Your Weekly Legislative Update

March 24, 2021
Week Three Session Summary
March 15 - March 19, 2021
Legislative Session 2021

In This Issue...


2021 Legislative Session Highlights 

✓The first round of budgets will be presented this week. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education will present budget recommendations on Wednesday, March 24, at 4:30 PM. The House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee will present budget recommendations on Thursday, March 25, at 11:30 AM.

✓  HB 1505 Workforce Programs and Services and HB 1507 Workforce Related Programs and Services will be presented in their third committee stop, House Appropriations, on Monday at 12:30 PM. Their final stop will be the House Education and Employment Committee.

SB 86 Student Financial Aid will be presented in the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, on Tuesday at 10:30 AM. This is the second committee stop. Its final stop will be Senate Appropriations.

✓  The Estimating Conference will present Florida College System Enrollment on Tuesday at 2:00 PM. On Wednesday at 1:30, they will present PECO.

✓  SB 52 Postsecondary Education (regarding the Dual Enrollment Scholarship) is placed on Third Reading for Thursday, 3/25/2021. 

Schedule: View Committees and Session on The Florida Channel




12:00-3:00 House Education & Employment Committee

1:30-N/A EDR: Revenue Estimating Conference


4:30-6:30 Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education

-Review and Discussion of Fiscal Year 2021-2022 Budget Issues Relating to: -Department of Education

-Office of Early Learning
-Board of Governors



11:30-1:00 House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee

1:00-6:00 Senate Session

-HB 52 Postsecondary Education

2:00-N/A House Session

-SB 72 Civil Liability for Damages Relating to COVID-19 



9:15-N/A House Session

10:00-2:00 Senate Session

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 including a link to each week’s most recent 2021 AFC/FCS Bill Tracking Matrix.


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 one committee meeting and has two more committee stops. SB 1456 has not been heard in its first committee stop.

HB 1505: Workforce Programs and Services (Melo) 

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 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 have been heard in two committees, and need to be heard in two more before it is ready for the floor. HB 1505 and SB 366 most closely align, and SB 366 is now at its second committee stop. SB 1042 and 98 have elements of both 1505 and 1507.  Senate bill 98 is on its second committee stop in Education, and is scheduled to be heard on March 23, 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.

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 was heard and passed the Health Policy Committee on March 17, 2021, and is now at its third stop, the Rules Committee, but has not yet been scheduled.  The House bill has not yet had its first hearing in the House.

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 a 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 House bill passed on March 18, 2021 in the House. The Senate bill was heard and passed Appropriations on March 17, and is now on the Senate calendar from March 22, 2021.

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 has passed its first committee stop and has two more committees to clear.  SB 220 is in its last committee stop in the Senate.

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 up for its third committee stop of four total stops, and SB 52 is on the third reading in the Senate set for March 25, 2021.

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 is on its second committee stop of three stops, and SB 1014 is on its second committee stop, which is its final stop.


Senate’s Bright Futures bill could be trimmed down 


TALLAHASSEE — The sponsor behind the Senate’s contentious proposal to reshape Florida’s Bright Futures college scholarship program on Monday filed a new amendment that would wipe away a key piece of the legislation.

A proposed rewrite of FL SB86 (21R), filed Monday morning by Sen. Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala), slashes 10 pages from the bill, including the controversial provision that tied Bright Futures awards to degrees that directly produce jobs.

In a letter to senators, Baxley laid out that his original intention behind the legislation was to “begin the discussion” about the cost — and value — of programs within the state higher education system. The scaled-back proposal still represents a “concrete” step forward on that front, Baxley wrote, noting that he made the changes after hearing feedback from lawmakers and constituents.

“We have awakened a giant,” Baxley wrote. “We have to reconnect the education and economic model and we have begun that process.”

Baxley’s amendment, set to come up in the Senate Appropriations Education Subcommittee either Tuesday or Wednesday, strips the provision that limited scholarships to 60 credit hours for students in an associate in arts or bachelor’s degree program. This piece also specified that students would receive reduced scholarship amounts for pursuing degrees that weren’t on a new list created by state agencies. The aim was to lower the amount for students who pursued degrees in fields that weren’t considered marketable.

The proposed rewrite still ensures future award amounts for Florida’s top Bright Futures scholarships would be set in the state budget. The scholarships currently cover between 75 percent to 100 percent of tuition, a policy that has been in place since 2018 when the Legislature restored the top awards following cuts triggered by the recession.

Democrats and student advocacy groups celebrated the amendment as at least a temporary victory against the legislation on Monday. The proposal has been met with a firestorm of criticism since its inception, led by a coalition of student groups that launched a petition that is nearing 125,000 signatures.

“I am glad to see that public opposition was enough to stop this awful legislation for now, but we must remain vigilant to ensure this language doesn’t show up hidden in the back of the budget,” tweeted state Sen. Janet Cruz (D-Tampa).

Under the bill rewrite, state agencies would still be required to create a list of degrees and programs that do not lead directly to unemployment.

A new policy in Baxley’s amendment would require state universities to put a hold on student transcripts after their first year in college to ensure they enroll in some sort of career planning program.

Some 119,925 students received Bright Futures scholarships this school year; the program is projected to cost $651.7 million in 2021-22.

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

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