Your Weekly Legislative Update

January 18, 2022
Week One Session Summary
January 10 - January 14, 2022
Legislative Session 2022

In This Issue...


2022 Legislative Session Highlights 

✓ The Governor proposed his education budget which, for the first time, includes a Workforce Development Capitalization Incentive Grant. This will provide grants to Florida College System institutions and school districts for expenses associated with the creation or expansion of a workforce development program. 

✓ During a discussion about the current nursing shortage, Senator Harrell stated a desire to bring Florida College System institutions into such a discussion, as a top producer of nurses in the state. 

SB 520 passed through the education committee. This would allow much of the Presidential search process to be exempt from public records and public meeting requirements.



House Education & Employment Committee



Florida College System Council of Presidents' Business Meeting

Published weekly during the legislative session, Capitol Perceptions provides updates on current legislative issues and their progress throughout the session. We would like to thank our AFC Legislative Committee Chair, Lacey Hofmeyer from Broward College, and Vice-Chair, Eired Eddy, from St. Petersburg College, for their hard work and assistance in compiling the weekly session highlights and bill updates.

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 2022 AFC/FCS Bill Tracking Matrix.


To review the Council of Presidents' Legislative Budget Request CLICK HERE.

Bills the AFC is tracking:

SB 520 / HB 703: Public Records and Public Meetings (Brandes)

Providing an exemption from public records requirements for any personal identifying information of an applicant for president of a state university or a Florida College System institution held by a state university or a Florida College System institution; providing an exemption from public meeting requirements for any portion of a meeting held for the purpose of identifying or vetting applicants for president of a state university or a Florida College System institution, including any portion of a meeting which would disclose certain personal identifying information of such applicants; providing for future legislative review and repeal of the exemptions; providing a statement of public necessity, etc.

SB 520 was passed through the Education Committee and is now being heard by the Government Oversight and Accountability Committee on Tuesday, the 19th, at 8:30 am. HB 703 was added to the Post-Secondary Education & Lifelong Learning Subcommittee agenda.

SB 1122: Student Fees (Gainer and Broxson) 

Authorizing a district school board or Florida College System institution board of trustees, in consultation with specified entities, to implement a plan for a differential out-of-state fee; authorizing a Florida College System institution board of trustees, in consultation with specified entities, to implement a plan for a differential out-of-state fee, etc.

SB 1122 was heard by the Education committee on Monday, the 18th, at 11 am.

HB 573 / SB 896Educator Certification Pathways for Veterans (Snyder and Killebrew)

Expands eligibility to seek educator certification to specified military servicemembers; authorizes DOE to issue temporary certificate to specified military servicemembers & specifies duration of temporary certificate for specified military servicemembers.

HB 537 was added to the Secondary Education & Career Development Subcommittee agenda for Tuesday, the 19th, at 3:30pm. SB 896 passed through the Military and Veterans Affairs, Space, and Domestic Security Committee and is now in the Education Committee.

HB 985:

Revises statutory limits on liability for tort claims against state & its agencies & subdivisions; revises requirements for state or agency or subdivision of state to agree to settle claim or judgment; prohibits insurance policy from conditioning payment of benefits on enactment of claim bill; specifies that limitations in effect on date final judgment is entered apply to that claim; requires DFS to adjust limitations on tort liability every year after specified date; revises exceptions relating to instituting actions on claims against state or one of its agencies & to statute of limitations for such claims.

HB 985 was added to the Civil Justice & Property Rights Subcommittee agenda for Tuesday, the 19th, at 3:30pm.


Florida Senate to choose new maps over concerns about diluted minority vote

01/13/2022 07:34 PM EST

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Senate’s top redistricting panel on Thursday selected draft congressional and state Senate maps to send to the full chamber for final vote, a move that came over some concerns about negative impacts on minority voters in some pockets of the state.

It’s a big step in Florida’s redistricting process, but lawmakers still have much work to do. The full state Senate can vote to approve the maps as soon as next week. But the Florida House still has several maps to decide on after its own Thursday redistricting committee workshop where they discussed their proposals but took no formal vote or action.

Both the Senate and House will need to agree on congressional maps, but each chamber is responsible for drawing their own legislative maps, meaning legislators can’t finalize the process until the House narrows down its drafts.

On the congressional side, Florida gained just one seat in 2022 for a total of 28 districts. The Senate maps now include 16 seats won by former President Donald Trump using 2020 turnout numbers, and 12 won by President Joe Biden. Whether Florida’s House will go along with this general trajectory is not yet known. The lower chamber has congressional draft maps that are largely aligned with the Senate’s proposal and others that give Republicans much larger advantages.

