April 19, 2021
Volume 28, Number 8
Dear Seminole Family,
Thank you for taking a few moments to review this week’s Legisletter as we enter week eight of the 2021 Legislative Session.
As anticipated, late last week the House and Senate appointed conferees and began the budget conference process. The conference subcommittees met over the weekend and are scheduled to conclude their work by this evening. Any unresolved issues that remain will be bumped to the chairs of the full appropriations committees.
Below you will find updates on some of the bills that we are tracking related to the work of the University as well as information on the conferees appointed by the House and Senate. 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,
Budget Conferees Appointed
With just two weeks left to the regular Legislative Session, the Speaker of the House and Senate President appointed budget conferees and held their first meetings on Saturday. Below is a list of the education conferees and the bills they will work on:
|Senate Conferees||House Conferees|
Kelli Stargel, Chair
Gary Farmer (FSU Alum)
Audrey Gibson (FSU Alum)
Representative Rene Plasencia, House Chair
Representative Ramon Alexander
Representative Tom Leek
Representative Bryan Avila
Representative Ralph Massullo
Representative Colleen Burton
Representative Lawrence McClure
Representative James Bush
Representative Anika Omphroy
Representative Ben Diamond
Representative Bobby Payne
Representative Brad Drake
Representative Daniel Perez (FSU Alum)
Representative Bobby DuBose
Representative Scott Plakon
Representative Nicholas Duran
Representative Rene Plasencia
Representative Anna Eskamani
Representative Paul Renner
Representative Randy Fine
Representative Rick Roth
Representative Joe Geller (FSU Alum)
Representative Emily Slosberg
Representative Erin Grall
Representative Cyndi Stevenson
Representative Michael Grant
Representative Josie Tomkow
Representative Blaise Ingoglia
Representative Matt Willhite
Representative Evan Jenne (FSU Alum)
Representative Patricia Williams
Representative Chris Latvala
Representative Jayer Williamson
SB 2500 – Appropriations
SB 2502 – Implementing the 2021‐2022 General Appropriations Act
SB 2504 – State Employees
SB 7018 – Employer Contributions to Fund Retiree Benefits
HB 5011 – Termination of the Lawton Chiles Endowment Fund
SB 2506 – State Group Insurance Program
|House Higher Education/Senate Education|
|Doug Broxson, Chair
Audrey Gibson (FSU Alum)
Joe Gruters (FSU Alum)
|Representative Rene Plasencia, House Chair
Representative Michael Grieco
Representative Fred Hawkins
Representative Fred Hawkins
Representative Patt Maney
Representative Amber Mariano
Representative Travaris McCurdy
Representative Angie Nixon
Representative Alex Rizo
Representative Anthony Rodriguez
Representative Bob Rommel
Representative Jason Shoaf (FSU Alum)
Representative Geraldine Thompson (FSU Alum)
Representative Kaylee Tuck (FSU Alum)
Representative Ardian Zika
SB 2508 – Employee Compensation
HB 5601 – Higher Education
Spotlight on Bills
HB 7033 – Task Force on Closing the Achievement Gap for Boys by Representative Traci Koster (R – Safety Harbor)
HB 7033 – Task Force on Closing the Achievement Gap for Boys by Representative Traci Koster (R – Safety Harbor), establishes the Task Force on Closing the Achievement Gap for Boys within the Department of Education (DOE) to examine evidence-based strategies for closing the achievement gap for boys and to make recommendations to the DOE, the Governor, and the Legislature. The recommendations must address:
- Professional development for instructional personnel and school administrators.
- The selection of curriculum, supplemental materials, and classroom activities in early learning programs and K-12 schools.
- Academic, behavioral, and mental health supports to help educate and raise young men who are better prepared for success in school and in life.
The bill establishes the Commissioner of Education or a designee as chair of the task force. Other members of the task force must be appointed by July 1, 2021, including stakeholders appointments by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Senate President, and the Governor.
The bill requires the task force to convene by August 1, 2021, and upon the call of the chair thereafter. The task force must submit a report containing its recommendations to the Governor, the Senate President, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by December 1, 2021.
The bill requires the DOE to provide staffing, administrative support, data, and other relevant information to the task force to help it carry out its responsibilities. Finally, the provides that the task force expires on June 30, 2022.
