This session, a total of 1,736 bills have been filed. The bill filing deadline for both chambers was noon, Tuesday, March 7th. Budget requests for House local projects number 2,333 totaling more than $770 million while in the Senate, over 1,450 requests have been filed with a potential total cost of $2.76 billion.
K-12 EDUCATION Bills have been filed to-date that address education issues this session include:
- Limiting school board terms to eight years; proposing a constitutional amendment to make school board races partisan
- Allowing for members of the Florida High School Athletic Association Board to be appointed by the Governor
- Setting a later start time for K-12 public middle and high school
- Requiring that certain topics be taught such as African-American history, the history of the Holocaust, history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, anti-drug instruction and social media safety
- Banning the use of social media platforms on schools devices
- Preventing the use of gender identification pronouns; bans on sexual orientation and gender identity topics in schools from grades K-8 (which is an expansion in the grade levels from last year’s Parental Rights in Education bill)
SCHOOL CHOICE A priority of House Speaker Renner, state-funded vouchers would be available to all Florida students eligible to enroll in K-12. Parents would receive a “empowerment savings account” that may be used for private school tuition, tutoring, fees for testing, instructional materials, internet access, etc. The effect is that parents may mix and match public and private schooling to suit their desires for their children.
HIGHER EDUCATION A broad selection of higher education bills address the following issues: tenure for professors; elimination of certain majors, such as gender studies; greater input by governing boards on faculty hiring decisions; ending diversity, equity and inclusion on campuses; funding of the Hamilton College for Classical and Civic Education at the University of Florida; mission statement review of each state university; and the creation of an Office of Public Policy Events whose task will be regulation of who can speak at state colleges and universities.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING A priority of Senate President Passidomo is legislation that would attempt to increase affordable workforce housing in the state. The Senate’s comprehensive plan (which has passed all its committee references) includes:
- Increased funding for housing programs
- Redirecting documentary stamp funding from general revenue to workforce housing
- Incentivizing innovation and renovation of older properties
- Supporting Homeownership for Hometown Heroes
- Increasing community contribution tax credit program limits
- Creating a sales tax refund for building materials
- Providing assistance for workforce housing projects in the pipeline
- Authorizing local option property tax exemption for lower-income Floridians
- Prohibiting government-mandated rent controls
- Encouraging use of public property for affordable housing