New! Click HERE for Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) 2018 Ballot Guide
 


 2018 LEGISLATIVE SUMMARY REPORT

An annual summary of legislative bills related to higher education that passed or failed. Each bill and its impact is described. Additionally a comprehensive summary of the Florida College System legislative appropriations is provided.


Advocacy Alert #2!

March 5, 2018
Support Proposal 83
Florida Constitution Revision Commission
Communicate by March 13th

Overview:
Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) convenes once every 20 years to examine the Florida Constitution and propose changes for voter consideration.

Florida’s constitution establishes the fundamental laws, values and principles that govern our state and additions to it are opportunities to guarantee its relevancy to Florida’s future.

The CRC is comprised of 37 Commissioners. Fifteen Commissioners are appointed by the Governor of Florida, nine by the President of the Florida Senate, nine by the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and three by the Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court. The Attorney General of Florida automatically serves on the CRC. The Governor designates the Chair of the CRC.

Of the proposals that addressed the Florida College System (FCS) by the CRC, Proposal 83, drafted by Commissioner Nicole Washington, would place the FCS in the Florida Constitution to ensure it is continually positioned as part of the foundation of resources available to citizens.

Proposal 83 covers four key areas:
1)    Affirms the mission of the Florida College System;
2)    Affirms there shall be a single college system, individually governed by a district board, and that the State Board of Education shall oversee, coordinate and provide leadership for the system;
3)    States that each college shall be administered by a local board of trustees appointed by the governor and comprised of residents of the college service area;
4)    Affirms the role of the State Board of Education in managing the FCS.

A copy of CRC Proposal 83 is available by clicking here.

Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Is the Florida Constitution too long already?
A: State Constitutions are unlike the US Constitution, in that they typically go into greater detail on the structure of state government. The average length of a state constitution is 26,000 words, compared to about 4,500 words for the U.S. constitution. The shortest state governing document is that of Vermont, which is just 8,295 words. Florida is quite a bit bigger than Vermont in terms of geography and population, and so is the length of our governing document.

Q: How many times has the Constitution Revision Commission convened?
A: The 2017-2018 CRC, chaired by Carlos Beruff, is the third of its kind in Florida history. It held its organization meeting on March 20, 2017 and must submit its final report to the Florida Secretary of State by May 10, 2018. Since the last CRC convened in 1997-1998, Florida’s population has grown by more than 5 million people.

Q: How many proposals have been passed by Florida’s voters?
A: Over the years, previous CRCs have placed a total of seventeen proposed constitutional amendments on Florida ballots for voter consideration, with eight passed by Florida voters in 1998. At least 60 percent of the vote will be required to pass any constitutional amendments this Commission places on the ballot this fall.

More information on Proposal 83:
Proposal 83 creates a new section in the Florida Constitution outlining the purpose and governance structure for the Florida College System.

The proposal establishes the purpose of the Florida College System, in the Constitution, to focus on:

(1) Providing access to undergraduate education to the students of this state,
The Florida College System institutions serve as the primary access point of postsecondary education for most Floridians. The FCS’s open access mission is the pathway to college for the majority of Floridians seeking a postsecondary education.  65% of high school students choose a FCS institution after high school. While many of our students, especially those in rural communities, would like attend one of our universities, the reality is that most of our students balance work and life priorities while they pursue their higher education degree. The FCS serves this diverse array of needs of traditional and non-traditional students.

(2) Originating articulated pathways to a baccalaureate degree,
The colleges’ primary focus continues to be the associate programs.  Associate in Arts students constitute the majority of students in our system (59%), followed by Associate in Science (19%), educational certificates (9%), and baccalaureate programs representing around 5% of students.  The proposal process for a Bachelor in Science degree ensures that colleges identify local workforce demand and receive support from regional state universities to offer four-year degrees.

(3) Ensuring superior commitment to teaching and learning,
The FCS ranks #1 in producing certificate holders and associate’s degree holders, according to the 2016 Southern Regional Education Board Data Exchange. The FCS leads the country in graduation rates. The national average graduation rate for first time, fulltime students seeking an AA degree is 22%, while the comparable FCS graduation rate is 36%. Over half of juniors and seniors at the State University System come from the FCS (54%).

(4) Aligning certificate and degree programs with workforce needs.
The workforce baccalaureate programs are a perfect example of the colleges’ ability to be responsive to the local workforce needs. Working together with the local board of trustees, college presidents along with business leaders identify workforce programs that meet workforce needs. The baccalaureate programs have provided a career pathway that has led to increased earnings for our students.

The proposal codifies in the Florida Constitution that there is to be a single college system comprised of all public community and state colleges. Local boards of trustees will continue to govern each state college system institution, and the SBE’s supervision of the system will continue to be subject to the Legislature’s lawmaking authority. The proposal provides that a member of a board of trustees must be a resident of the service delivery area of the college.

CALL TO ACTION:
We are requesting AFC members to express your support for Proposal 83 to the members of the Constitutional Revision Commission.  Contact information for each Commissioner is available is available at https://www.flcrc.gov/Commissioners.

By clicking here, you will find a sample email or letter template. Submit your letter no later than March 13th, 2018. Please try to draft your letter in your own words as much as possible.
Remember the rules of engagement:
1)    Do this on your own time, after work hours;
2)    Do not use any college resources such as a computer, fax, or phone;
3)    If emailing, use your personal email address;
4)    It’s OK to ask your friends and neighbors to do the same.

Contact the AFC Office directly if you have any questions.