The bill reported favorably by the Education and Employment Committee last week and is scheduled to have its first hearing by the full House tomorrow. A similar bill in the Senate, SB 1816 by Senator Darryl Rouson (D – St. Petersburg), reported favorably by the Appropriations Committee.
CS/HB 7011 Student Literacy by Representative Vance Aloupis (R – Miami)
CS/HB 7011 Student Literacy by Representative Vance Aloupis (R – Miami), requires the implementation of a Voluntary Prekindergarten through grade 8 Progress Monitoring System beginning in the 2022-2023 school year. The system must be designed to provide Florida educators with sufficient, high quality data to identify students with substantial deficiencies in reading and monitor the effectiveness of interventions through continuous data collection.
The bill establishes the Reading Achievement Initiative for Scholastic Excellence (RAISE) Program, a system of statewide literacy supports provided through 20 regional literacy expert support teams. The teams must support schools identified as requiring assistance based on data from the progress monitoring system and results from statewide, standardized English Language Arts assessments. Supports must include evidence-based professional development and implementation of data-informed instruction using high-quality instructional materials as well as effective interventions through the school’s multi-tiered system of supports, and school improvement plans and school district reading plans.
The bill supports implementation of these programs by enhancing evidence-based teacher and administrator training, requiring that the reading endorsement credential be updated, and providing for a new pathway to earn the reading endorsement. Additionally, the bill requires participants in certain teacher preparation programs to complete the reading endorsement competencies prior to graduation. The bill requires the Just Read, Florida! Office to identify, as part of the instructional materials adoption process, instructional materials that implement evidence-based practices and are accompanied by appropriate professional development and streamlines the process by which school districts adopt identified instructional materials.
To support parents, the bill requires that school districts keep parents of struggling readers informed of their students’ progress and the effectiveness of interventions, provide them materials explaining the exceptional student education process, and notify parents of students who are evaluated for exceptional education services or who require accommodations of school choice options. The bill also requires the Office of Early Learning and early learning coalitions to provide guidance and planning to assist with the transition from prekindergarten to kindergarten.
The bill reported favorably by the Education and Employment Committee last week and is scheduled to have its first hearing by the full House tomorrow. A similar bill in the Senate, SB 1898 by Senator Ana Maria Rodriguez (R – Doral), reported favorably by the Appropriations Committee.
Update on Bills
CS/HB 847 – Florida Postsecondary Academic Library Network by Representative Cord Byrd (R – Jacksonville Beach)
CS/HB 847 – Florida Postsecondary Academic Library Network by Representative Cord Byrd (R – Jacksonville Beach), establishes the Florida Postsecondary Academic Library Network (Network) under the oversight of the Office of the Board of Governors (BOG) and the Department of Education, and repeals the Complete Florida Plus Program (Complete Florida Plus). The bill retains certain functions from the Complete Florida Plus, with modifications, and adds new functions.
Last week, the Education & Employment Committee adopted one amendment and subsequently reported the bill favorably as a committee substitute. The amendment does the following:
- Revises the services the host entity will provide to public postsecondary education institutions to include promoting and providing recommendations concerning the use and distribution of low cost, no cost, or open-access textbooks and education resources and innovative pricing techniques that comply with all applicable laws, in regards to copyrighted material and statewide accessibility measures, as a method for reducing costs.
A similar bill in the Senate, SB 1436 by Senator Joe Gruters (R – Sarasota, FSU Alum), reported favorably by the Appropriations Committee.
CS/CS/HB 51—Education by Representative Stan McClain (R – Ocala)
CS/CS/HB 51—Education by Representative Stan McClain (R – Ocala), was amended with a strike-all committee substitute amendment. The committee substitute expands access to diverse educational opportunities within Florida. Specifically, the bill:
- Authorizes state universities and Florida College System (FCS) institutions to solicit applications and sponsor charter schools upon approval by the Department of Education (DOE).
- Provides that a state university sponsored charter school may serve students from multiple school districts to meet regional education or workforce demands and a FCS sponsored charter school may serve students from any county within the colleges’ service area to meet workforce demands.
- Authorizes a FCS institution that operates an approved teacher preparation program to operate additional charter schools.
