Your Weekly Legislative Update

May 5th, 2021
Week Nine Session Summary
April 26 - April 30, 2021
Legislative Session 2021

In This Issue...


2021 Legislative Session Highlights 

✓  Sine Die occurred on time last Friday. Ending on time was a priority for President Simpson.

✓  Textbook stipends for Bright Futures recipients are going away. Read the article here.

✓  A special session will occur beginning May 17 to take up a new gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe.

✓  Florida Capitol to be fully open in time for Special Session. Read the article here.

Schedule: View Committees and Session on The Florida Channel

Thank you to AFC Legislative Committee Chair Jessica McClain, College of Central Florida, and Vice-Chair Lacey Hofmeyer, Broward College, for sharing the weekly legislative summaries throughout the 2021 Legislative Session. We appreciate the hard work of our AFC Lobbyists and College Presidents during this unprecedented time. This is our final issue of Capitol Perceptions. A full 2021 Legislative Summary is currently being drafted. 



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.

This bill passed, and will be sent to the Governor for consideration.

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 both chambers, and will now be sent to the Governor for consideration.

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.  This bill did not make it to the House or Senate floor for consideration.

 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 a 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.

This bill did not pass, and therefore did not become law.

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. 

 SB 52 passed and will be sent to the Governor for consideration.  $15.5M was set aside in the budget to fund the scholarship.  If signed by the Governor and the appropriation remains unvetoed by the Governor, the State Board of Education will need to develop rules to administer the scholarship. 

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. 

This bill did not pass, and therefore will not become law.

SB 2006

An amendment to SB 2006 was added to this bill the last week of the Session to prohibit government entities and businesses from requiring vaccinations in order to participate in or obtain services. This bill was signed into law on May 3, 2021.


The 2021 session is a wrap


05/03/2021 05:47 AM EDT

Down to the wire  Florida lawmakers kept the 2021 session interesting down to the very last minute. The day of sine die was dominated by the Legislature attempting to undo a policy delay the House and Senate had just agreed to two days prior. And, to top it off, the House managed to slide in a shot at the NCAA.

No effect?  After hearing backlash from college athletes, coaches and university leaders, lawmakers reversed course on delaying for a year Florida’s name, image and likeness laws allowing students to sign with agents and score endorsements. When lawmakers were pushing through the last-minute policy switch, the House took the last moments of session to drop in new language that prevents schools from using state money to pay any association that causes the state lose money through a boycott of Florida.

What does that mean for school athletic programs, which are mostly funded through other budget sources?

“I don’t believe it effects our universities or colleges at all,” one lawmaker said on the floor Friday.

Now what?  Take a breather. Read the budget. Then read it again.

Welcome to Florida Higher Ed Watch, the weekly digest of college and university news in the Sunshine State. Questions? Tips? Events? Email me at [email protected], and follow @alatterbury for real-time updates throughout the week.



GRAND FINALE: Florida lawmakers during the final hours of the session abruptly reversed course on delaying the start date for allowing college athletes across the state to profit from their name, image and likeness — all while taking a veiled shot at the NCAA along the way.

The Legislature earlier this week quietly postponed for one year rules clearing the way for athletes to make money from things like selling autographs or scoring endorsements over fears that students or universities could face ramifications from the NCAA.

But lawmakers, after hearing backlash from college athletes, coaches and university leaders, on Friday backed off the delay.

NEVER RETURNED: Florida lawmakers last week put the finishing touches on a higher education package designed to steer college students toward high-demand careers, but the wide-ranging proposal is missing a controversial wrinkle tied to Bright Future scholarships that was a focal point early in session.

The Senate abandoned its policy that proposed setting award amounts for the top Bright Futures scholarships in the state budget, an idea that sparked a surge of displeasure among parents and students.

“It’s something that is considered every year, so it would be the same if it were (in the bill),” Senate President Wilton Simpson told reporters on this week.

IT DIED: The Florida Senate on Tuesday rejected a proposal that would have shielded prospects for top college and university jobs from public scrutiny during presidential searches, presenting the legislation with a rare public death in the last week of session.

The policy, which requires a supermajority vote to pass, easily cleared the House before yet again falling short in the upper chamber, as it did in 2020.

DIDN’T MAKE IT: In final budget talks, Florida lawmakers largely backed off from major cuts to Florida universities and colleges but remained insistent on slashing two long-standing college financial aid programs for the upcoming fiscal year, per the Tampa Bay Times.

STICKING WITH IT: A presidential task force addressing anti-racism, equity and inclusion at Florida State University voted Wednesday afternoon against forwarding a recommendation to remove Doak Campbell’s name from the football stadium, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

REMEMBER THAT? Gov. Ron DeSantis said Florida was exploring a bill of rights that would protect students — generally at lower risk from coronavirus — from being punished by their universities if they violated social-distancing rules, mask-wearing violations or other public health measures.

So, what happened to the idea? WUFT explores.

COME SAIL AWAY: The Florida Senate on Thursday amended its annual tax cut package, boosting the overall one-year amount by $100 million, including adding a $600,000 property tax break for Full Sail University, a for-profit Winter Park-based private school.

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

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