Your Weekly Legislative Update

April 14, 2021
Week Six Session Summary
April 5 - April 9, 2021
Legislative Session 2021

In This Issue...


2021 Legislative Session Highlights 

✓  The House and Senate passed their versions of the General Appropriations Act last week.

✓  HB 1507 Workforce Related Programs and Services passed in its final committee stop last Tuesday. It is on Special Order Calendar for 4/13/2021.

✓  SB 86 passed in the Senate last week. The bill requires the SBOE to identify and publish a list of career certificates and undergraduate degree programs that do not lead directly to employment. The bill also will end guarantees of funding amounts for Bright Futures scholars, allowing the Legislature to decide each year how much funding will be allocated.

✓  HB 997 Postsecondary Education Executive Search heads to the floor this week. This bill makes any personal identifying information of an applicant for the position of President confidential until 21 days before an interview or final action on the offer of employment.

✓  The AFC Trustees Commission Virtual Legislative Conference will be held this Tuesday and Wednesday (4/13- 4/14). On Tuesday, Chair Joe Pickens will provide the welcome with the Trustees Commission Chair at 1:30, President Angela Falconetti will lead the Legislative Priorities presentation at 2:00, and Chancellors Hebda and Mack will present at 2:30. 



2:00-N/A House Session

3:00-6:00 Senate Session 



9:00-1:00 House Education and Employment Committee

9:00-6:00 Senate Appropriations Committee

2:00-N/A House Session 



11:00-N/A House Session 

Schedule: View Committees and Session on The Florida Channel

We welcome you to track our progress weekly in Capitol Perceptions. Feel free to share it with a college friend who is not an AFC member. The online AFC Advocacy Toolkit is filling up with valuable and informative resources for you.


To review the Council of Presidents' Legislative Budget Request CLICK HERE.

Bills the AFC is tracking:

HB 311 / SB 1456: Public Records/Examination and Assessment Instruments 

These bills protect all student examinations and assessments, including developmental materials and work papers created at FCS institutions, state universities, or DOE. The State Board of Education.  The bill provides for repeal of the exemptions on October 2, 2026, unless reviewed and saved from repeal through reenactment by the Legislature.

HB 311 has passed its committees and is heading to the House floor for reading. SB 1456 has is scheduled on its last committee stop in the Senate, the Rules Committee, but has not been scheduled for a hearing.

HB 1507 / HB 1505 / SB 1042 / HB 366 / SB 98: CareerSource Boards and Workforce Education

HB 1507 creates targeted changes to the way that workforce education is approved and funded, and creates two new programs which make district/charter career centers and Florida College System institutions earn funding for its workforce programs.  Of note, the bill requires all new workforce education programs, as currently defined by law, to obtain SBE approval before a program can begin at both the district/charter career centers and FCS institutions.  As summarized by the staff analysis, matters that also affect FCS institutions are:

  1. Tasking the CareerSource state board to appoint a Credentials Review Committee to identify the degree and nondegree credentials of value, develop a Master Credential List for performance funding, and establish policy direction for funding which prioritizes outcomes and leverages resources to support vulnerable populations;
  2. Creating the Open Door Workforce Grant Program to provide grants to district/charter career centers and Florida College System (FCS) institutions in order to cover up to two-thirds of the cost of short-term, high-demand programs;
  3. Creating the Money-Back Guarantee Program, requiring each district/charter career center and FCS institution to refund the cost of tuition to students who are not able to find a job within 6 months of completing select programs; and
  4. Creates a new workforce performance funding model for the school district and FCS institution workforce programs, requiring one-third of performance funding to be based on rewarding student job placement and the remaining two-thirds to be based on student earnings.

Additionally, HB 1507 tasks the Florida Talent Development Council (formerly the Higher Education Coordinating Council) with studying and reporting on the health care industry, starting with nursing.  Moreover, it tasks the council with collecting information on all nursing clinical placements and centralizing placement of nursing students across the state.

