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Weekly Legislative Update from March 31, 2017


HB 859 & SB 668-Relating to Postsecondary Distance Education
On Monday, March 27th, HB 859, by Representative Amber Mariano (R-Port Richey), was heard by the House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee and passed unanimously by a vote of 12 yeas to 0 nays.  AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis stood in support of this bill.

Also on Monday, March 27th, SB 668, by Senator Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville), was heard by the Senate Committee on Education and passed unanimously by 9 yeas to 0 nays. AIF stood in support of this bill.

This legislation seeks to authorize Florida’s participation in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement known as “SARA” created by the Southern Regional Education Board and the National Council on State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. This would allow for Florida’s postsecondary institutions to voluntarily participate in what is a multi-state reciprocity agreement allowing them to offer online education without excessive fees and regulatory compliance processes.  This reciprocity offers student’s greater access to more distance education, enhances oversight of distance education offerings to Florida students by another state, and expands experiential learning opportunities across state lines.  Not only is this good for students but it also helps lessen the burden on Florida businesses and taxpayers to fund construction and facility costs.

HB 859 will move on to the House Education Committee for its third hearing.

SB 668 will move on to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education.

AIF SUPPORTS our state university system’s continued efforts to address the growing challenges that comes with increased enrollment, which in turn increases the workforce throughout Florida.