Legislative Report, Jan. 25-29, 2021
Posted on 02/01/2021

General Information

This report contains pertinent information presented and discussed during the second interim committee week of the 2021 legislative session. Both the House and Senate held meetings to discuss issues that may be addressed by the Legislature during the 2021 Legislative Session.

Senate Chamber

Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, the Senate Judiciary Committee held its meeting where they considered SB 72 Civil Liability for Damages Related to COVID-19. Like its companion, HB 7, this bill would provide some tort liability protections for businesses and government entities, including school districts, related to potential COVID-19 claims. It passed the subcommittee with a vote of 7-4 along party lines and will now head to the Commerce and Tourism Committee.
Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, the Senate Education Committee held its meeting and several higher education bills were considered. In addition presentations were made on the alignment between postsecondary education and labor market demand.
Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, the Senate Government Oversight and Accountability Committee held its meeting during which SB 78, Dues and Uniform Assessments was considered. This bill would require a public employee wanting to join a union to submit a signed membership authorization form that includes a specific statutory notice. The bill also requires a public employee to submit a signed dues deduction form before an employer may deduct union dues from an employee’s pay. The employer must confirm with the employee that the employee authorized the deduction. Such authorization to deduct ends automatically when the members of the employee organization ratify a new collective bargaining agreement or after three (3) years, whichever occurs earlier. It passed the Committee 4-2 along party lines and is scheduled to be heard before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Feb. 1, 2021.
Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, the Senate Select Committee on Pandemic Preparation and Response held its meeting. The director of the Florida Department of Emergency Management, Jared Moskowitz, gave an update on the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines by the federal government and the State of Florida. During his presentation Director Moskowitz emphasized that sufficient supply is the main factor that has slowed down the vaccination process in the country. He also addressed the issue of “vaccine tourism” and described measures added by the State to address it. The presentation materials can be found here. The video of the meeting can be seen here.

House Chamber

Tuesday, Jan.26, 2021, the House Education & Employment Committee held its meeting. A presentations on comprehensive, coordinated workforce and education systems that respond to the rapidly changing needs of the workforce was made.
The House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee held a budget workshop  Wednesday, Jan, 27, 2021.  Chair Fine provided an overview of the budget process and the members conducted introductions.


Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, the Governor unveiled his budget. The budget includes an increase of $50 million from the current year’s funding to continue raising the minimum K-12 teacher salary to $47,500, as well as the salaries of other instructional personnel.
In addition, it includes $22.8 billion in total funding and $12.9 billion in state funding for K-12 public schools. This amount would bring K-12 per-student funding to $8,019, exceeding the current year’s funding by $233 per student.
The budget also includes an increase from the current year’s funding of $10 million for mental health programs in Florida’s schools.

Coming up

SB 48, Educational Scholarship Programs is scheduled to be heard during the Senate Education Committee Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. This bill contains various provisions related to Florida’s voucher programs and how they are operated.