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Bills We’re Watching

A closer look at the issues facing our members and public schools, colleges and universities

During the 2021 legislative session, issues impacting Florida’s students, educators and public education will once again be at the forefront. You can see FEA’s legislative priorities and agenda here.

As we fight for that agenda, we’ll keep track of the issues that matter most to you right here in one convenient place. Click on bill numbers to find out more information regarding the bill.

With the legislative session officially starting on Tuesday, March 2nd, there will certainly be bills added to this list below. Please check back often.

If you would like to learn how to track a bill and get updates as it moves through session, read Becoming An Informed Advocate (PDF 1.1 MB), a FEA primer on monitoring bills.

The list of bills below was updated on February 26, 2021.

Accountability and Testing

  • SB 886 would pause certain punitive consequences  associated with standardized tests administered during the 2020-21 school year. Tests administered for the current school year would be prohibited from use in teacher evaluations, 3rd grade retention or high school graduation. Additionally, no school would be required to implement a turnaround option based on test scores from the 2020-21 school year.

Education Funding

  • SB 84 would destabilize the Florida Retirement System and hinder recruitment and retention by eliminating the pension option for new FRS members, forcing all new hire into a 401(k)-style retirement plan.
  • HB 865 returns local control to decisions about salary schedules which will allow your union to negotiate for fair salaries for all employees and to fix the issues of salary compression that have been resulted from state mandates regarding salaries and raises. 
  • SB 1310 restores the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for the Florida Retirement System that was removed as part of austerity measures in 2011.

Charter and Voucher Expansion

  • SB 48 continues a decades long expansion of voucher programs at the expense of public schools.

Attacks on Members’ Rights

  • SB 78/HB947 places a burden on workers who want to remain a member of their unions. Among other things, the bill would require every member to rejoin their union at least every three years and would put the employer in charge of the dues authorization process for the first time in history.
  • SB 1014/HB 835 specifically targets higher education unions by requiring 50% membership or face decertification. As if that was not enough, this bill also incorporates elements of SB 78 requiring all members of education unions, and only education unions, to rejoin annually. Further, the bill takes away the freedom of educators to have union dues deducted from their paycheck. 

Higher Education

  • SB 220 would remove current public records requirements from searches for university presidents.
  • SB 264/HB 233 attacks academic freedom by instituting “intellectual diversity” surveys. The bill also allows students to record inside college and university classrooms without consent from faculty of their fellow classmates.

Local Control

  • SB 1782 restores local control to the length of teacher contracts and would allow districts to offer multi-year contracts of up the three years.
 

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