February 21, 2022
Volume 29, Number 7
Dear Seminole Family,
Thank you for taking a few moments to read this week’s Legisletter as we begin the race toward to critical final weeks of the legislative session. Last week the House and Senate passed their versions of the budget from the floor of their respective chambers—setting the stage for the two bodies to work toward a joint budget allocation, appoint conferees, and to begin the conference process.
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 of Florida the best in the country as we continue to educate the next generation of elite students.
Yours in Seminole Spirit,
HB 1317- Individual Education Plans, by Representative Allison Tant (D- Tallahassee, FSU Alum), requires school districts to provide information and instruction to a student and his or her parent on self-determination and the legal rights and responsibilities relating to educational decisions that transfer to the student upon turning 18. The information provided must include options for maintaining parental involvement in educational decision-making including a Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) waiver, powers of attorney, guardian advocacy and guardianship. The bill is waiting to be heard in its final committee stop, the House Education & Employment Committee. The identical bill in the Senate, SB 1674- Individual Education Plans, by Senator Loranne Ausley (D- Tallahassee), was reported favorable out of the Senate Education Committee and is waiting to be heard in its second committee stop, the Senate Judiciary Committee.
HB 1505- Background Screenings, by Representative Dana Trabulsy (R- Fort Pierce), requires school districts, lab schools, the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, the Florida Virtual School, virtual instruction providers, charter schools, hope operators, early learning coalitions, and private schools participating in an educational scholarship program, to conduct background screenings through the Care Provider Background Screening Clearinghouse (Clearinghouse) as opposed to various other screening systems, beginning on January 1, 2023. The bill also makes a person ineligible for teacher certification if they have a “disqualifying offense” which includes an individual who is considered a sexual predator, career offender, or sexual offender, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). This bill is on the House Appropriations Committee agenda, tomorrow February 22nd. A similar bill in the Senate, SB 1830- Background Screenings, by Senator Jason Brodeur (R- Lake Mary), is waiting to be heard in its second committee stop, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice.
HB 7071- Taxation by the House Ways & Means Committee, is this years House tax package which includes a number of tax reductions and other tax-related modifications. Notably, the bill includes:
- A fourteen-day “back-to-school” tax holiday in July and August 2022;
- A fourteen-day “disaster preparedness” holiday in May and June of 2022 for specified disaster preparedness supplies;
- A “Freedom Week” tax holiday in July for specified recreational items and activities; and
- A seven-day tax holiday in September for tools and equipment needed in skilled trades.
The bill was successfully introduced last week. It is now waiting to be referred to committees. A similar bill in the Senate, SB 830- Sales Tax, by Senator Ed Hooper (R- Palm Harbor), is waiting to be heard in its final committee stop, the Senate Appropriations committee.
SB 7034- Child Welfare, by the Senate Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee- makes several changes to current law relating to monthly payment amounts for foster parents and relative and nonrelative caregivers and other benefits to better assist these caretakers. The bill also provides a $200 per month subsidy to any foster parents or relative who have a child placed in their home between the ages of birth to school entry. Finally, the bill also expands the scope of potential students eligible for a tuition and fee exemption at tech center, Florida College System institution or state university. The bill is scheduled to be heard by the full Senate later this week. A similar bill in the House, HB 7065 by the House Children, Families & Senior Subcommittee, is on the committee agenda for the House Appropriations committee, today February 21st.
UPDATE ON BILLS
SB 1048- Student Assessments, by Senator Manny Diaz (R- Hialeah Gardens), was amended through committee substitute in its third committee stop, the Senate Appropriations committee. The committee substitute amended various provisions including
- Requiring that the progress monitoring system be computer adaptive beginning in the 2023-2024 school year. The progress monitoring system will still be computer-based in 2022-2023;
- Requiring that beginning in the 2023-2024 school year, scores from the end-of-year test be available by May 31st; and
- Includes determinations for high school graduation in the requirement to link 2021-2022 student performance expectations to the student performance on the 2022-2023 end-of-yea assessment.
The bill is now waiting to be heard on the Senate floor. The House companion, HB 1193 by Representative Rene Plasencia (R- Titusville) is waiting to be heard in its final committee stop, the House Education & Employment Committee.