Your Weekly Legislative Update

April 28, 2021
Week Eight Session Summary
April 19 - April 23, 2021
Legislative Session 2021

In This Issue...


2021 Legislative Session Highlights 

Budget Conferences were held this weekend. Click here to view the first Senate Higher Education Appropriations offer. Unresolved issues will bump to Chair Stargel and Trumbull by Monday evening.

✓  HB 1507 Workforce Related Programs and Services passed on the House floor this week. The Senate aligned SB 98 to HB 1507. SB 98 will be heard in Senate Appropriations on Monday.

✓  SB 532 Workforce Education (ASN for Technical Colleges) will be heard in Senate Rules Committee on Tuesday at 8:30 AM.

✓  HB 847 Florida Postsecondary Academic Library Network makes it way to the House floor on Tuesday. 



10:00-N/A House Session

10:00-6:00 Senate Session

-SB 1014 Employee Organizations

-SB 366 Educational Opportunities Leading to Employment 



8:00-9:30 House Appropriations

10:00-N/A House Session

10:00-6:00 Senate Session 



10:00-N/A House Session

10:00-6:00 Senate 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 the repeal of the exemptions on October 2, 2026, unless reviewed and saved from repeal through reenactment by the Legislature.

HB 311 has passed the House and is being considered on the third reading in the Senate.

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 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 passed the House.  SB 98 and SB 366 are being considered on the Senate floor on April 26, 2021.    

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 is set to be heard in its last committee stop, Rules, on April 20, 2021.  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, which is not expected to meet again.

 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 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 passed in the House.  SB 220 is being considered on the Senate floor on April 26, 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 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 now ready for the House floor, and SB 52 passed the Senate and has been sent to the House for consideration. Because provision for the program was made in the last Senate budget offer, which was accepted by the House, the legislation is expected to pass. 

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 and SB 1014 were both temporarily postponed and are unlikely to be heard in either Chamber. 


Florida lawmakers once again boost budget at last minute


04/26/2021 10:30 PM EDT

TALLAHASSEE — Top legislative budget writers on Monday night added nearly $350 million to Florida’s proposed spending plan, continuing an annual tradition of lawmakers beefing up the state budget by millions of dollars in the last days of the session.

The Legislature has not yet finalized the proposed 2021-2022 state budget. But lawmakers got near the finish line during a Monday night meeting by adding the “supplemental funding” to a likely record-setting state budget as part of an annual tradition dubbed the “sprinkle list” because the addition of funding at the very end of the budget process helps the spending plan pass.

Each year, members defend the practice of dropping hundreds of millions of dollars at the last minute. This year was no different. Neither House Budget Chief Jay Trumbull (R-Panama City) nor Senate Budget Chief Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) knew how much lawmakers approved in taxpayer funding at the last minute when they met with reporters after the Monday night meeting.

“I’m not sure I do know that number,” said Trumbull, moments after signing off on the spending plan.

Trumbull said a “significant percentage” of the new spending had previously been considered in past budget meetings but did not make the initial final spending plan. Money beyond that he generally termed “good government” spending.

“We spent just about as much on good government issues as we did on member projects,” said Trumbull, who was unable to provide specifics on the funding.

Stargel noted that hundreds of millions of dollars on the sprinkle list were at some point included in House or Senate spending plans. They did not get included in those final versions, but the often heavily lobbied issues were added to the final lists.

“It’s not even eligible for a supplemental unless it was in the House or the Senate budget,” said Stargel, who also acknowledged she was unaware how big the new spending lists were.

The overall budget process is not 100 percent complete, but should be closed out after House and Senate budget writers sign off on a few outstanding bits of budget language Tuesday. If that’s the case, lawmakers will finalize the budget in time for the state’s constitutionally mandated 72-hour cooling off period, which will mean the budget can get a final vote before Friday’s scheduled end of the regular legislative session.

Among the biggest “sprinkle list” items were $80 million for the state’s Agency for Persons with Disabilities waitlist; $20 million for Schools of Hope, a school choice program championed by former House speaker and current Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, and $18.4 million for a Florida State University interdisciplinary research commercialization building.

The House also proposed a $1.2 million salary increase for agency heads in Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive branch, a request that was supported by Senate budget writers.

“I know it’s something the governor has talked about a few times about being able to give some of his agency heads a raise,” Trumbull said. “And we’re looking obviously for parity as it relates to other states. I think specifically you can look at DOT Secretary [Kevin Thibault] who, I think, [is] making $140,000 or something like that now and letting him have some parity as it related to other secretaries across the country.”

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

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