January 31, 2022
Volume 29, Number 4
Dear Seminole Family,
Last week, state economists, met to amend their revenue estimates. Their new figures show that state lawmakers will have an additional $4 billion in general revenue funds over the next two years, more than initially expected. This revision comes out while lawmakers begin to make budget decisions as they craft the 2022-23 fiscal year budget.
Three of our trustees, Maximo Alvarez, Drew Weatherford, and Vivian de las Cuevas-Diaz passed their first hurdle towards being confirmed last week when they were approved by the Education Committee. This week they will move to the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee as the next stop in the confirmation process.
We are also preparing for FSU Day at the Capitol which will be on Wednesday of next week, February 9th! Please plan to come to capitol to by 12:15 pm to be a part of the festivities.
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.
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
SB 1048 - Student Assessments, by Senator Manny Diaz (R- Hialeah Gardens), modifies Florida’s statewide standardized assessment program to include a computer-based progress monitoring tool and an end-of-year comprehensive assessment in English language arts and mathematics. The bill has been heard in its first two committee stops, the Senate Education Committee, and the Education Appropriations Subcommittee. The bill is now waiting to be heard in its final committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee. A comparable bill in the House, HB 1193 by Representative Rene Plasencia (R- Titusville) is waiting to be heard in its first committee of reference, the House Early Learning & Elementary Education Subcommittee.
HB 1139 - Energy, by Representative Brad Drake (R- Marianna), revises the selection criteria that state agencies, state universities, community colleges, and local governments must use when vehicles are being procured for purchase or leasing agreements. Under the bill, these entities would be required to make selections based on the lowest lifetime ownership costs over five years as determined by the Department of Management Services, instead of greatest fuel efficiency available. The bill was heard and amended last week by the House Government Operations Subcommittee and is waiting to be heard in the House State Administration & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee. A similar bill in the Senate, SB 954 by Senator Jason Brodeur (R- Lake Mary) was amended in the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee and is waiting to be heard the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government.
SB 1916- Hunger-Free Campus Grant Program, by Senator Annette Taddeo (D- Miami) establishes a grant program within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for the purpose of supporting efforts to fight student hunger. Specifically, the department will annually designate eligible postsecondary educational institutions as Hunger-Free Campuses if they meet specified requirements. Grant awards must be used to address student hunger, promote sustainable solutions to address basic food needs, raise awareness of services currently offered, and build partnerships on the local, state, and national levels to address food insecurity in students. This bill has been referred to the Senate Agriculture, Education and Appropriation committees and is waiting to be heard in its first committee. An identical bill in the House, HB 1407 by Representative Susan Valdes (D- Tampa) is waiting to be heard in its first committee of reference, the House Post-Secondary Education & Lifelong Learning Subcommittee.
HB 599- Upgrades to Education Facilities as Emergency Shelters, by Representative Joseph Casello (D- Boynton Beach), excludes any costs less than $2 million associated with upgrades to an education facility which are designed to improve the capabilities of facilities to provide enhanced hurricane protection areas from the cost per student station cps on public school construction. Eligible upgrades are those necessary for an area to be designated as an enhanced hurricane protection area; electrical and standby emergency power systems; renewable energy source devices; and energy storage devices. Currently, law prohibits a school district from using certain local and state funds to upgrade or construct educational facilities that exceed the cost per student station cap. This bill was amended in its first committee stop, House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee, last week and is waiting to be heard in its second committee of reference, House Education & Employment Committee. A similar bill in the Senate, SB 600 by Senator Lori Berman (D- Boynton Beach), will be heard this Tuesday in its first committee of reference, the Senate Education Committee.
HB 461- Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program Student Service Requirements, by Representative Lauren Melo (R- Naples), authorizes a student to meet eligibility requirements prescribed under each award through paid work in lieu of volunteer hours, starting with the high school students graduating in the 2022-2023 school year. The bill also requires a student to evaluate and reflect upon their volunteer service or paid work experience through papers or other presentations and makes it optional for a student to identify a social or civic issue or a professional area of interest and develop a plan for personal involvement. This bill was amended in its first committee of reference, the House Post-secondary Education & Lifelong Learning Subcommittee, to change the effective date to "upon becoming law"; and is waiting to be heard in its second committee, the House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee. A similar bill in the Senate, SB 1060 by Senator Travis Hutson (R- Palm Coast) is waiting to be heard in its first committee of reference, Senate Education.
Update on Bills
HB 45- Educational Opportunities for Disabled Veterans, by Representative Daisy Morales (D- Orlando), was amended this past week. The amendment corrected the federal law citation to capture the law as subsequently amended by Congress, clarified that programs eligible for educational assistance under the GI bill are eligible for the waiver, and requires the application of eligible federal GI bill benefits before an award amount is paid for by the state. The bill is waiting to be heard in its third committee of reference, the House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee, and has a fourth committee of reference: the House State Affairs Committee. The identical bill in the Senate, SB 554 by Senator Janet Cruz (D- Tampa), is waiting to be heard in its second out of three committees of reference, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education.