Florida’s 2024 Legislative Session

Florida’s 2024 Legislative Session began on Tuesday, January 9. State senators and representatives will convene for 60 days before adjourning on Friday, March 8. The week of February 5 marks the halfway point of session and below are some bills to watch that have moved in the legislative process, since FCAN published the Legislative Session Preview.

1. SB 7032 & HB 7051: Education

Sponsored By: Senator Erin Grall (R – 29) and Representative Lauren Melo (R – 82)

Overview: Creates the Graduation Alternative to Traditional Education (GATE) Program, GATE Scholarship Program, and GATE Student Success Incentive Fund to provide individuals ages 16 to 21 who have discontinued school enrollment the opportunity to earn postsecondary course credits at no cost while pursuing the completion of a standard high school diploma or equivalent credential.

Both bills passed their first committees unanimously.

2. SB 240 & HB 667: International Baccalaureate (IB) Teacher Bonuses

Sponsored By: Senator Colleen Burton (R – 12) and Representative Fiona McFarland (R – 73)

Overview: Revises the requirements for bonuses based on IB exam scores for IB teachers, to include students who earn equivalent scores as determined by the Department of Education.

The Senate version has been heard in its first two committee meetings and has one hearing left in Senate Appropriations. The House version has not been heard yet.

3. SB 460 & HB 917: Career and Technical Education

Sponsored By: Senator Corey Simon (R – 3) and Representative John Snyder (R – 86)

Overview: Providing an exemption for minors to work in specified conditions; providing an alternative to career fairs through other career and industry networking opportunities; revising a list of individuals who are required to review and comment on certain revisions to the state academic standards; revising the requirements for certain credits and certifications to meet specified graduation requirements, creates the Career and Technical Education Task Force, etc.

Both versions have passed their first committee meetings and have two hearings left.

4. SB 62 & HB 767: Resident Status for Tuition Purposes

Sponsored By: Senator Rosalind Osgood (D – 32) and Representative Jervonte Edmonds (D – 88)

Overview: Provides that individual who has been incarcerated or released from incarceration within specified period may use expired documentation to establish residency for tuition purposes and provides that person may not lose his or her resident status for tuition purposes due to incarceration.

The House bill was heard in its first committee meeting and has two hearings left. The Senate version has not been heard yet.

5. SB 1596 & HB 49: Employment and Curfew of Minors

Sponsored By: Senator Danny Burgess (R – 23) and Representative Linda Chaney (R – 61)

Overview: Would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to work the same number of hours as an 18-year-old.

The House bill has been heard in all its committees and is scheduled to be heard on the House Chamber Floor on Thursday, February 1. The Senate version passed its first committee hearing. FCAN released a statement on HB 49 in December 2023, before the Senate bill was filed.

Budget Comparisons

In December 2023, Governor DeSantis released his budget recommendations for the 2024-2025 fiscal year. The Legislature has budgetary authority so while they can consider these recommendations, they do not have to abide by them. During the third week of session (1/22 – 1/26), each of the appropriations chairs released their recommendations for their budget silo (ex. education, healthcare, transportation, etc.). Below are some highlights of the Senate and House higher education recommendations compared with the Governor’s recommendations under the Focus on Florida’s Future budget. While it is still early in the budget process, the Governor has noted he would like to cut down on about $4.6 billion in spending, based on the current fiscal year’s budget.

Governor DeSantis’ Higher Education Recommendations

  • State University System: $3.7 billion
    • $645 million for performance-based funding
  • Florida College System: $1.7 billion
  • Workforce education*: $704.8 billion

Senate Higher Education Budget

  • State University System: $6.5 billion
    • $645 million for performance-based funding
  • Florida College System: $2.4 billion
  • Workforce education*: $639.3 million

House Higher Education Budget

  • State University System: $4.3 billion
    • $645 million for performance-based funding
  • Florida College System: $1.8 billion
  • Workforce education*: $641 million

*The workforce education funding that is referenced is for the specific workforce education portion of the budget, but does not include all workforce education funding, such as initiatives that fall under the colleges and universities.

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