HB 1505 does many things with respect to workforce education.  Per the staff analysis, it:

  1. Creates a consumer-first workforce system requiring the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) to consult with the Department of Education (DOE) and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to implement a single automated consumer-first workforce system that improves coordination among the required one-stop partners to efficiently and effectively provide workforce and education programs and services in Florida.
  2. Requires any contract to implement the consumer-first workforce system to be performance-based.
  3. Requires the consumer-first workforce system to support service integration and case management across programs and agencies and requires DEO to develop training for required one-stop partners on the use of the system and how all partners can prequalify individuals for benefits and services.
  4. Requires state career planning resources to be provided to students as they progress along with their educational experience, beginning in the middle grades career and education planning course, in the character development curriculum for grades 9 through 12, and to supplement existing tools utilized within student life skills and career planning courses at the postsecondary level.
  5. Requires public postsecondary student career service centers to utilize state career planning resources as they prepare students for future employment.
  6. Creates a definition and establishes criteria for the work-based learning opportunity, requiring it to be developmentally appropriate, develop workplace skills, link to next steps in career planning and preparation on a student’s career pathway, be provided in an equal and fair manner, and prioritize paid experiences.
  7. Requires that students entering a public postsecondary institution in 2022-2023, and thereafter, must be able to earn nationally recognized digital credentials for competencies within the general education core courses which demonstrate career readiness. The digital credentials will be identified by a faculty committee appointed by the State Board of Education and the Board of Governors.
  8. Requires DOE to establish minimum standards and policies governing apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs which must require training providers to submit data to determine program performance.
  9. Requires that DOE’s annual report on apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs also include retention and completion rates of participants, wage progression of participants, and expenditure data by the training provider, program, and occupation.

HB 1507 and 1505 will be considered on April 13, 2021.  SB 98 and SB 366, their closest companion bills, will be considered on April 15, 2021 in the Appropriations Committee.   

SB 532 /HB 135District Career Centers and Associate of Science in Nursing

These bills allow district career centers to offer an associate of science in nursing.  The Senate bill was heard and passed the Health Policy Committee on March 17, 2021, and is now at its third stop, the Rules Committee, but has not yet been scheduled.  The House was heard for the first time on March 31, 2021, and has not yet been scheduled in its next committee, Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee.

 HB 233 / SB 264: Intellectual Freedom

The bill requires the BOG and SUS to design a survey of intellectual freedom to be administered by each public university and college annually.  The survey will assess the status of intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity at each institution.  Beginning September 1, 2022, the results of this survey are to be compiled by the SBE and the BOG, respectively, and published each September. Additionally, the bill prohibits the SBE, the BOG, FCS institutions, and state universities from shielding students, faculty, or staff from protected free speech.   The bill authorizes the recording, for specified purposes, of video and audio in classrooms at Florida’s public institutions of higher education, while clarifying that the nonconsensual recording of video and audio in classrooms is permissible. Protected expressive rights of faculty work are protected by the right to seek a civil action against the liable party, in which injunctive relief and damages may be sought. Providing further protections for students, the bill requires that state university student government associations provide elected or appointed officers a direct appeal, with no conditions precedent, to a senior university administrator of any discipline, suspension, or removal from office. Furthermore, all FCS institutions and state universities are required to adopt student codes of conduct that have due process associated with the complaint.

This bill passed both chambers and is now ready for the Governor’s consideration.

HB 997 / SB 220: Public Records Exemption for Presidential Searches

HB 997 creates an exemption from public records and meeting requirements for presidential searches at state universities and FCS institutions.  The bill exemption is lifted at least 21 days before the date of a meeting at which either an interview is conducted or at which final action or a vote is to be taken on the employment of applicants.  The bill also creates a public meeting exemption for meetings to vet applications of people who have applied for presidential positions.  Recording of these meetings is required, but they are exempt from disclosure.  Meetings that establish the qualifications of potential applicants or a compensation framework.  Once finalists have been selected, interviews are public.  Votes as to the chosen applicant for the presidential position must also be open.   The bill provides for the repeal of the section on October 2, 2026, unless reviewed and saved from repeal by the Legislature.

HB 997 is headed for a final vote on the House floor on April 13, 2021.  SB 220 is in its last stop in the Senate, the Rules Committee, and will be heard on April 14, 2021.

HB 281 / SB 52: Post-Secondary Financial Matters

HB 281 and SB 52 create the Dual Enrollment Scholarship Program provides, contingent on an appropriation, reimbursement to eligible postsecondary institutions for tuition and related instructional materials costs associated with students participating in dual enrollment courses. The Program would provide reimbursement to eligible private school and home education program students participating in dual enrollment courses during the fall and spring semesters as well as eligible public school, private school, and home education program students participating in dual enrollment courses during the summer semester. 

