January 26, 2018
Florida House Passes Anti-Union HB 25
The Senate passed HB 25 on January 25. The substance of the bill requires public employee unions to decertify if their membership falls below 50% at the time for recertification. The bill passed by a vote of 65-41 mostly on a party-line vote with a single Republican no vote. That despite the fact we are a union of members who choose to participate – no one can be forced to join our union. Florida is a right-to-work state where union membership or payment of union dues cannot be compelled. The Florida Constitution gives employees the right to join a union to give them a strong voice regarding wages and working conditions. This measure would take away that right. The bill is also potentially unconstitutional as it exempts first responder unions and is a direct attack on UFF and FEA unions and displays strong gender bias since 75% of FEA members are women.
The Senate companion, SB 1036, by Senator Greg Steube is referred to three Senate committees and has not had a hearing. While that news is optimistic, contacts to your senator are critical now that HB 25 has passed the House. Call (855)235-2469 and enter your zip code to find your senator.
SB 540 Passes from Senate Appropriations Committee
This bill will remove state colleges from the oversight of the State Board of Education and establish a new State Board of Colleges. That was a result of an amendment that struck “Community” from the name of the new board. The bill also caps the number of 4-year programs at colleges. While the cap is not immediately problematic, the bill “corrects” non-existent problems in our college system which is considered one of the best in the nation. Repeated questions about what problem are we fixing with this bill were all left unanswered.
The House companion, HB 831, has not been heard by a House committee.
Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee Chairs Reveal Budget Proposals
House Chair Larry Ahern (R-Pinellas) and Senate Chair Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton) released the chair proposals this week. The College budgets differ by $25 million with the House having the highest number. While the Senate University budget exceeds the House by $372 million.
Both budget proposals provide less funding for colleges compared to the current year. The House university budget proposal is over $235 million less than this year while the Senate proposal is about $135 million more than the current year, mostly for an increase of $100 million in the flawed performance funding formula. Both proposals fail to meet the needs of our colleges and universities.
View the last update: January 12, 2018