Legislative Updates, Jan. 20-24
Posted on 01/27/2020

General Information

This report contains pertinent information presented and discussed during the second week of the 2020 regular legislative session.

The House and Senate held meetings in both chambers, which consisted of legislative bills that were heard in committee meetings.

School Board Member Castor-Dentel, Gallo, Byrd, and Kobert visited members of our Orange County Legislative Delegation. OCPS board also met with legislators outside of the Orange County Legislative Delegation who serves on Appropriations and Education committees in the House and Senate. Please find the legislators below:


(Orange County Legislative Delegation)

·       District 30 Rep. Joy Goff-Marcil

·     District 31 Rep. Jennifer Sullivan

·     District 44 Rep. Geraldine Thompson

·     District 45 Rep. Kamia Brown

·     District 46 Rep. Bruce Antone

·     District 47 Rep. Anna V. Eskamani

·     District 48 Rep. Amy Mercado

·     District 49 Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith

·     District 50 Rep. Rene Plasencia

FLORIDA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES (Outside Orange County Legislative Delegation)

·     District 80 Rep. Byron Donalds

FLORIDA SENATE (Orange County Legislative Delegation)

·     District 11 Sen. Randolph Bracy  

·     District 13 Sen. Linda Stewart  

·     District 15 Sen. Victor Torres  

Please find the topics that Orange County School Board Members discuss with legislators and FLDOE below:

·       Teacher Pay

·       Restoring Capital Millage>

·       Stabilizing the Required Local Effort

·       Restoring the 2 mill


Senate Education Committee – Chair Senator Manny Diaz

SB 1246 by Sen. Stargel related to Dual Enrollment

SB 1246 modifies the dual enrollment and collegiate high school programs to ensure students have access to such programs, parents and legal guardians are informed of opportunities and responsibilities, and school districts and postsecondary institutions are provided financial support to offer dual enrollment opportunities to students.

The bill:

·       Modifies the dual enrollment program to increase access for students by specifying that:

o   School districts or Florida College System institutions may not deny an eligible student from participating in dual enrollment, and may not establish eligibility criteria in addition to those in law

o   Instructional materials are free-of-charge for students in private schools and home education programs

o   Private schools are exempt from the payment of tuition and fees for dual enrollment

·       Renames the “collegiate high school” to “early college” program and specifies requirements in the program contract and student performance contract

·       Establishes funding and financial incentives for school districts and postsecondary institutions by:

o   Creating the Dual Enrollment Scholarship Program in the Department of Education to reimburse eligible postsecondary institutions a specified amount for tuition and instructional materials for dual enrollment taken by private school and home education program students in the fall and spring term, and by all students in the summer term, subject to appropriation in the General Appropriations Act

o   Providing a full-time equivalent student membership bonus in the Florida Education Finance Program for students who complete general education core courses or an associate degree through dual enrollment, and requiring school districts to allocate half of such funds to support academic guidance and postsecondary readiness.

·       Establishes a requirement for the Commissioner of Education (commissioner) to report to the Governor and Legislature regarding the status of dual enrollment programs for public and private school and home education program students.

The bill passed the Senate Education Committee with 7 (Yeas) and 1 (Nay).


SB 132 by Sen. Braynon related to Sunshine Scholarship Program

The bill establishes the Sunshine Scholarship Program (scholarship), administered by the Department of Education, to provide funding for 100 percent of tuition and fees for Florida residents pursuing an associate degree or career certificate from a Florida College System institution or career center. The bill specifies that a student must repay the awarded amount if the student does not reside and work within the state for a specified period after program completion or disenrollment.

In order to be eligible to receive a scholarship, a student must:

·       Be a resident for tuition purposes

·       Meet the general requirements for student eligibility, except as otherwise provided;

·       Have a total annual household income equal to or less than $50,000;

·       Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid for each academic year in which the scholarship is sought;

·       Be accepted by and enroll in an eligible post-secondary institution; and

·       Maintain continuous enrollment as a full-time student while receiving the scholarship.

The bill requires that, in order to remain eligible for the scholarship, a student must maintain the equivalent of a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale while enrolled. The scholarship applies only to tuition and fees, with each recipient responsible for additional user fees, textbooks, and other college-related expenses.

Providing additional financial assistance to students from low-income families may provide greater opportunities for these students to pursue a post-secondary education.

The bill passed the Senate Education Committee favorably.


SB 132 by Sen. Baxley related to School Crossing Guards

The bill provides alternate training requirements for school crossing guards employed by a private school. The bill authorizes the local county sheriff to approve a private school crossing guard at specified locations if the school crossing guard successfully completes at least 8 hours of instruction in traffic control procedures through a program approved by the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission (CJST) or a similar program offered by the police or sheriff’s department within the county.