 HB 281 is up for its third committee stop of four total stops, and SB 52 passed the Senate and has been sent to the House for consideration.  

HB 835 / SB 1014: Employee Organizations 

The bill applies to K-12, FCS, and SUS bargaining agents.  Much of the bill applies to K-12 collective bargaining.  For FCS and SUS, the bills create Florida Statutes 1012.8552 and 1012.916, which require annual renewal paperwork for FCS and SUS’s bargaining agents, respectively, to include new information: (1) the number of employees eligible for representation; (2) the number of employees represented by the employee organization and the number of those employees who do and do not pay dues; (3) documentation from the institution verifying such information; and (4) documentation from the institution verifying that it was provided with a copy of the employee organization’s registration renewal application.  Incomplete applications cannot be considered by PERC.  If the application reveals that the agent collects dues from less than half of its members, then the agent must recertify in order to be the bargaining agent for the members.    The bill authorizes an FCS or SUS institution to challenge an employee organization’s registration renewal application on the basis of inaccuracy.   If the challenge is made, PERC must review for accuracy and compliance with the renewal requirements.  If the application is inaccurate or does not comply, PERC must revoke registration and certification. 

HB 835 is on its third committee stop of three stops, and SB 1014 is on its second and final committee stop and is up for consideration on April 13, 2021.


Florida lawmakers pursuing new rules for opening charter schools


04/12/2021 03:34 PM EDT

TALLAHASSEE — Florida’s school choice-favoring Legislature wants to open the door for more agencies to approve new charter schools through proposals that would shift the powers granted to local school boards.

In legislation advancing this session, House members and senators are pressing for a new charter school review board appointed by the Department of Education and policies that would allow state colleges and universities to open and run their own charter schools. State Democrats, who largely oppose expanding school choice, have voted against the measures at each committee stop, arguing that charters “fall short” on oversight and accountability compared to traditional public schools.

“What I see is more potential to continue to expand Florida’s ever-growing charter schools that have continued to grow with limited accountability,” Sen. Janet Cruz (D-Tampa) said last week during a Senate education hearing.

One school choice bill proposed in the House, FL HB1031 (21R), aims to establish a Charter School Review Commission that would have the power to review and approve charter applications. This would mark a significant change in authority over current law, which maintains that local school districts are charged with approving and denying charter schools on their turf.

Under this bill, proposed charters could sidestep local board approval and instead get a blessing from the new commission. School districts would have 30 days to appeal any commission decisions to the state Board of Education.

Backed by choice groups like Academica and Charter Schools USA, the bill has proven to be a sticking point for Democrats. The minority party claims the idea would minimize the authority of local elected school board members and outsource their responsibilities to the Department of Education.

“I think there is a little bit more to this,” state Rep. Matt Willhite (D-Wellington) said at a hearing on Friday. “I think there is a little bit more intent to what this review commission is going to be.”

Bill sponsor state Rep. Anthony Rodriguez (R-Miami) contends the measure is necessary because school boards in some cases have held up charter school applications in legal battles that can last years. As an example, one case has been playing out in Volusia County since 2019 and could eventually reach the Florida Supreme Court.

“They’re using all the loopholes they can find to either take these applications to court, to litigate or challenge them and deny them,” Rodriguez said on April 1 when the policy was introduced.

Although the Senate has yet to consider this measure, both chambers are working on similar wide-ranging charter school packages that include another new way for charters for score approval.

Under FL SB1028 (21R) and FL HB51 (21R) alike, state colleges and universities would be allowed to operate charter schools that draw in students from multiple counties. These proposals would put college and university trustee boards in charge of charter schools, creating a new slate of operators in addition to local school boards.

Additionally, both bills would create a new appeals process for charter schools. The legislation grants charters the ability to immediately appeal to an administrative law judge if either the district or charter school doesn’t want to mediate the decision.

The charter school packages each have one more committee stop before becoming eligible for full consideration in their respective chambers. The proposed charter review commission also needs one more committee vote for floor eligibility.

 Capitol Perceptions is compiled weekly during the Florida Legislative Session and distributed to AFC members.  

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