With less than two weeks left in the Session, today is the last day for regularly scheduled committee meetings – the remaining days of the session will be spent working on bills in floor Session or working on the budget in Conference Committee meetings. This afternoon, the chambers came to an agreement on the total allocations for each budget category (i.e. how much will the state allocate to education, health and human services, general government, etc). As a result, members of the Conference Committees will be named later today and an orientation meeting for all Conferees is scheduled for 7:00 this evening – we will report to you tomorrow on the membership of the Conference Committees and any other pertinent information from tonight’s meeting. As we have pointed out in previous Updates, there are only a few differences between the House and Senate K-12 education budgets and we expect the education budget Conference Committee to come to terms relatively quickly. You may access our side-by-side comparison of the House and Senate education budget proposals at: http://www.fsba.org/userfiles/File/Comparison.12-13vs.House&Senate.2.23.12.pdf <http://www.fsba.org/userfiles/File/Comparison.12-13vs.House&Senate.2.23.12.pdf> .
With regard to bills to be considered on the floor, a couple of points to keep in mind:
• Bills that are on 2nd Reading are usually not considered until they are placed on the Special Order Calendar -- many bills on 2nd Reading never make it onto the Special Order Calendar. For those that do make it onto the Special Order calendar, if the chamber fails to consider all of the bills on its Special Order Calendar during the day, the bills are usually placed on the Special Order Calendar for the next day.
• Bills that are on 3rd Reading are placed on a separate calendar, usually in chronological order of when they received 2nd Reading. It is typical for a chamber to set aside its Special Order Calendar and take up bills on 3rd Reading without any particular notice.
• Once a bill has passed one chamber, it is sent -- “In Messages” -- to the other chamber for consideration. When the other chamber receives the bill, they may suspend other work and take up the bill that has arrived. Often, the bill’s companion will be called up as well – even if it is not on 2nd or 3rd Reading.
• When a bill is amended on the floor, it is ordered “Engrossed” -- which means that the text of the bill is rewritten to reflect the amendment. If the bill is amended on 2nd Reading, the result is called “1st Engrossed” (i.e. engrossed for the first time); if it is amended on 3rd Reading, the result is called “2nd Engrossed” (i.e. engrossed for the second time).
• In order for a bill to pass the legislature and be enacted into law, both chambers must pass EXACTLY THE SAME bill. It is common for a bill that has passed one chamber to be amended in the other chamber and sent back to the first chamber for further consideration.
• When a bill has passed both chambers, it is ordered “Enrolled” – which means that it is to be signed by the officers of each chamber and sent to the governor for approval or veto.
We have updated our main Bill Tracking List to include only those education related bills that we believe are still viable for passage during this session – this narrowed down our main Tracking List from more than 500 bills to a mere 150+/-. We will continue to keep an eye on the bills that we have taken off our main Tracking List -- and will let you know if any of these “dead” bills come back to life -- but our focus will be more on those bills that are moving. You may access our revised Tracking List at: http://www.fsba.org/userfiles/File/TrackingList.2.24.12.pdf <http://www.fsba.org/userfiles/File/TrackingList.2.24.12.pdf> .
The State Board of Education met today to consider, among other things, revisions to the Rule that governs the calculation of school grades. The proposed Rule revision has been the subject of controversy because it is likely to result in many more schools receiving D’s and F’s and becoming subject to state interventions. Joy Frank, general counsel for FADSS, has written an excellent summary of events at today’s meeting. You may access Ms. Frank’s summary, along with related background materials on the FSBA website at http://www.fsba.org/briefsupdates.asp#schoolgrades <http://www.fsba.org/briefsupdates.asp#schoolgrades> .
In the Senate Session:
SB 268 <http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2012/0268> – Sponsorship of State Greenways & Trails by Wise – READ 2ND TIME Providing for the Department of Environmental Protection to enter into concession agreements for commercial sponsorship displays to be displayed on certain state greenway and trail facilities or property; specifying which greenways and trails may be included in the sponsorship program; providing for distribution of proceeds from the concession agreements, etc.