In the state Capitol, you know legislation is big --- and usually controversial --- if it becomes known simply by the shorthand of its bill number. And when then-House Speaker Richard Corcoran pushed through HB 7069 during the 2017 legislative session, it was a bombshell for the education system.
The mammoth bill included numerous changes, but drawing the most controversy were pieces aimed at boosting charter schools. In part, it set the stage for adding new charter schools --- dubbed “schools of hope” --- that would serve students whose traditional public schools have been considered low-performing. It also called for school districts to provide federal Title I funding --- which is designed to help schools that serve large numbers of low-income students --- to charter schools.
Numerous school boards challenged the law in court. They argued that HB 7069 infringed on their constitutional authority to operate public schools within their districts. But in 2018, Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper rejected such arguments.
Now, two years after the bill passed, Corcoran is the state’s education commissioner --- and the battle over HB 7069 continues.
Lawyers for the school boards and the state will go before a panel of judges from the 1st District Court of Appeal on Tuesday to argue about the constitutionality of the bill.
“At issue here is vindication of the school boards’ power to operate, control, and supervise all local public schools, including charter schools,” said a brief filed on behalf of 10 school boards. “The challenged provisions intrude on that local control because they sharply restrict the ability of school boards to make discretionary spending decisions and to make the other operational decisions necessary to supervise all the public schools in their districts.”
Not so, argue the state’s lawyers, who have pointed to the state’s constitutional role in providing a system of public schools.
“Given the state’s express constitutional authority and lengthy history of involvement in Florida’s statewide system of public schools and education finance --- over decades involving the distribution of billions of dollars for millions of students --- none of the statutes challenged here improperly limit the local boards’ authority or implicate the overall uniformity of Florida’s public schools,” the state’s lawyers wrote in a document filed at the appeals court.
MONDAY, JUNE 10, 2019
BROWARD SHERIFF CASE TEED UP: Senate Special Master Dudley Goodlette will hold a prehearing conference in an appeal by suspended Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. Gov. Ron DeSantis ousted Israel, accusing the sheriff of “neglect of duty” and “incompetence” related, at least in part, to the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Israel requested a hearing from the Senate, which has the authority to remove or reinstate officials suspended by the governor. As special master, Goodlette will hold a hearing and make a recommendation to the Senate. The hearing is scheduled to start June 18. (Monday, 10 a.m., 401 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)
GUN AMENDMENT DISCUSSED: The group Ban Assault Weapons NOW will discuss efforts to place a constitutional amendment on the 2020 ballot that would ban assault-style weapons in Florida. (Monday, 11 a.m., Orange County Supervisor of Elections, 119 West Kaley St., Orlando.
SEMINOLE STATE TRUSTEES MEET: The Seminole State College of Florida Board of Trustees will take up issues such as a 2019-2020 budget. (Monday, 2 p.m., Seminole State College of Florida, Sanford/Lake Mary Campus, 100 Weldon Blvd., Sanford.)
WATER BOARD EYES BUDGET: The St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board will hold a workshop to discuss a strategic plan and development of a draft 2019-2020 budget. (Monday, 3 p.m., district headquarters, 4049 Reid St., Palatka.)
STONE SPEAKS IN PALM BEACH: Republican political operative Roger Stone will speak to the Palm Beach County Trump Club. (Monday, 7 p.m., Palm Beach Kennel Club, 1111 North Congress Ave., West Palm Beach.)
FINANCE REPORTS DUE: State candidates and political committees face a Monday deadline for filing reports showing finance activity through May 31.
TUESDAY, JUNE 11, 2019
FLORIDA GULF COAST TRUSTEES MEET: The Florida Gulf Coast University Board of Trustees will take up issues such as a 2019-2020 operating budget and a 2020-2021 capital-improvement plan. (Tuesday, 8:30 a.m., Florida Gulf Coast University, Cohen Center ballroom, 10501 FGCU Blvd. South, Fort Myers.)
APPEALS COURT WEIGHS EDUCATION FIGHT: The 1st District Court of Appeal will hear arguments in a battle about the constitutionality of a 2017 education law known as HB 7069. Numerous school boards contend that the law is unconstitutional because it intrudes on the decision-making powers of local school districts and creates a public-school system that is not uniform. The dispute focuses heavily on parts of the law designed to boost charter schools, including the creation of what were dubbed “schools of hope.” Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper last year upheld the law, spurring the school boards to take the case to the Tallahassee-based appeals court. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., 1st District Court of Appeal, 2000 Drayton Dr., Tallahassee.)
