Personnel by Senator Tom Lee (R – Brandon), promotes uniformity in the application of military training and education toward postsecondary credit (credit) or career education clock hours (clock hours) by public postsecondary educational institutions and establishes a fee waiver for active duty members and honorably discharged veterans of the United States Armed Forces. The bill is waiting to be heard by the full Senate. A similar bill in the House, HB 171 by Representative Mel Ponder (R – Ft. Walton Beach, FSU Alum), is waiting to be heard by the full House.