Florida Chamber-Backed Education Bills Pass Full Legislature

Furthering Florida’s reputation as a leader in education, the Florida Legislature has passed several Florida Chamber-backed education bills this session.

A talented workforce is Florida’s best long-term economic strategy. By providing additional school choice options, quality teacher improvement programs, and ensuring that students can take advantage of customized learning options, the following bills will help Florida’s students continue to remain globally competitive in our 21st century economy:

  • HB 189, sponsored by Representative Manny Diaz and Senator Travis Hutson, creates an alternative, streamlined certification route for professional educators wanting to teach STEM subject courses. This new certification route allows Florida’s students greater opportunities for STEM involvement at earlier levels of learning, which will help to position Florida as a global leader in high-tech, high-wage job creation.
  • HB 837, sponsored by Representative Michael Bileca and Senator Kelli Stargel, will further a parents’ rights to choose the best education for their child. By making improvements to the John M. McKay Scholarship for Students with Disabilities Program, more students with disabilities will be able to take advantage of additional access to high quality education programs. This bill also includes improvements to Florida’s dual enrollment program for high school students, which helps to ensure students are career and college ready.
  • HB 1365, sponsored by Representative Ray Rodrigues and Senator Jeff Brandes, creates a Competency-Based Education Pilot Program, which will allow students to advance at their own pace based on their mastery of concepts and skills. The existing one-size-fits-all system of education is struggling to consistently meet the individual needs of each student. This legislation takes a step forward in reconsidering the status quo in order to equip them for success in the 21st century.

The Florida Chamber commends the Florida Legislature for their commitment to securing Florida’s educational future.

Rep. Rodrigues Joins Bottom Line on Hydraulic Fracturing, Education and More

“This is where the environmentalists have completely gotten it wrong.”

– Representative Ray Rodrigues (R-Fort Myers), Vice Chair of the House Finance and Tax Committee

Fighting for regulation certainty for job creators mean pushing back against the creation of a patchwork of local regulations across Florida’s counties. This legislative session, the Florida Chamber supported a bill that would provide regulatory certainty and updates to old statutes regarding regulation of oil and gas, specifically for efforts like hydraulic fracturing. But misinformation from environmental extremists derailed Florida opportunity to responsibly regulate these efforts.

“This is where the environmentalists have completely gotten it wrong,” said Rep. Rodrigues. “Under our existing statutes, a company can come in, apply for a conventional extraction permit, and then just make the decision they want to transfer over to an unconventional means. And all they have to do is provide DEP a workover notice, so DEP does not have the ability to go in and make the determination ‘this is a procedure we’re going to authorize you to do or not.’ Once they’ve issued that permit for conventional drilling- they’re permitted. So what this would have done would have been to ensure that these businesses that are going to engage in this activity were properly vetted, which we do not have now.”

Rep. Rodrigues also focused on Florida’s education reform efforts. The Florida Chamber believes a one-size-fits-all education system cannot cater to the abilities of each student and equip them for success in a global economy. Customized and personalized education opportunities can be found through Competency-Based Education Programs, a new pilot program working its way through the Florida Legislature, which will allow students to work at their own faster pace if needed.

“What we’ve done is we’ve moved away from a one-sized-fits-all model, and what we’re allowing now is a personalized education plan for each child, which will allow them to reach their potential and reach their potential more quickly,” said Rep. Rodrigues.