SUWANNEE WATER BOARD MEETS: The Suwannee River Water Management District Governing Board will meet. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., district headquarters, 9225 County Road 49, Live Oak.)
ST. JOHNS WATER BOARD MEETS: The St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board will meet after holding committee meetings. (Tuesday, committees start at 9 a.m., with full board estimated to start at 10 a.m., district headquarters, 4049 Reid St., Palatka.)
FREIGHT ISSUES EYED: The Florida Department of Transportation Freight & Multimodal Operations Office will hold the first in a series of forums about a plan that identifies freight transportation facilities expected to be critical to state economic growth. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., Florida Department of Transportation, 1000 N.W. 111th Ave., Miami.)
DUKE HURRICANE COSTS CONSIDERED: The Florida Public Service Commission will consider a proposal that would lead to Duke Energy Florida using $223.5 million in federal tax savings to pay costs related to Hurricane Michael and to replenish a storm reserve. Utilities in the past have typically been allowed to tack extra charges onto customers’ bills to pay the costs of restoring power and rebuilding electric systems after hurricanes. Duke is seeking to recoup costs and replenish a storm reserve, after October’s Hurricane Michael caused major damage to part of the utility’s service area in Northwest Florida. Instead of adding extra charges to customers’ bills, the utility has proposed using money from a 2017 federal tax overhaul to cover the storm-related costs. The tax overhaul, in part, lowered the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, creating savings for companies such as Duke. If the tax savings were not used to cover the storm costs, they could be passed through to customers on monthly electric bills. (Tuesday, 9:30 a.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)
FINANCIAL AID AT ISSUE: The Education Estimating Conference will hold what is known as an “impact” conference on issues involving student financial aid. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., 117 Knott Building, the Capitol.)
REFUGEE ISSUES DISCUSSED: The Tallahassee Area Refugee Task Force will meet. (Tuesday, 11 a.m., 1317 Winewood Blvd., Building 3, Tallahassee.)
CITRUS FORECAST UPDATED: The U.S. Department of Agriculture is scheduled to release the second-to-last monthly forecast for Florida’s citrus-growing season. (Tuesday, noon.)
JACKSONVILLE COLLEGE BOARD MEETS: The Florida State College of Jacksonville Board of Trustees will meet after holding a workshop about meeting the needs of the labor market. (Tuesday, workshop at noon, regular board meeting at 1 p.m., Florida State College at Jacksonville administrative offices, 501 West State St., Jacksonville.)
UNIVERSITY PLANS ON TABLE: The Strategic Planning Committee of the state university system’s Board of Governors will meet and consider accountability plans for the University of West Florida, Florida A&M University, New College of Florida, Florida State University, Florida Atlantic University and the University of South Florida. Also, it will consider a plan to designate Florida International University as an “emerging preeminent” university. (Tuesday, 1 p.m., University of South Florida, Marshall Student Center, 4103 USF Cedar Circle, Tampa.)
MEDICAL MARIJUANA BATTLE EYED: The 1st District Court of Appeal will hear arguments about whether lawmakers and the Florida Department of Health violated a 2016 constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana. The Department of Health went to the appeals court in October after Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson sided with the Tampa-based firm Florigrown in a dispute about how the state is carrying out the constitutional amendment. Dodson found that a 2017 law was unconstitutional and issued a temporary injunction requiring state health officials to begin registering Florigrown and other medical-marijuana firms to do business. Dodson’s ruling targeted parts of the law that placed caps on the number of medical-marijuana licenses and dealt with issues such as the creation of a “vertical integration” system that requires marijuana operators to grow, process and sell medical marijuana --- as opposed to businesses being licensed to play different roles in the industry. (Tuesday, 2 p.m., 1st District Court of Appeal, 2000 Drayton Dr., Tallahassee.)
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2019
FRIED, LAWMAKERS AT COUNTIES CONFERENCE: The Florida Association of Counties will hold an annual conference, with Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried expected to speak during an opening session. Other scheduled speakers include Sen. Debbie Mayfield, R-Rockledge, and Rep. Holly Raschein, R-Key Largo, who will discuss water policy. (Wednesday, a Florida Association of Counties board meeting is scheduled for 8:30 a.m., with the conference opening session at 10:30 a.m., Hyatt Regency Orlando, 9801 International Dr., Orlando.)
ELDER ABUSE, FRAUD AT ISSUE: The Florida Department of Elder Affairs will hold an Elder Abuse and Fraud Prevention Summit. (Wednesday, 8:30 a.m., Tallahassee Community College, Workforce Development Building, 444 Appleyard Dr., Tallahassee.)