The bill also provides that a school crossing guard who completes the required instruction in traffic control procedures and is approved by the local sheriff:

·       May perform his or her duties without the immediate supervision of a fully qualified law enforcement officer

·       Is not required to meet the uniform minimum standards established by the CJST for law enforcement officers or auxiliary law enforcement officers.

The bill passed the Senate Education Committee favorably.


SB 866 by Sen. Diaz related to Florida Talent Development Council

The bill 6 requires the Florida Talent Development Council (FTDC) to submit a report with recommendations addressing the feasibility of establishing and implementing a Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) or similar program, in Florida. The report must be submitted to the Governor, President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Board of Governors, and State Board of Education by December 1, 2020.


The report must include, at a minimum, recommendations regarding the following:

·       A school model, for students to earn a high school diploma, an associate degree, and applicable industry certifications and work experience within 6 years of enrolling in 9th grade.

·       A funding model that ensures the P-TECH program is no cost to students.

·       Modification to the school and district accountability requirements.

·       An open enrollment policy that encourages a diverse student body.

·       Courses of study that support program completion in 4-6 years and meet regional workforce demand.

·       School governance and staffing recommendations.

·       Timelines and additional funding requirements for planning and launching a P-TECH school.

·       Seamless articulation with Florida post-secondary institutions.

·       Partnerships with industry and business to include private investment, work-based training, internships, and first-in-line job opportunities upon graduation.

·       A support model for student success.

The bill passed the Senate Education Committee favorably.


SB 918 by Sen. Brandes related to Civic Education

The bill authorizes the development and integration of a nonpartisan civic literacy practicum and the designation of a public school providing high-quality civic learning as a Freedom School.

Specifically, the bill requires:

·       The Commissioner of Education (commissioner) to develop minimum criteria for a nonpartisan civic literacy practicum that may be incorporated into a school’s curriculum for the high school United States Government course, along with a process for district school boards to verify student completion of the practicum.

·       School districts to include and accept nonpartisan civic literacy practicum activities and hours in requirements for academic awards.

·       The State Board of Education (SBE) to annually designate each public school in the state which provides students with high-quality civic learning, based on specified criteria, as a Freedom School.

The bill requires the commissioner to develop minimum criteria for a nonpartisan civic literacy practicum that may be incorporated into a school’s curriculum for the high school United States Government course required for high school graduation, beginning with the 2021-2022 school year. The bill also requires the commissioner to develop a process by which a district school board can verify that a student successfully completed a practicum meeting the required criteria, specifically:

·       The criteria must require a student to:

o   Identify a civic issue that impacts his or her community.

o   Rigorously research the issue from multiple perspectives and develop a plan for his or her personal involvement in addressing the issue.

o   Create a portfolio to evaluate and reflect upon his or her experience and the outcomes or likely outcomes of his or her involvement. A portfolio must, at a minimum, include research, evidence, and a written plan of involvement.

·       A civic literacy practicum must be:

o   Nonpartisan;

o   Focus on addressing at least one community issue; and

o   Promote a student’s ability to consider differing points of view and engage in civil discourse with individuals who hold an opposing opinion.

School districts are required to include and accept nonpartisan civic literacy practicum activities and hours in requirements for academic awards, especially those awards that currently include community service as a criterion or selection actor. The bill authorizes school districts to count the hours outside of classroom instruction a student devotes to the nonpartisan civic literacy practicum to implement his or her plan of involvement toward meeting the community service requirements of the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program.

The bill passed the Senate Education Committee favorably.


SB 1220 by Sen. Diaz related to Education

View the bill analysis.

The bill passed the Senate Education Committee with 6 (Yeas) and 2 (Nay).


SB 1420 by Sen. Flores related to Charter Schools

The bill revises provisions regarding charter school applications, employee and board member criminal history checks, and virtual instruction programs.

The bill:

·       Requires a sponsor to receive and consider a charter school application submitted at any time during the calendar year

·       Specifies a high-performing charter school may submit two applications to establish a new charter school to be opened at a time determined by the high-performing charter school, with conditions.

·       Authorizes a virtual charter school to provide part-time virtual instruction and contract with any public or charter school to provide any course the virtual school cannot otherwise provide.

The bill passed the Senate Education Committee with 6 (Yeas) and 2 (Nay).


SB 7040 by the Education Committee related to Implementation of the Recommendations of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission

The bill provides additional safeguards for Florida’s students and schools by building upon the school safety and security foundation established in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act and the recommendations of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission (commission).