The maps drawn by Senate Republicans have largely escaped partisan criticism from Democrats. But before the Senate redistricting committee’s Thursday vote, some groups criticized the drafts because they said they did not treat non-English speakers and racial minorities as fairly as they should have.

“We really appreciate the work you have done and we can see there have been efforts to comply with the law, but we are in a position where we think more should be done,” said Cecile Scoon, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida.

Her group, which was part of a landmark lawsuit in 2012 that overturned Florida congressional and state Senate maps during the last redistricting cycle, has raised concerns that the Legislature did not do a so-called “functional analysis” for Florida’s entire political map. That sort of analysis would take a district-by-district look at which seats should be protected and allow minority voters — most often Black or Latino voters — to elect a candidate of their preference.

Senate map-drawers relied on numbers from the last redistricting cycle to determine minority districts that must be upheld under Florida’s constitution, but the League of Women Voters of Florida argued a new analysis should have been done because of the state’s population growth.

Steven Mangual, with the advocacy group LatinoJusticePRLDEF, also testified before the committee that the Senate maps “dilute” the Latino vote, which has grown by 34 percent in Florida since 2010. The Senate maintains four congressional districts, mostly in South Florida, that protect Hispanic voters' ability to elect a candidate of their choosing, but Mangual says the status quo is not enough because of the surge in Florida’s Hispanic population.

He pointed specifically to a new congressional seat drawn in central Florida that is the result of Florida’s continued population growth. The region has seen an influx of new Hispanic residents, but the new congressional seat has a nearly 60 percent white voting age population.

“All configurations of the district proposed it as a white majority district,” Mangual told the committee. “Despite the fact that the population growth has overwhelmingly been driven by Latinos.”

Senate Committee on Reapportionment Chair Ray Rodrigues, an Estero Republican who was praised by Democrats for his smooth handling of the process, said the chamber’s map proposals are in compliance with federal law and Fair Districts, a set of anti-gerrymandering provisions in Florida’s constitution that include first-tier protections for racial and language minorities.

“I am 100 percent confident that we are fully compliant with federal requirements, constitutional requirements and state statutory requirements,” Rodrigues told reporters.

His committee also passed a draft rewrite of the Florida Senate maps that would give Republicans 23 seats compared to Democrat’s 17, once again solidifying the GOP’s majority status within the chamber. Historically, Democrats generally have had less resources than the Republican majorities and have failed to hold seats that on paper they should win, meaning that in practice the number of seats on the Florida Senate map for Democrats will be less than 17.

The maps did get bipartisan support, but a handful of Democrats opposed the plan.

Among those was state Sen. Audrey Gibson, a Black Jacksonville Democrat who said a newly-drawn Senate District 6, which covers the city’s urban core, should have been expanded. An amendment she filed would have “enfranchised” more Black voters by putting them in Senate District 6, which has a significantly higher Black voting age population than the surrounding Senate District 4, which is much whiter.

Her amendment did not pass, and got some attention from Sen. Aaron Bean, a Republican from the region who pushed back against Gibson’s implication the proposed Senate maps could disenfranchise Black voters.

“You use the word disenfranchise. I mean, that’s a powerful word,” Bean said. “That means we have taken away their vote, or somebody has taken away their vote. So, I want you to clarify that, that word disenfranchise.”

Gibson, who currently represents Senate District 6 but is facing term limits, did not waver from her contention that the maps could hurt Black voters.

“In terms of the ability for African Americans to select the candidate of their choice, the map as it currently is leaves several swaths of African American voters outside of the districts,” she said.

Before passing the Florida Senate draft maps, committee members also had to renumber the districts. The number is a key step in the process because it determines whether a district will be assigned a four-year or a two-year term. Each of Florida’s 160 legislative seats are on the ballot after the redistricting process, so staggered terms are selected to make sure that every member of the Legislature is not on the ballot each year moving forward.

Members in districts that are given an even number will not have to run again until 2026, while those with odd numbers will have to run again in 2024, which is considered a disadvantage because they will be on the ballot in two consecutive election cycles.

The numbering was done at random by Bean, a notoriously big personality who Rodrigues informally dubbed the “master of ceremonies,” selecting cards with “odd” or “even” written on them from a bowl during the committee meeting.

“To do this in a committee setting I think is wonderful because not only all of our eyes are upon the drawing of these cards, but all of Florida's eyes,” Bean said before the process began.

The House Redistricting Committee held another workshop Thursday, but did not signal which of its proposals it would send to the floor for final consideration.

House Speaker Chris Sprowls told reporters Tuesday that he expects maps to be on the floor in roughly two weeks.

Gary Fineout contributed to this report.

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

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