UNIVERSITY SYSTEM PANELS MEET: Committees of the state university system’s Board of Governors will hold a series of meetings in advance of a full board meeting Thursday. Among the issues slated to be discussed are designation of the University of Florida as the lead institution in the Consortium for Medical Marijuana Clinical Outcomes Research. The Academic and Research Excellence Committee will consider that issue. (Wednesday, meetings start at 8:30 a.m., University of South Florida, Marshall Student Center, 4103 USF Cedar Circle, Tampa.)
REVENUE ESTIMATING CONFERENCE HUDDLES: The state Revenue Estimating Conference will hold what is known as a post-session “impact” conference. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., 117 Knott Building, the Capitol.)
HOMELESSNESS DISCUSSED: The state Council on Homelessness will hold a conference call. (Wednesday, 9 a.m. Call-in number: 1-888-585-9008. Code: 351186925.)
FREIGHT ISSUES DISCUSSED: The Florida Department of Transportation Freight & Multimodal Operations Office will continue a series of forums about a plan that identifies freight transportation facilities expected to be critical to state economic growth. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., Florida Department of Transportation, 3400 West Commercial Blvd., Fort Lauderdale.)
UNEMPLOYMENT CASES CONSIDERED: The state Reemployment Assistance Appeals Commission will meet. (Wednesday, 9:30 a.m., 101 Rhyne Building, 2740 Centerview Dr., Tallahassee.)
ALGAE TASK FORCE MEETS: The state Blue Green Algae Task Force, formed after parts of Florida have grappled with major problems with toxic algae in waterways, will hold its first meeting. (Wednesday, 10 a.m., Department of Environmental Protection, Douglas Building, 3900 Commonwealth Blvd., Tallahassee.)
CITIZENS CLAIMS AT ISSUE: The Claims Committee of the Citizens Property Insurance Corp. Board of Governors will hold a conference call that is slated to include an update on the 3,333 lawsuits filed against the insurer in the first four months of the year, a monthly average of 833 that is down 22 percent from the same period a year earlier. Nearly 90 percent of residential lawsuits are from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. As of April 30, the state-backed insurer had 14,091 lawsuits pending, which is up 14 percent from a year ago. (Wednesday, 10 a.m. Call-in number: 1-866-361-7525. Code: 5219676193.)
WORKERS’ COMP BOARD MEETS: The Board of Governors of the Florida Workers’ Compensation Joint Underwriting Association will meet. (Wednesday, 10 a.m., Orlando Airport Marriott Lakeside, 7499 Augusta National Dr., Orlando.)
WATER BOARD EYES BUDGET: The South Florida Water Management District Governing Board will hold a budget workshop. (Wednesday, 1 p.m., district headquarters, 3301 Gun Club Road, West Palm Beach.)
THURSDAY, JUNE 13, 2019
LAWMAKERS AT COUNTIES CONFERENCE: The Florida Association of Counties will hold an annual conference, with speakers expected to include Rep. Chip LaMarca, R-Lighthouse Point; Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando; Rep. Stan McClain, R-Ocala; and Rep. Melony Bell, R-Fort Meade. (Thursday, programs start at 8 a.m., Hyatt Regency Orlando, 9801 International Dr., Orlando.)
BOARD OF GOVERNORS GATHERS: The state university system’s Board of Governors will meet after holding a series of committee meetings. The board will consider numerous issues, including confirmation of the reappointments of Florida Polytechnic University President Randy Avent, New College of Florida President Donal O’Shea and Florida State University President John Thrasher. (Thursday, committees start at 8:30 a.m., with full board estimated to start at 11 a.m., University of South Florida, Marshall Student Center, 4103 USF Cedar Circle, Tampa.)
SOUTH FLORIDA WATER BOARD MEETS: The South Florida Water Management District Governing Board will meet. (Thursday, 9 a.m., district headquarters, 3301 Gun Club Road, West Palm Beach.)
SUPREME COURT RELEASES OPINIONS: The Florida Supreme Court is scheduled to release its weekly opinions. (Thursday, 11 a.m.)
CITIZENS INSURANCE ‘DEPOPULATION’ DISCUSSED: The Market Accountability Advisory Committee of the Citizens Property Insurance Corp. Board of Governors will hold a conference call. The agenda includes an update on the state-backed insurer’s “depopulation” efforts and its policy clearinghouse. (Thursday, 11:30 a.m., Call-in number: 1-866-361-7525. Code: 7849939192.)
BURTON SPEAKS TO TIGER BAY: Rep. Colleen Burton, R-Lakeland, is slated to discuss the 2019 legislative session during a meeting of the Tiger Bay Club of Polk County. (Thursday, 11:30 a.m., Bartow Civic Center, 2250 South Floral Ave., Bartow.)
