March 29, 2021
Volume 28, Number 5
Dear Seminole Family,
Thank you for taking a few moments to review this week’s Legisletter. Week four of the legislative session was eventful and was highlighted by the release of the House and Senate budget proposals. Both budgets contemplate significant reductions in spending for the State University System (SUS). We do, however, expect the revenue projections to improve after the next meeting of the Revenue Estimating Conference which will have an impact on the final General Appropriations Act (GAA).
The House budget decreases funding to the SUS by $570 million and eliminates Preeminence, National Ranking and decreases Performance Funding. The Senate budget decreases funding to the SUS by $241 million but maintains Performance Funding at the current level. Both budgets provide funding for the Integrated Library System. A comparison of the two proposals can be found below.
As we work toward the best outcome possible in GAA, it is incumbent upon us to continue to tout the value that a degree from FSU brings to the marketplace. Our 74% graduation rate ranks among the best in the nation, and means that our students spend less money to obtain their degrees. Our top-20 ranking among public universities in U.S. News & World Report means that a degree from FSU is widely recognized as one of the best.
Looking ahead, Wednesday of this week will be FSU Day at the Capitol! Unfortunately, due to the protective protocols still in place at the Capitol, we’ve adopted a virtual strategy to highlight FSU. See the FSU Day article below outlining how to participate. We hope to have a strong showing on social media platforms.
Below you will find updates on some of the bills that we are tracking related to the work of the University. Please reach out to me or Toni Moore if you have any questions about these bills or anything related to the legislative process.
It is also more important than ever to register to “Advocate for Florida State” by going to http://www.advocateforfloridastate.fsu.edu and signing up to receive updates and alerts.
I wish you all the best and am grateful for your interest in keeping FSU and the state university system in Florida the best in the country as we continue to educate the next generation of elite students.
Yours in Seminole Spirit,
FSU Day at the Capitol is March 31!
Every year, FSU Day at the Capitol is an important and exciting community event. It is an opportunity where Florida State University can showcase its pre-eminent colleges, academic departments, institutes and programs to legislators from the Florida House and Senate, capitol staff members, FSU alumni and the public.
This year on March 31, the traditional FSU Day at the Capitol is not being held in-person, however everyone is encouraged to participate virtually and be involved as Florida State University celebrates its academic and athletic success and looks toward the future.
Be a part of FSU Day!
Throughout FSU Day at the Capitol, you can stay in touch and be a part of the event by:
- Following @floridastate social media accounts for the latest #FSUDay posts and shares from the Capitol, across campus and Florida.
- Be sure to use the hashtag #FSUDay and follow FSU’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).
- This is also a great chance to share your FSU spirit by posting images of yourself wearing garnet and gold! Please include #FSUDay and tag @floridastate!
- Share content throughout the day from the Florida State University main accounts (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).
- Watch and share the first #FSUDay video to be posted at 10 a.m. from the main Florida State social media accounts, highlighting FSU alumni and friends in the Legislature.
- Create your own content by sharing images of yourself wearing garnet and gold, then post and tag #FSUDay!
Click to download images for social media.
Visit www.advocateforfloridastate.fsu.edu for information and details.