The bill:

·       Improves school safety planning and reporting to require:

o   Each district school board to adopt a school district emergency event family reunification plan to reunite students and employees with their families in the event of an emergency.

o   The State Board of Education to establish emergency drill policies and procedures.

o   Comprehensive participation from all members of a school threat assessment team.

o   Law enforcement officers responsible for responding to the school in the event of an emergency to be on campus and directly involved in the execution of emergency drills.

o   Alignment of school-based diversion programs with local judicial circuit diversion programs.

o   Each district school board to adopt policies to ensure the accurate and timely reporting of all school safety and discipline incidents.

o   The Office of Safe Schools include in school safety specialist training information about federal and state reporting and data privacy laws.

·       Enhances the safe school officer position and the role of the county sheriff by:

o   Requiring school safety officers to complete mental health crisis intervention training.

o   Expanding the power of school safety officers to make arrests on property owned or leased by a charter school in the district.

o   Making the sheriff responsible for the provision of Feis guardian training and clarifying the training requirements applicable to such training.

·       Strengthens school mental health coordination and implementation and requires:

o   A workgroup to provide guidance on the implementation of mental health-related recommendations of the commission.

o   Additional reporting requirements for the mental health assistance allocation.

o   Individualized Education Plans to include additional provisions related to post-high school transition

·       Strengthens school safety oversight and accountability by directing the:

o   Commissioner of Education to enforce compliance with all school safety requirements.

o   OSS to coordinate compliance with school safety incident reporting.

o   FortifyFL reporting tool to notify users of consequences for false reporting

·       Expands representation on the commission to include superintendents, principals, or teachers.

The bill passed the Senate Education Committee favorably.


Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee – Chair Tom Lee

SB 290 by Sen. Hopper related to School Bus Safety

The bill increases the minimum civil penalty for failure to stop for a school bus from $100 to $200. For a subsequent offense within five years, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles must suspend the driver license of the driver for not less than 180 days and not more than one year instead of the current suspension of 90 days to 6 months.

The bill also increases the minimum civil penalty for passing a school bus on the side that children enter and exit, from $200 to $400. For a subsequent offense within five years, the DHSMV must suspend the driver license of the driver for not less than 360 days and not more than two years, instead of the current suspension of 180 days to 1 year.

The bill may have an indeterminate, positive fiscal impact on state and local government revenues as a result of increasing the civil penalties for failing to stop for a school bus and passing a stopped school bus. The DHSMV estimates an insignificant negative fiscal impact due to required programming and implementation costs.

The bill passed the Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee favorably.




House PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee - Chair Ralph Massullo

HB 23 by Rep. Daley related to Panic Alarms in Public Schools

The bill creates “Alyssa’s Law,” which requires that each public elementary, middle, and high school campus, including charter schools, be equipped with a panic alarm that can be activated by school employees from any building or location on campus. The alarm is for use in life-threatening emergency situations, including active shooter and hostage situations.

The bill requires that an activated panic alarm immediately transmit a signal or message reporting a life-threatening emergency situation to a PSAP that receives 911 calls to dispatch the appropriate public safety agencies to the school’s campus.

The bill requires panic alarms to be operable at the beginning with the 2021-2022 school year.

The bill passed the PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee favorably.


HB 157 by Rep. Sabatini related to Limitation on Terms of Office for Members of a District School Board

The House joint resolution proposes an amendment to the Florida Constitution that would prohibit a school board member from appearing on a ballot for reelection if, by the end of his or her current term of office, the member will have served, or would have served if not for resignation, in that office for 8 consecutive years. This proposal is similar to the term limits placed on elected state officials.

The proposed limitation would apply only to terms of office beginning on or after Nov. 3, 2020, and is prospective, so that school board members reelected to a consecutive term in 2020 could serve another consecutive 8 years before reaching the term limit.

Article XI, Section 1 of the Florida Constitution requires a joint resolution proposing a constitutional amendment be passed by three-fifths of the membership of each legislative house to be placed on the ballot.

Article XI, Section 5 of the Florida Constitution requires a proposed constitutional amendment be approved by at least sixty percent of those voting on the measure at a general election to amend the Florida Constitution. 

The proposed constitutional amendment will go into effect on November 3, 2020, if approved.

The bill passed the PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee with13 (Yeas) and 4 (Nay).


HB 883 by Rep. Duggan related to Education

The bill improves the processes by which educational personnel who commit sexual misconduct with a student would be prohibited from further contact with students. Additionally, the bill prohibits employment of such individuals in positions that have direct contact with students in public schools, charter schools, and private schools participating in the state scholarship program.