EX-CONGRESSMAN APPEARS IN VOLUSIA: Former Pennsylvania Congressman Jason Altmire, author of the book, “Dead Center: How Political Polarization Divided America And What We Can Do About It,” will speak to the Tiger Bay Club of Volusia County. (Thursday, 11:30 a.m., LPGA Clubhouse, 1000 Champions Dr., Daytona Beach.)
ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE AT ISSUE: The state Alzheimer’s Disease Advisory Committee will hold a conference call. (Thursday, 1 p.m. Call-in number: 1-888-585-9008. Code: 600513360.)
ANIMAL ISSUES DISCUSSED: The Animal Industry Technical Council will meet in Osceola County. (Thursday, 1 p.m., Kissimmee Utility Authority, 1701 West Carroll St., Kissimmee.)
GULF CONSORTIUM BOARD MEETS: The Gulf Consortium Board of Directors, which works on issues related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, is scheduled to meet. (Thursday, 2 p.m., Hyatt Regency Orlando, 9801 International Dr., Orlando. Call-in number: 1-646-749-3129. Code: 250206157.)
HIALEAH FREIGHT PLAN EYED: The Florida Department of Transportation will host a pair of presentations about the Hialeah Freight Mobility Implementation Plan. (Thursday, 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., Miami Dade College, Hialeah Campus, 1780 West 49th St., Hialeah.)
ESKAMANI DISCUSSES SESSION: Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, will start a series of post-legislative session recaps that will also be livestreamed on Facebook. (Thursday, 6 p.m., Winter Park Community Center, 721 West New England Ave., Winter Park.)
BERMAN GIVES LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Sen. Lori Berman, D-Lantana, is slated to provide an update about the 2019 legislative session during a meeting of the Democratic Club of Delray Beach. (Thursday, 7 p.m., Pompey Park Recreation Center, 1101 N.W. Second St., Delray Beach.)
FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2019
LEGISLATIVE SESSION ON MENU: Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Naples, Rep. Bob Rommel, R-Naples, and Rep. Spencer Roach, R-North Fort Myers, are expected to discuss the 2019 legislative session during a breakfast meeting of the Collier County Men’s Republican Club. (Friday, 7:30 a.m., Pelican Marsh Golf Club, 1810 Persimmons Dr., Naples.)
PRIVATE INVESTIGATION ISSUES ON TABLE: The Private Investigation, Recovery and Security Advisory Council will meet. (Friday, 9 a.m., Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, 1 Grand Cypress Blvd., Orlando.)
FRIED APPEARS AT TIGER BAY: Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is slated to speak to the Capital Tiger Bay Club. (Friday, 11:30 a.m., Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, 505 West Pensacola St., Tallahassee.)
PASSIDOMO SPEAKS TO GOP WOMEN: Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, is expected to discuss the 2019 legislative session during a meeting of the Women’s Republican Club of Naples Federated. (Friday, 11:30 a.m., Tiburon Golf Club, 2620 Tiburon Dr., Naples.)
WATER STANDARDS AT ISSUE: The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will hold a meeting about total maximum daily loads, a type of water-quality standard, for the Hillsborough River basin. (Friday, 2 p.m., Bob Martinez Center, 2600 Blair Stone Road, Tallahassee.)
DEVELOPMENT FINANCE BOARD MEETS: The Florida Development Finance Corp. Board of Directors will meet. (Friday, 4 p.m., Florida Development Finance Corp., 156 Tuskawilla Road, Suite 2340, Winter Springs. Call-in number: 1-646-741-5292. Code: 1119850220.)
SPECIAL ELECTION FINANCE REPORTS DUE: Candidates in June 18 special elections in House District 7 and House District 38 face a Friday deadline for filing reports showing finance activity through Thursday. Port St. Joe Republican Jason Shoaf and Tallahassee Democrat Ryan Terrell are running in North Florida’s District 7, which opened when former Rep. Halsey Beshears, R-Monticello, was appointed secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Dade City Republican Randy Maggard and Wesley Chapel Democrat Kelly Smith are running in Pasco County’s District 38, which former Rep. Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills, left to become executive director of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
SATURDAY, JUNE 15, 2019
VETERANS ‘EXPO’ HELD: The non-profit Veterans Florida will hold a “Veterans Florida Expo” that is designed to help veterans and transitioning military members with such things as getting jobs or running businesses. (Saturday, 9 a.m., Hilton Orlando, 6001 Destination Parkway, Orlando.)