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Posted On: Mar 01, 2016

Keep Senate Bill 524 on your radar

The Senate Appropriations Committee held a seven-hour long meeting yesterday in which they discussed two very broad bills related to education. These are commonly referred to as “trains”, or bills with numerous measures relating to one broad topic. The bills are Senate Bill 524 and the less notorious Senate Bill 1166 – both of which are being sponsored by Sen. Don Gaetz (R-Niceville).

SB 524 includes the Best and Brightest Teacher “Scholarship” program and the Principal Autonomy Program, both of which the FEA strongly opposes. Several senators from both parties on the Appropriations Committee tried to amend the bills to do away with the Best and Brightest language or expand the program to expand the group of teachers that received an award. Unfortunately, none of the amendments passed. The bills are now headed to the full Senate where we expect to see this heavily debated on the Senate floor. This bill will not pass without a fight.

We sent out an alert Wednesday asking members to voice their concern for the bill being heard the next morning. The response was fantastic – more than 800 emails were sent to each senator on the committee overnight! This is just the kind of public pressure needed to help combat these bills. Stay motivated and make sure you respond to action alerts whenever they are sent out!

In other news, the House and Senate announced that they will begin negotiations soon. Lawmakers from each chamber will go to conference to negotiate over the differences between their respective budget bills.

Click here to listen to FEA President Joanne McCall as she discusses important issues circling the Capitol, while Fedrick Ingram and Luke Flynt were out on assignments!

Keep up the good work, and keep an eye out for further action alerts. The FRS is still up for debate, in addition to several other issues of concern to FEA.

Contact your local legislator. You can easily find their contact information in the FEA Action Center under theTake Action tab. Simply scroll down and click on “Find Your Lawmaker”. The contact information includes addresses, phone numbers, emails, websites and even social media accounts. You can use one or all of these - just make sure you make your voice is heard.

Have a good weekend!


Joanne M. McCall, President
Florida Education Association

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