 


Advocacy Alert #1!
March 2, 2018

2018 Legislative Session Budget Conference

Overview:
The Florida House and Senate are currently in conference to set the state’s budget for the next fiscal year. As each chamber comes to these conferences with different budget recommendations, they each discuss their positioning in hopes of finding middle ground or one chamber deferring to the other and their recommendation.

Right now, the proposed funding for the Florida College System differs among the chambers and AFC is strongly supporting the House version.  With only a few days left in the session, we are encouraging your action in thanking specific House members and leadership for their commitment to our colleges and encouraging them to stand firm in their recommendation.

Through social media, emails and phone calls we can make our voice heard and show the House the support they need to feel from constituents as conference negotiations continue.

CALL TO ACTION:
We are requesting AFC members to express support of House leadership and specific members.  By clicking here, you will find a sample email or letter template.  Please try to draft your message in your own words as much as possible.

By clicking HERE, you will find a sample email or letter template.  Please try to draft your letter in your own words as much as possible.

By clicking HERE, you will find sample TWEETS.

Click HERE to locate your Representatives contact information.

Remember the rules of engagement:
1)    Do this on your own time, after work hours;
2)    Do not use any college resources such as a computer, fax, or phone;
3)    If emailing, use your personal email address;
4)    It’s OK to ask your friends and neighbors to do the same.

Contact the AFC Office directly if you have any questions.

 


 

General Advocacy and Legislative Information

Advocacy on behalf of the AFC membership is one of the primary activities of the Association.  The AFC Legislative Committee comprises 18 members all of whom serve as their college's registered lobbyist.  Moreover, the Association's Policy and Advocacy Committee comprises all 28 presidents.  Collectively and in coordination with the Division of Florida Colleges, policy issues are prioritized and advocated under the Association umbrella.  The AFC pays particular attention to matters that could directly impact its individual members and mobilizes the membership through a series of educational meetings and informative publications. Along with advocating for the annual system budget and substantive policy issues, the AFC monitors retirement, employee benefits, and related personnel issues.

Helpful Resources

2016 - 2018 House of Representatives
2016 - 2018 Senators
Florida Legislature Online Sunshine
Florida College System Fact Book

Legislative Information

THE LEGISLATIVE TEAM

The AFC Legislative team works year-round in the Florida Legislature to monitor, analyze and lobby issues that impact the Florida College System and all AFC members. Committee members represent the interests of the system-wide issues, as well as the particular interests of their respective colleges.

Each member develops relationships with their college's legislative delegation and works with them both in-district and in Tallahassee to keep them informed and knowledgeable on matters facing our colleges. Each committee is also given "lead issue" assignments annually.  Lead issues are areas of policy that could emerge during any legislative session. 

The lead issue person is responsible for monitor, analyzing, and reporting on that issue to the COP and the Legislative Committee.The AFC Legislative Committee is comprised of college governmental relations liaisons from 20 Florida colleges.

2016-2017 AFC LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE

  1. Matthew Holliday, Florida SouthWestern State College
  2. Michael Brawer, Association of Florida Colleges
  3. Andy Treadwell, Indian River State College
  4. Ed Woodruff, St. Petersburg College
  5. Mike McKee, Florida Gateway College
  6. Jack Hall, St. Johns River State College
  7. Don Payton, Ballard Partners
  8. Rachael Ondrus, Palm Beach State College
  9. Victoria Hernandez, Miami Dade College 
  10. Greg Haile, Broward College
  11. Brian Babb, Daytona State College
  12. Sandy Cessaretti-Ray, Pensacola State College, Chair
  13. Liam McClay, Santa Fe College
  14. Scott Balog, Tallahassee Community College
  15. Brian Thomas, State College of Florida, Manatee~Sarasota
  16. Eric Johnson, Hillsborough Community College
  17. Bill Mullowney, Valencia College
  18. Robert Batsel, Jr., College of Central Florida
  19. Chris Hansen, Ballard Partners
AFC CONTRACT LOBBYISTS


The AFC contracts with lobbyists to work with the Legislative Committee and the Council of Presidents to promote our positions on a variety of issues, and also to provide access to the highest levels of the legislature and the Governor's Office.  This access provides the AFC unprecedented ability to meet with legislative staff and shape policy issues in partnership with them.  Moreover, on very difficult issues the contract lobbyists provide unique access to legislative leadership in the Capitol.

Chris Hansen, Ballard Partners - Association of Florida Colleges


LEGISLATIVE ISSUES

The Legislative Committee covers a myriad of issues.  Policy issues monitored directly on behalf of AFC members include employee benefit areas such as:

  1. Florida Retirement System

  2. Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP)

  3. Sick leave and Annual Leave

  4. Severance

  5. Continuing Contracts and Tenure

  6. Academic Freedom and Speech

Other issues monitored by the committee relate to college "system-wide" policies including but not limited to:

  1. Community College Program Fund

  2. Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO)

  3. Dual Enrollment

  4. Residency

  5. Online learning

  6. Developmental Education

  7. Contracting

  8. General Education

  9. Career Education

  10. College Placement Testing

  11. Facilities Management and Maintenance

  12. Matching programs

  13. Tuition and Fees


LEGISLATIVE RESOURCES

"Perceptions"  is the AFC weekly newsletter published 9 times annually during legislative session. To review the AFC "Perceptions" Weekly Legislative Updates click here.

Bill monitoring and review of Florida Statutes is available to any member of the public.  Both the Florida House and the Senate maintain web sites for public access.  To view the Florida Legislature web site click here.

Have an issue you would like to be considered for Legislative Action?  Download the Legislative Issue Request Form.

 

 


 

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