Your Weekly Legislative Update

April 21, 2021
Week Seven Session Summary
April 12 - April 16, 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 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 on April 20, 2021. SB 1456 is headed to the Senate floor on April 21, 2021.

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 is now ready for consideration on the Senate floor and SB 366 will be considered on April 21, 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 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.

 HB 997 passed in the House.  SB 220 is in its last stop in the Senate, the Rules Committee, and will be heard on April 20, 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 being considered on April 19, 2021 in the Education and Employment Committee in the House, 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 headed to the House floor on April 20, 2021.  SB 1014 is on its second and final committee stop, and is up for consideration on April 20, 2021, and will be considered on April 21, 2021 on the Senate floor if passed out of the Rules committee. 


Florida higher education budget bumped over university cuts


04/19/2021 10:21 PM EDT

The Florida House and Senate on Monday night were unable to iron out any piece the state’s higher education budget, with the chambers divided on how to implement some $223 million in university cuts.

Lawmakers late Monday agreed to bump the entire higher education spending plan for 2021-22, leaving another issue for the top appropriations chairs to work out in the coming days. At their second budget conference meeting, the House leaders said the Senate’s strategy for slashing state universities was “flawed.”

“Your reduction methodology [disproportionally] impacts low-income students and minority-serving institutions,” state Rep. Rene Plasencia (R-Orlando), the House’s higher-education budget writer, told senators.

What’s going on: Early budget proposals showed Florida’s state university system was facing cuts ranging from $217 million to $593 million in what was forecast to be a “lean year” due to the coronavirus.

On Monday, Plasencia told reporters that the Legislature has settled on $223 million in university cuts, although there is disagreement over how those reductions should be applied.

The Senate’s plan for cutting universities is based in part on how much federal Covid-19 relief money schools scored, Plasencia said. The House is against that methodology because the coronavirus cash was earmarked for universities based on how many students are eligible for Pell Grants, Plasencia said.

Based on that strategy, schools like the University of Central Florida and Florida International University would be “disproportionally” cut, Plasencia said.

“We have a proposal that we presented today in our budget that makes some changes to that,” Plasencia told reporters. “So that there’s more equity in the cuts that are made so that no one institution has a disproportional impact.”

Senators huddled briefly after Plasencia and the House made a budget offer, but ultimately decided to bump the vast budget differences.

What’s next: It now falls on the House and Senate appropriations chairs assembling Florida’s higher education and K-12 budgets.

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

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