Text of the Bill and a Brief Summary
HB 151 (full text) and SB 242 (full text) restore the 3% cost of living adjustment to the Florida Retirement System pension plan. This well help to accomplish one of FEA’s session priorities by enhancing FRS benefits and providing public educators with a more secure and stable retirement.
- HB 151 has passed the House.
- Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee. It has not yet been placed on the agenda.
Florida’s parents have been clear they want their children to have high-quality, professionally trained and certified teachers. Yet the legislature does not provide teachers a living wage, affordable healthcare and a stable and secure retirement. By restoring the cost-of-living adjustment to the Florida Retirement System (FRS), HB 151 takes a step in the right direction by making Florida a more attractive place to stay a teacher.
- The FRS is vital to the state and its local economies. Pension benefits generate a significant amount of economic activity in Florida. These dollars earned by retirees go back into our economy, paying for food, clothing, and housing. Retirement benefits create and support thousands of jobs across all Florida communities.
- The National Institute on Retirement Security estimates every $1.00 ‘invested’ by Florida taxpayers in retirement plans supports $4.47 in total economic output. With retirement benefits for public employees representing less than 2½ percent of state and local budgets in Florida, it is a small investment with an oversized impact.
- After a lifetime of serving the public, educators deserve to live in dignity when they retire. This small cost of living adjustment will help to make sure retired educators are able to afford to live independently and enjoy their retirement without having to seek out employment in their golden years.
- Florida not only leads the nation in number of retired persons, it also has a greater share of retired persons living in poverty than the national average—it is time to end this national shame. One way to do so is to ensure that educators who have dedicate their live to helping Florida and Florida’s children have at least a minimal cost of living adjustment.
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SB 7002 (full text) is one of three bills proposed by the Senate PreK-12 Education Committee that focuses on deregulation of public schools. The focus for SB 7002 is on regulations regarding finance, facilities and oversight.
- For districts who are out of compliance with class size laws, this bill removes the requirement for school districts to develop a plan listing the specific actions they will take to get into compliance. (Line 647)
- Allowing school districts to decide if it is necessary to make up days lost to hurricanes or other emergencies. Currently, that power rests with the State Board of Education. (Line 913)
- Revises the requirements allowing students to carry essential medical supplies at school with simpler prescription and parent approval processes. (Line 445, Line 455, Line 505, Line 542)
- 8-0: Senate PreK-12 Education Committee, 11-15-23 (Senators Osgood and Yarborough both had excused absences from the meeting.)
SB 7002 has been referred to the Fiscal Policy Committee for what will likely be its final committee stop before heading for a vote in the full Senate.
The bill could be heard in the Fiscal Policy Committee as soon as Dec. 5. We’ll know by Nov. 28 if the bill is placed on the agenda for the Dec. 5 meeting.