The bill prohibits employment of an individual at these schools if he or she was previously terminated or resigned in lieu of termination for sexual misconduct with a student. If the prohibited conduct occurs while employed, the bill creates a duty on the employer to report the employee and the disqualifying circumstance to the Department of Education for inclusion on the disqualification list, as described below. Additionally, the bill provides a process for removing individuals from the DQ list.

The bill requires the DOE to maintain the DQ list to prohibit individuals who have committed sexual misconduct with a student from being employed. When an employee separates from employment due to termination or resignation in lieu of termination, the bill requires execution of an affidavit-of-separation explaining the facts and reasons for the separation. The affidavit must disclose when the separation is due to sexual misconduct with a student. Before employing an individual in any position that requires direct contact with students, the bill requires the employment history check to include a review of each affidavit of separation from the applicant’s previous employers.

The bill requires the commissioner to find probable cause within 60 days after receiving a legally sufficient complaint that involves sexual misconduct by any certificateholder (i.e. teachers and administrators). Upon receiving a notification from an employer that the subject of a legally sufficient complaint resigns or is terminated before the conclusion of the investigation, the bill requires the DOE to place the person on the DQ list.

The bill adds charter schools and private schools to those educational entities law enforcement is required to notify when an employee is charged with a felony or misdemeanor involving the abuse of a minor child or the sale or possession of a controlled substance within 48 hours of the arrest.

The bill passed the PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee favorably.


House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee – Chair Randy Fine

HB 725 by Rep. Robinson related to Workforce Education

This bill amends s. 1011.80, F.S., to authorize a school district career center to conduct an associate in applied science or an associate in science nursing degree program if the career center offering the associate in science nursing degree program offers it only to graduates of a licensed practical nursing program offered by the same center.

The bill passed the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee favorably.


House Education Committee – Chair Jennifer Sullivan

HB 641 by Rep. Plasencia related to Funds for the Operation of Schools

The bill provides for school districts to receive additional funding through the Florida Education Finance Program for each student who receives an AP Capstone Diploma in addition to a standard high school diploma.

The Advanced Placement Capstone Diploma is a program offered by the College Board and is based on two year-long AP courses: AP Seminar and AP Research. These courses are designed to develop a student’s skills in critical thinking, independent research, collaborative teamwork, and communication. The courses complement other AP courses the student may take. Students who earn a score of 3 or higher on four additional AP exams of their choosing, receive the AP Capstone Diploma. The AP Capstone Diploma program signifies that a student has completed a certain set of requirements in high school to earn an advanced diploma in addition to the standard high school diploma.

The bill passed the Education Committee favorably.


HB 1059 by Rep. Grall related to Parental Rights

The bill creates Chapter 1014, Florida Statutes, as the “Parents’ Bill of Rights.” Chapter 1014, F.S., enumerates rights of a parent with respect to his or her minor child for education, health care, and criminal justice procedures. The bill prohibits the state, its political subdivision, any other governmental entity or any other institution from infringing upon the fundamental right of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, health care, and mental health of his or her minor child. The bill requires state action that infringes upon this fundamental right to be reviewed according to strict scrutiny.

The bill passed the Education Committee with 15 (Yeas) and 2 (Nays).


HB 7011 by PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee related to K-12 Student Athletes

The bill requires all athletic coaches and sponsors of extracurricular activities involving outdoor practices or events to complete annual training in EHS identification, prevention, and response, including effective administration of cooling zones. 

Beginning June 1, 2021, the bill requires an employee or volunteer with current cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) training to be present at each athletic activity during and outside of the school year. All employees or volunteers who are reasonably expected to use an AED must complete the training and must be notified annually of the location of each AED on school grounds, which must be available in a clearly marked and publicized location for each athletic activity.

 The bill requires the Florida High School Athletic Association to:

·       require member schools to monitor heat stress and modify athletic activities (i.e., contests, practices, workouts, and conditioning) based on heat stress guidelines;

·       identify heat stress levels at which a cooling zone must be made available for athletic activities;

·       make training and materials available for the effective monitoring of heat stress;

·       establish requirements for cooling zones and individuals with related training at athletic activities, including the use of cold water immersion tubs or equivalent means;

·       require school emergency action plans to include a procedure for onsite cooling using cold water immersion or equivalent means before transport to the hospital for EHS;

·       establish hydration guidelines, including appropriate introduction of electrolytes; and

·       require student athletes to pass the annual medical evaluation each year before engaging in any athletic activities that occur outside of the school year.

The bill specifies that these requirements apply year round.

The bill passed the Education Committee favorably.