- You can follow the progress of higher education bills through the state legislature by signing up on the Legislative Tracking System at MyFloridaHouse.gov.
- Find Your Representative here. Use the Bill Finder to read the content of the bills. Remember to use your home e-mail accounts to contact your state legislators.
- Tips on how to communicate with legislators.
HB25 Passes House: January 25th, 2018
The House of Representatives passed HB 25 on January 25th on a mostly party-line vote.
Under the bill, FL HB25 (18R), public-sector unions that see their total dues-paying membership fall below half of those eligible would be forced to petition the Public Employee Relations Commission for recertification.
The bill would exempt unions that represent police officers, prison guards and firefighters.
Bill sponsor Scott Plakon (R-Longwood) has argued his proposal would make unions more responsive, transparent and accountable.
Florida is a right-to-work state where union membership or payment of union dues cannot be compelled.
HB 25 flyer (pdf)
Florida Senate Passes Higher Education Act and Expands Bright Futures: January 12, 2018
By a unanimous vote, the Senate passed SB 4 on January 11. The substance of the bill is explained in the Senate Appropriations staff analysis below. UFF concerns are over the university block tuition plans to be adopted by boards of trustees. Note: This is not the college legislation where UFF has significant concerns. More on that in the next report.
From Senate analysis of SB 4
CS/SB 4 establishes the “Florida Excellence in Higher Education Act of 2018” to expand financial aid provisions and incentivize postsecondary institutions to emphasize on-time graduation. The bill also expands policy and funding options for state universities to recruit and retain exemplary faculty and enhance the quality of professional and graduate schools. Specifically, the bill:
- Increases student financial aid and tuition assistance programs in the following ways:
- Expands the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program Academic Scholars (FAS) award to cover 100 percent of tuition and specified fees plus $300 per semester for textbooks, and authorizes use of the award for summer term enrollment as funded by the Legislature.
- Expands the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program Medallion Scholars (FMS) award to an amount equal to 75 percent of tuition and specified fees to pay for educational expenses, and authorizes use of the award for summer term enrollment, beginning in 2019, as funded by the Legislature.
- Extends the Benacquisto Scholarship Program to eligible students from out of state.
- Revises the state-to-private match requirements for contributions to the First Generation Matching Grant Program from 1:1 to 2:1.
- Establishes the Florida Farmworker Student Scholarship Program for farmworkers and the children of farmworkers.
- Requires each state university board of trustees to adopt, for implementation in the fall 2018 semester, a block tuition policy for full-time, first-time-in-college students.
- Modifies state university performance accountability metrics to promote on-time student graduation in 4 years.
- Establishes the World Class Faculty and Scholar Program to fund and support the efforts of state universities to recruit and retain exemplary faculty and research scholars.
- Establishes the State University Professional and Graduate Degree Excellence Program to enhance the quality of professional and graduate schools and degree programs in medicine, law, and business.
- Requires state universities to use data-driven gap analyses to identify internship opportunities in high-demand fields for students.
- Strengthens accountability of state university direct-support organizations.
The bill appropriates $129.3 million in recurring funds from the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund (EETF) and $1.7 million in recurring funds from the General Revenue Fund for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. From the appropriated EETF funds, $98.7 million is for Bright Futures awards, $27.6 million is for 2019 FMS summer term awards, and $3 million is for 2019 FAS summer term awards. From the appropriated General Revenue funds, $1.2 million is for the expansion of the Benacquisto Scholarship Program to students from out of state, and $500,000 is for the Florida Farmworker Student Scholarship Program.
The fiscal impacts relating to the World Class Faculty and Scholar and State University Professional and Graduate Degree Excellence programs are contingent upon appropriations provided by the Legislature.
The bill takes effect upon becoming a law.
HB 11 / SB 1292 Florida State Legislature: March 2017
HB 11 was on the floor of the Florida House of Representatives, March 29th, for consideration on second reading and final debate and vote, March 30th. Passed.
HB 11 requires that each certified bargaining unit of a registered employee organization must provide the number of eligible employees for union membership and the number of dues paying members.
If the certified bargaining unit dues paying membership is less than 50%, that bargaining unit must petition PERC for recertification as the exclusive bargaining representative within one month after the date on which the bargaining unit applied for renewal. Application for PERC recertification requires either voluntary recognition of the union by the employer or petition to PERC for recertification upon submission of call for union representation election cards from at least 30% of the full bargaining unit. Then an election would be held through PERC for recertification of the bargaining unit.
If passed, faculty may lose the legally-binding protections of a collective bargaining agreement and the legal power to enforce provisions regarding hiring, firing, promotion, our 3-year rolling contracts, grievance procedure, academic freedom and more.