The House and Senate rolled out their preliminary budget proposals for the 2021-2022 fiscal year 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
|State University System|
|Performance Based Incentives
Redistribution from university base
|SUS FCO – Capital Improvement Fee Projects||$46,000,000||$0|
|SUS Maintenance, Repair, Renovation & Remodeling||$0||$0|
|SUS Florida Postsecondary Library Network||$11,836,500||$11,836,500|
|FSU General Revenue
Boy & Girls State (R)
Student Veterans Center (R)
Florida Institute on Child Welfare
Florida Institute of Politics
|FSU – Student and other fees||$229,310,768||$229,310,768|
|FSU – Lottery||$68,904,243||$66,796,142|
|FAMU-FSU College of Engineering||$14,636,475||$14,524,707|
|FSU College of Medicine||$50,257,517||$48,595,093|
|FSU College of Medicine – Lottery||$824,574||$824,574|
|FSU PECO (NR)
College of Business
Interdisciplinary Research Commercialization Bldg. (IRCB)
|FSU Florida Diagnostic & Learning Resources Center||$450,000||$450,000|
|FSU Autism Program||$1,224,008||$1,224,008|
Florida Channel closed captioning
Florida Channel satellite transponder operations
Florida Channel statewide government & cultural affairs
Florida Channel year-round coverage
WFSU – Radio
|Honorably Discharged Graduate Assistance Program||$1,000,000||$1,000,000|
|Federal Elementary & Secondary Emergency Relief
FSU Lab - Broward
FSU Lab – Leon
Insurance benefits – Senate Bill indicates no change to employee-paid premiums. Benefits have not yet been addressed in the House Bill
Spotlight on Bills
HB 5601 – Higher Education by Representative Rene Plasencia (R – Titusville)
HB 5601 – Higher Education by Representative Rene Plasencia (R – Titusville), conforms applicable statutes to the appropriations provided in the House proposed General Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2021-22. The bill:
- Specifies that all funds appropriated for Preeminent State Research Universities must be distributed equally;
- Eliminates the State University Professional and Graduate Degree Excellence Program;
- Provides minimum performance standards for institutions to be eligible to participate in the Effective Access to Student Education tuition assistance program;
- Eliminates the Access to Better Learning and Education tuition assistance program;
- Expands the existing faculty salary cap from state university administrative employees to include all university faculty, excluding those in specified high-demand fields; and
- Creates the Florida Integrated Library System to provide funding for critical library services, a distance learning catalog, and transient student applications.
The bill reported favorably by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education last week. There is no House Companion at this time.
CS/HB 311 – Public Records/Assessment Instruments by Representative David Silvers (D – West Palm Beach)
CS/HB 311 – Public Records/Assessment Instruments by Representative David Silvers (D – West Palm Beach), protects proprietary information contained in assessments as well as their related materials to combat cheating, plagiarism, and academic dishonesty. The bill expands the scope of the existing public records exemption for the assessments and developmental materials related to the student assessment program for public schools. While current law protects some of the examinations and assessments administered by the Florida Department of Education (DOE), Florida College System (FCS) institutions, and state universities from release pursuant to Florida’s public records laws, the bill expands such protections to cover a number of specific examinations and assessments required by law.
The bill creates a new public record exemption that protects all examinations and assessments, including developmental materials and workpapers that are prepared, prescribed, or administered by FCS institutions, the state universities, or DOE. The State Board of Education and the Board of Governors of the State University System shall make rules and regulations, respectively, governing the appropriate management of the protected materials.
The bill reported favorably by the Government Operations Subcommittee last week. The identical bill in the Senate, SB 1456 by Senator Ray Rodrigues (R – Ft. Myers), has been referred to the Education, Governmental Oversight and Accountability, and Rules committees.
CS/SB 1108 – Education by Senator Manny Diaz (R – Hialeah Gardens)
CS/SB 1108 – Education by Senator Manny Diaz (R – Hialeah Gardens), revises several areas of education law relating to graduation requirements and statewide standardized assessments. Specifically, the bill:
- Requires every school district, alternative school, and the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) to offer either the SAT or ACT to every student in the 11th grade free of charge, subject to an appropriation for that purpose;
- Amends the civic literacy requirement for post-secondary education to include both an assessment and a course as opposed to one or the other;
- Creates a process to allow students in high school to earn the civic literacy requirement before enrolling in a public college or university in this state;
- Requires the statewide, standardized math and English learning assessments in grades 3 through 6 to be paper-based;
- Deletes obsolete language relating to prior statewide standardized assessments, and updates the assessment publication requirement in anticipation of the implementation of new state standards; and
- Authorizes the Department of Education (DOE) to hold certain intellectual property rights, including the right to patent, copyright, and trademark. This authority will allow the DOE to protect certain materials, such as state authored assessments, from being sold or distributed without authorization.
The DOE estimates that an appropriation of $8 million would be necessary to provide funding for the SAT or ACT to be offered to each student in the 11th grade.
The bill reported favorably by the Judiciary Committee last week. A similar bill in the House, CS/HB 507 by Representative Alex Rizo (R – Hialeah) Is waiting to be heard by the Appropriations Committee.
SB 922 – Veterans’ Preference in Employment by Senator Danny Burgess (R – Zephyrhills)
SB 922 – Veterans’ Preference in Employment by Senator Danny Burgess (R – Zephyrhills), expands the benefit of a veterans preference in employment by authorizing a state or a political subdivision of the state to waive a postsecondary educational requirement for a position of employment. The education waiver applies to:
- A current member of a reserve component of the United States Armed Forces (U.S.A.F.);
- A current member of the Florida National Guard; or
- An honorably-discharged veteran.
