Your Weekly Legislative Update

April 29, 2019
Week Eight Session Summary
April 22 - April 26, 2019
Legislative Session 2019

In This Issue...


Michael P. Brawer, CEO and Executive Director
Association of Florida Colleges

Down to the Wire -The Florida Legislature has until Tuesday night to agree on a budget if it intends to “sine die” (end the session) on Friday, May 3 as scheduled. State law requires an agreed upon budget “cool off” in each Chamber for 72 hours before a final vote can be taken and the bill submitted to the Governor for signing. Predictions are that the session will end on Friday, but there is never a guarantee.

Florida College System Budget - The proposed FCS budget is a far cry from the $222.2 million needed and requested for the system by the Council of Presidents and the AFC, as well as the $50 million plus increase requested by Governor Desantis.  There is currently however $16 million in new money agreed upon by both the Senate and House in the program fund; however they remain about $75,000 apart on the bottom-line. But at the moment neither provides funding for FRS cost adjustments, which will have the effect of increasing the new money by about $3.1 million. Additionally, about $2.5 million in non-recurring program funds have not been restored. There is no tuition increase factored into the final numbers.



 Governor Proposed

 Senate Offer #2

 House Offer #2






Community College Program fund

$ 1,217,007,821.00

$  1,236,980,083.00

$ 1,199,170,369.00

$    1,199,095,369.00

Workforce and Student Success incentives

$           550,000.00

$       28,050,000.00

$     30,550,000.00

$         30,550,000.00

Performance-based incentives (CAPE)

$      10,000,000.00

$       14,000,000.00

$     14,000,000.00

$         14,000,000.00

Comm. Of Community Service

$           983,182.00

$             983,182.00

$           983,182.00

$               983,182.00


$ 1,228,541,003.00

$ 1,280,013,265.00

$ 1,244,703,551.00

$    1,244,628,551.00






$ difference from prior year


$       51,472,262.00

$     16,162,548.00

$         16,087,548.00

% increase from prior year







For a complete summary spreadsheet of all bills being tracked visit the AFC Advocacy Toolkit to download the most recent 2019 AFC/FCS Bill Tracking Matrix.

Numerous FCS related bills remain unresolved heading into this final week of the 2019 Legislative Session. Bills not completing the committee process by this time are likely not to make it to the finish line. There has been little movement since last week on any FCS policy bills. 

SB 190
by Sen. Stargel regarding PECO and College DSO’s

This bill remains up in the air. There are several other House bills that cover parts of SB 190 but there is still no matching House companion. Covers numerous issues related to PECO and uses of fund balances. It requires the Auditor General to verify the accuracy of unexpended amounts in specified funds certified by university and Florida College System institution chief financial officers. Additional, the Board of Governors must develop and annually deliver a training program for members of state university boards of trustees. It prohibits a Florida College System institution direct-support organization from giving, directly or indirectly, any gift to a political committee. It also requires, by a specified academic year, Florida College System institutions and state universities to execute agreements to establish 2+2” targeted pathway programs, among other things. The bill is on Special Order in the Senate for April 29, but no House bill aligns with it as of yet.

SB 798
by Sen. Mayfield and HB 789 by Rep. Plasencia regarding four-year athletics

These bills are similar but not identical. The premise modifies provisions relating to Florida College System (FCS) institution baccalaureate degrees to authorize a FCS institution to participate in intercollegiate athletics at the four-year level. The bill also removes obsolete language relating to the approval of baccalaureate degrees at St. Petersburg College. The bill appears to have stalled in Senate Appropriations and in House Education.

HB 7115 by the State Affairs Committee and Rep. Latvala regarding open records for Executive Search Committees (no companion)

State universities and Florida College System (FCS) institutions often establish search committees for filling vacant president, provost, and dean positions. The purpose of a search committee is to locate qualified applicants who are interested in filling the vacant position at the university or institution, vetting applicants, and selecting a candidate to fill the position. Documentation held by a search committee is public record, and all meetings of the search committee are open and noticed to the public. The bill creates an exemption from public record and public meeting requirements for information associated with the applicant recruitment process and discussions associated with the applicant search for certain state university and FCS institution employees. Specifically, the bill provides that any personal identifying information of an applicant for president or provost of any state university or FCS institution is exempt from public record requirements. It also creates a public meeting exemption for any meeting held for the purpose of identifying or vetting applicants for president or provost of any state university or FCS institution. The bill provides instances when the public meeting exemption does not apply. In addition, it provides that the identifying information of any applicants who comprise a final group of applicants must be released by the state university or FCS institution no later than 30 days before the date of the meeting at which a final action or vote is to be taken on the employment of the applicants. At that time, all documents containing such identifying information is no longer exempt of those applicants who comprise a final group of applicants. The bill requires closed meetings to be reasonably noticed, and requires a complete recording to be made of the closed portion of the meeting. The bill provides for repeal of the section on October 2, 2024, unless reviewed and saved from repeal by the Legislature. It also provides a statement of public necessity as required by the State Constitution.