- Provides that the board of trustees of a sponsoring state university or FCS institution charter school is a local educational agency for the purpose of receiving federal funds and accepting responsibility for all requirements in that role.
- Provides that students attending a state university or FCS institution sponsored charter school are not included in the school district’s grade calculation.
- Establishes operational funding and capital outlay funding formulas for charter schools sponsored by a state university or FCS institution.
- Provides accountability for all charter school operators by requiring the 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.
- Exempts a university that establishes a lab school to serve families of a military installation from the limitation of operating one lab school per university.
- Revises charter school application reporting requirements and submission dates.
- Revises requirements for modifying a charter school’s curriculum in certain circumstances.
- Authorizes a charter exceptional student education center to replicate in certain circumstances and limits the administrative fee a school district may withhold for such a school.
- Authorizes charter schools to provide career and professional academies.
- Revises requirements for enrollment limitations and preferences for a charter school and requirements for expanding enrollment at high-performing charter schools.
- Provides for a direct appeal in a charter dispute if a party wants to bypass mediation.
- Revises the procedures for immediately terminating a charter school.
- Provides for the reduction of charter school sponsor administrative fees and the award of attorney fees and costs in certain circumstances.
- Revises the eligibility for a charter school to be considered high-performing and allows such a school to submit two applications at a time to replicate its high-performing charter school.
- Authorizes a nonprofit entity that operates more than one school of hope, which has been designated as a local education agency, to report its students to the DOE directly, rather than through a school district and such nonprofit entity is responsible for providing quarterly and annual financial audit requirements.
- Authorizes a school of hope to provide for background screening for their employees and governing board members, to be eligible to receive charter school capital outlay funding, and extends the authorization for undispersed Schools of Hope Program funds to be carried forward from 5 years to 7 years.
- Revises the terms of office of a district school board member.
The amended bill reported favorably by the Education and Employment Committee last week. A comparable bill in the Senate, SB 1028 by Senator Travis Hutson (R – Palm Coast), is scheduled to be heard by the Appropriations Committee today.
SB 1450 – Civic Education Curriculum by Senator Ana Maria Rodriguez (R – Doral)
SB 1450 – Civic Education Curriculum by Senator Ana Maria Rodriguez (R – Doral), requires the Florida Department of Education (DOE) to develop or approve an integrated civic education curriculum for public school students in kindergarten through grade 12. The bill provides requirements for the civic education curriculum to aid in students’ development of civic responsibility and knowledge.
The bill also establishes the “Portraits in Patriotism Act,” which integrates into the civics education curriculum personal stories of diverse individuals who demonstrate civic-minded qualities, including first-person accounts of victims of other nations’ governing philosophies who can compare those philosophies with the philosophies of the United States.
The bill provides that the United States Government course that is required to earn a standard high school diploma include a comparative discussion of political ideologies that conflict with the principles of freedom and democracy in the nation’s founding principles.
The bill reported favorably by the Appropriations Committee last week. The identical bill in the House, HB 5 by Representative Ardian Zika (R – Land O’Lakes), passed out of the House and is waiting to be heard by the Senate.
CS/HB 1475 – Sex-specific Student Athletic Teams or Sports by Representative Kaylee Tuck (R – Sebring, FSU Alum)
CS/HB 1475 – Sex-specific Student Athletic Teams or Sports by Representative Kaylee Tuck (R – Sebring, FSU Alum), requires separate sex-specific interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural, or club athletics teams or sports if the team or sport is sponsored by a public primary or secondary school, a public postsecondary institution or any school or institution whose students or teams compete against such public schools or institutions.
While the bill allows coed teams, it specifically reserves female teams for biological women and girls. The bill facilitates the handling of disputes involving a student’s biological sex and provides a safe harbor for a school or public postsecondary institution for maintaining separate interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural, or club athletic teams or sports for female students.
The bill provides private causes of action for injunctive relief, damages, and any other relief available under law for students, schools, and public postsecondary institutions harmed by a violation of the bill’s provisions. All such civil actions must be brought within two years after the alleged harm occurred.
The bill passed out of the House last week and is waiting to be heard in the Senate. The Senate companion, SB 2012 by Senator Kelli Stargel (R – Lakeland), is scheduled to be heard by the Rules Committee tomorrow.