AFC Hosts Legislative Update, Impact on Higher Education Bills Revealed

AFC Hosts Legislative Update, Impact on Higher Education Bills Revealed

Santa Fe College's Clock Tower on the Northwest Campus.

May 2, 2024 – Santa Fe College’s chapter of the Association of Florida Colleges (AFC) hosted a legislative update last Friday. Liam McClay, Vice President of Public and Governmental Affairs at Santa Fe College, presented the update and how it could impact the college community. 

Higher education bills approved by the Governor include:

SB 7016 – Health Care

  • Revises purposes and eligibility for Dental Student Loan Repayment and Florida Reimbursement Assistance for Medical Education Programs.
  • Expands LINE program (Linking Industry to Nursing Education) to provide funding to eligible high-performing independent colleges and universities. Institutions must have at least a 75% NCLEX pass rate.
  • Creates the Training, Education, and Clinicals in Health (TEACH) Funding Program to increase number of healthcare practitioners while also providing care to underserved populations.

HB 931 – School Chaplains

  • Authorizes school districts and charter schools to adopt policies allowing volunteer school chaplains to offer support and services to students.

SB 832 – Employment of Individuals with Disabilities

  • Adds data sharing responsibilities under the Employment First Act to address employment opportunities for Floridians with disabilities.
  • Mandates the identification of accountability measures that focus on increasing competitive integrated employment and decreasing the number of individuals working in minimum wage jobs.

HB 49 – Employment

  • Allows minor 15 and under to work up to 15 hours a week during school periods and 16- and 17-year-olds to work up to 30 hours a week.
  • Gives parents, guardians, or a school superintendent the opportunity to waive requirement on behalf of the student.
  • Mandates breaks for minors working over 4 continuous hours and specifies penalties for employers who violate this section.

HB 151 – Florida Retirement System

  • Allows FRS retirees to be employed by non-participating employers without affecting their retirement benefits.
  • Authorizes an FRS retiree to be reemployed with an FCS employer and receive both compensation and retirement benefits, after meeting definition of termination, thus eliminating the “suspension of benefits” period (7-12 months).
  • Prohibits new participants in the Florida Retirement System Preservation of Benefits Plan from July 1, 2026.

HB 7007 – OGSR/Campus Emergency Response

  • Eliminates the scheduled repeal of the public records and meetings exemption that enhances confidentiality measures for campus emergency response plans regarding acts of terrorism or other public safety crises at public postsecondary institutions.

HB 1285 – Education

  • Creates the Office of the Ocean Economy at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) to connect Florida’s oceanic resources to economic development strategies and opportunities.
    • Will partner with SUS, FCS, and private institutions for research, educating other state and local groups on the benefits of the ocean economy, and providing a yearly report to the legislature on the development of related emerging industries.
  • Creates a new Associate in Arts Specialized Transfer Degree for AA programs that may require additional coursework (STEM) prior to transferring to a baccalaureate program.
    • Must include at least 60 credit hours.
    • Interested FCS institutions must submit a notice of intent to DOE, describe the rationale, and will receive notification of approval within 45 days.
  • School districts and charter schools must provide junior and seniors with the opportunity to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) during the school day and the chance to meet with a military recruiter.
  • Public postsecondary institutions cannot prevent current or prospective students from being employed, either part- or full-time.
  • District school boards must make efforts to enter into dual enrollment articulation agreements with an FCS institution that offers these courses online.

Be Informed

The State dictates when these bills take effect. Stay up to date with how the bills affect Santa Fe College at