Current law provides that certain positions are exempt from the requirement of veterans preference. As is the case for the other benefits, the education waiver is not available if the person is applying for a position designated as exempt. This bill, however, narrows the exemptions. A personal secretary of a public officer, a head of a department, and a position that requires licensure as a physician, osteopathic physician, or a chiropractic physician will now not be exempt from preference and priority requirements.
The bill also increases points used for appointment and retention determinations. For any given position, points are added in assessing an applicant for employment as follows:
- From 15 to 20 points for an honorably-discharged veteran who has served on active duty and has a service-connected, compensable disability; a spouse of a person who has a total, permanent, service-connected disability and cannot qualify for employment; or to a spouse of a person missing in action, captured, or forcibly detained or interned by a foreign government or power;
- From 10 to 15 points for a person who is an honorably-discharged veteran and has served at least 1 day during wartime; an unremarried widow or widower of a veteran who died from a service-connected disability; or a mother, father, legal guardian, or unremarried widow or widower of a servicemember of the U.S.A.F. who died in the line of duty under verified combat-related conditions;
- From 5 to 10 points for a person who is an honorably-discharged veteran or a current member of the reserves of the U.S.A.F. or the Florida National Guard.
The bill requires, rather than authorizes under current law, a political subdivision of the state to develop a written veterans’ recruitment plan.
The bill reported favorably by the Rules Committee last week. A similar bill in the House, HB 541 by Representative James Buchanan (R – North Port, FSU Alum), is waiting to be heard by the full House.
HB 1159 – Educator Preparation and Certification by Representative Demi Busatta Cabrera (R – Coral Gables, FSU Alum)
HB 1159 – Educator Preparation and Certification by Representative Demi Busatta Cabrera (R – Coral Gables, FSU Alum), provides additional pathways to certification for teachers. The bill permits applicants for certification to satisfy the mastery of general knowledge requirement through receipt of a master’s degree or higher from an institution the Department of Education (DOE) has identified as a quality program. Additionally, the bill permits applicants to satisfy the professional education competence requirement through completion of a DOE approved Educator Preparation Institute (EPI) and receipt of a highly effective rating on their performance evaluation.
The bill requires that the core curricula for teacher preparation programs and EPI competency-based certification programs include instruction on the early identification of students in crisis as well as the use of technology in education and distance learning. The bill permits EPIs to provide instruction and professional development for non-degreed teachers in career programs.
The bill expands the William Cecil Golden Professional Development Program for School Leaders to provide support to additional school administrators and leaders while focusing on data- and evidence-based training and support.
The bill reported favorably by the Secondary Education and Career Development Subcommittee last week. A similar bill in the Senate, SB 934 by Senator Tom Wright (R – Port Orange), is waiting to be heard by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education.
CS/HB 1347 Educational Opportunities for Disabled Veterans by Representative Daisey Morales (D – Orlando)
CS/HB 1347 Educational Opportunities for Disabled Veterans by Representative Daisey Morales (D – Orlando), provides an education benefit to certain disabled veterans who qualify as residents to increase what is provided from the GI bill for educational benefits to achieve a 100 percent award for tuition and fees. To qualify, the veteran must have been:
- Determined by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to have a service-connected 100- percent total and permanent disability rating for compensation;
- Determined to have a service-connected total and permanent disability rating of 100 percent and have received disability retirement pay from a branch of the United States Armed Services; or
- Issued a valid identification card by the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs (FDVA) which identifies the veteran as having a 100-percent, service-connected permanent and total disability rating for compensation; or who has a service-connected total and permanent disability rating of 100 percent and receives disability retirement pay from a branch of the United States Armed Forces.
Beginning with the 2021-2022 academic year, a disabled veteran who receives a tuition benefit to attend a state university or a Florida College System institution under the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008, but who does not qualify for the 100-percent eligibility tier federally, is eligible for an award of tuition and fees. The award amount is equal to the amount that is the difference between the portion of tuition and fees authorized under federal law and the full amount of tuition and fees charged by the institution attended.
The bill reported favorably by the Local Administration and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee and is waiting to be heard in the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee. The identical bill in the Senate, CS/SB 782 by Senator Janet Cruz (D – Tampa), is now in the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education.
