SECRET JOB SEARCHES
SB 182 by Senator Alan Hays bill that would provide exemptions to Florida’s Sunshine Law as it pertains to president and provost searches has been temporarily postponed twice in the Rules Committee and has not been scheduled for the April 15th meeting. This is good news for now but there are three weeks remaining in this session. Sine die, the 60th and last day of Regular Session, is scheduled for Friday, May 1st.
UFF opposes this legislation and its companion measure in the House of Representatives, HB 223 by Representative Combee. HB 223 has passed all its committee assignments and is on the Second Reading Calendar. That means it is eligible for placement on the Special Order Calendar for consideration and passage.
To become law, a bill must pass both houses and be signed by the Governor or the Governor may choose to let the bill become law without his signature.
GUNS ON CAMPUS
HB 4005 by Rep. Greg Steube/SB 176 by Senator Greg Evers would allow carrying of concealed weapons on college and university campuses.
Note: These bills are opposed by UFF, the Florida Board of Governors, University Presidents, University Police Chiefs, the League of Women Voters and at least 14 Florida newspapers!
SB 176 is scheduled next for the Senate Judiciary Committee but is not on the committee agenda for the second straight week. The News Service of Florida has reported that Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla stated, “I’ve polled the members of the Senate, and there doesn’t seem to be too much support for that bill.” We continue to work to make sure that is true and that we can defeat this poorly conceived NRA initiative.
HB 4005 has also cleared its three committee assignments and is on the Second Reading Calendar. That means it is eligible for placement on the Special Order Calendar for consideration and passage.
We still understand that NRA advocates have filed ethics complaints against the police chiefs and several UFF members who have appeared or turned in appearance cards in opposition to these two bills. Their complaint stems around the rights of our members to appear before a committee on their own time. UFF will defend their rights and your rights to do so!
TEXTBOOK AND POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION AFFORDABILITY
The textbook and postsecondary affordability language, contained in SB 938, has been combined into SB 948which has become a bill containing what was previously several standalone K-12 and postsecondary bills. HB 7125remains a standalone bill addressing the Governor’s affordability package.
UFF concerns about having textbooks available for at least three years has been removed from both bills. There are still concerns with language relating to the timeline for instructors posting textbook information online. Current law says it must be 30 days prior to the first day of class for each term. An amendment to HB 7125 which would have moved the date to within 15 days of receiving an instructional assignment was withdrawn from consideration in the House Education Committee after testimony from UFF. Since that time, a meeting with the Governor’s Office and stakeholders has been scheduled to resolve the issue.
FLORIDA COLLEGE SYSTEM – NAME CHANGES AND 4 YEAR PROGRAMS
CS/SB 1252 by Senator Stargel and the Higher Education Committee
This legislation reignites the issue of 4-year programs within the Florida College System. The bill renames 17 colleges and creates a one-year process for approving new four-year degrees at community colleges. The bill says no more than 5 percent of students can be pursuing baccalaureate degrees at any given time at the college institutions which was an amendment offered by Senator Negron that became the key element of the bill.
The bill also requires any new baccalaureate programs cost students $10,000 or less, mirroring a Gov. Rick Scott initiative. The bill also returns the word “community” to the Florida College System name and makes it clear that the state’s 28 colleges are to have a regional workforce mission.
The bill was to be heard last week in the Senate Education Appropriations Committee but was temporarily postponed. There were several amendments which offered compromise regarding names of colleges and the cap issue.