HB 525 by Rep. Raschein and SB 720 by Sen. Flores regarding the renaming of two colleges (identical)

In this bill, two colleges would be renamed. There are only three Florida remaining with the word “community” in the name. Florida Keys Community College would be renamed to "The College of Florida Keys" and North Florida Community College would be renamed to "North Florida College”. The bill passed in the House by a unanimous vote, and the Senate placed it on second reading on the floor. However, the Senate has not had any action since April 12.



(News Service of Florida - Excerpts from April 26, 2019)

TALLAHASSEE --- The biggest story this week has yet to unfold: a state budget deal. State lawmakers have been hashing out details on specific budget policy areas throughout the week, but many elements in next year’s roughly $90 billion budget have yet to be resolved. With one week remaining in the 2019 legislative session, the chambers’ budget chiefs are expected to spend at least part of their weekend at the state Capitol ironing out disparities in their budgets. Some pending issues include money disputes over hospital reimbursements, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ water quality programs and funding for the state’s tourism-marketing agency Visit Florida, which House Speaker Oliva would like to phase out. State lawmakers have made a lot of progress and settled a number of high-profile policy areas in a one-week span.

A plane for the governor? There’s $3.8 million to either buy or lease one. Complying with a court order to treat inmates with Hepatitis C? Lawmakers have agreed to $34 million for that. Extra money for school districts hit by Hurricane Michael? Budget writers are steering about $14.2 million to the cause. Even without a budget deal, there’s been a flurry of activity in the state Capitol heading into the final week of the session.

NO SANCTUARY FOR SANCTUARY CITIES - In a nod to DeSantis, who has repeatedly vowed to outlaw so-called sanctuary cities, both the House and Senate backed proposals this week that would force local law enforcement agencies to fully comply with federal immigration authorities. A sharply divided Senate on Friday passed legislation that would give the governor authority to reprimand any state or local official who impedes cooperation with a federal immigration agency. Officials that try to block a local government from participating in a federal program that deputizes local law enforcement officers to act as federal immigration agents would be in violation of the proposed statute. The Senate voted 22-18 in favor of the plan Friday, a day after the House passed its version of the bill, which includes tougher sanctions.

DNT TXTNDRV - One thing the House and Senate did agree on this week is that police should have the authority to pull over drivers who are texting while driving. Currently, police can only cite motorists for texting while they’re behind the wheel if drivers are pulled over for another reason. But proposals that bounced between both chambers this week would make texting while driving a “primary” traffic violation. The two chambers differ, however, on whether motorists should required to use hands-free wireless devices in school zones and work zones, something the Senate is backing. Making texting and driving a primary offense raised a red flag for numerous black and Hispanic lawmakers, who are concerned about police racially profiling minorities on the road. Similar concerns helped derail proposals to make texting while driving a primary offense in past sessions. To address the racial profiling issue, the bill would require arresting officers to record the race and ethnicity of violators.

SCHOOL CHOICE EXPANSION FORGING AHEAD - The Florida House is poised to consider a Senate proposal next week that would allow more students to use taxpayer-funded scholarships to pay for private-school tuition, a major step toward expanding school choice in the state. A day after the Senate signed off on a wide-ranging education proposal that would create a new voucher-type program, dubbed the “Family Empowerment Scholarship” program, House Speaker Jose Oliva said he liked the bill’s “position.” The new scholarship program would provide vouchers to pay for up to 18,000 students to attend private schools. In addition to the new program, the bill would also restructure a controversial teacher-bonus program, tweak other voucher-type scholarship programs and make it cheaper for teachers to get certified by the state. When debating the bill, Democrats vigorously opposed the new scholarship program, branding it a “continual nail in the coffin of our public education system,” while Republicans praised the proposal as a “bold” push to help the individual needs of students.

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

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