CS/SB 1094 – Required Health Education Instruction by Senator Aaron Bean (R -Jacksonville)
CS/SB 1094 – Required Health Education Instruction by Senator Aaron Bean (R -Jacksonville), requires that the general health education curriculum for K-12 public schools be developmentally and age-appropriate. The curriculum must include information on the prevention of child sexual abuse, exploitation, and human trafficking.
The bill also modifies the existing health education requirement to specify that instruction on abstinence and the consequences of teen pregnancy applies only to those students in grades 6 through 12.
The bill reported favorably by the Education Committee last week. A similar bill in the House, CS/HB 519 by Representative Clay Yarborough (R – Jacksonville), reported favorably by the Education and Employment Committee and is now waiting to be heard by the full House.
CS/CS/SB 582 – Parental Rights by Senator Ray Rodrigues (R – Ft. Myers)
CS/CS/SB 582 – Parental Rights by Senator Ray Rodrigues (R – Ft. Myers), establishes the “Parents’ Bill of Rights.” The bill provides that the state, its political subdivisions, any other governmental entity, or other institution may not infringe upon the fundamental rights of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, health care, and mental health of a minor child. If those entities infringe upon a parent’s fundamental right, they must demonstrate that the action is reasonable and necessary to achieve a compelling state interest, and the action must be narrowly tailored and not otherwise served by less restrictive means.
The bill enumerates a list of rights that a parent possesses in order to direct the education of his or her child and be informed about the child’s educational programs. The bill also requires the school district to promote parental involvement in the public school system by providing access to the child’s studies and instructional materials while also recognizing a parent’s right to withdraw the child from objectionable portions of the school’s curriculum.
The bill also requires a parent’s permission before a health care practitioner may provide services, prescribe medicine to the child, or perform a medical procedure, unless otherwise provided by law. The bill provides a misdemeanor penalty for a health care practitioner or similar person who violates the health care provisions and subjects these persons to disciplinary actions.
The bill reported favorably by the Education Committee. A similar bill in the House, HB 241 by Representative Erin Grall (R – Vero Beach), is waiting to be heard by the full House.
Update on Bills
CS/SB 1728 – Out-of-state Fee Waiver for Nonresident Students by Senator Dennis Baxley (R - Lady Lake, FSU Alum)
CS/SB 1728 – Out-of-state Fee Waiver for Nonresident Students by Senator Dennis Baxley (R - Lady Lake, FSU Alum), establishes an interstate compact and provides an out-of-state fee waiver, applicable for up to 110 percent of the number of required credit hours of the enrolled degree program, for a nonresident student who:
- Is a United States citizen.
- Has a grandparent who is a legal resident.
- Earns the equivalent of a standard Florida high school diploma.
- Achieves an SAT combined score no lower than the 89th national percentile or appropriate concordant score on the ACT or the Classic Learning Test.
- Enrolls as a full-time undergraduate student at a state university in the fall academic term immediately following high school graduation.
The interstate compact is intended to increase access to postsecondary education to students with families split across states, and increase postsecondary educational choice, by providing a reciprocity agreement between states. The interstate compact fee waiver may be applied when the compact is enacted into law by two states. The bill also provides for state oversight of, withdrawal from, and amendment to the compact.
The bill reported favorably by the Education Committee. A similar bill in the House, CS/HB 1273 by Representative Patt Maney (R – Ft. Walton Beach), is waiting to be heard in the Education and Employment Committee.
CS/SB 1672 – State University Free Seat Program by Senator Manny Diaz (R – Hialeah Gardens)
CS/SB 1672 – State University Free Seat Program by Senator Manny Diaz (R – Hialeah Gardens), creates the State University Free Seat Program to require each state university to waive the tuition and fees for one online course for a Florida resident who is either a veteran, an active duty member of the United States Armed Forces, an active drilling members of the Florida National Guard, or who has not been enrolled in a postsecondary institution for more than five years, and is enrolled in an online baccalaureate degree program. The bill specifies that:
- A state university may not charge a student who meets such criteria more than 75 percent of the tuition rate or tuition differential for all other courses.
- A student who qualifies for the tuition discount is eligible to receive the discount for up to 110 percent of the number of required credit hours of the enrolled degree program.
The bill reported favorably by the Education Committee. A comparable bill in the House, CS/HB 845 by Representative David Smith (R – Winter Springs), is waiting to be heard by the Education and Employment Committee.