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Weekly Legislative Update from May 5, 2017


HB 859 & SB 668-Relating to Postsecondary Distance Education 
On Tuesday, May 2nd, SB 668, by Senator Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville), was laid on the table and substituted with HB 859, by Representative Amber Mariano (R-Port Richey). HB 859 was amended then read for a third time on the Senate floor and passed by a vote of 36 yeas to 0 nays.

On Thursday, May 4th, the House concurred with the amended version of HB 859 and passed the bill by a vote of 118 yeas to 0 nays.

This legislation seeks to authorize Florida’s participation in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement known as “SARA” created by 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 go to the desk of the Governor.

AIF SUPPORTS our State Universities and our Independent Colleges and Universities’ continued efforts to address the growing challenges that comes with increased enrollment, which in turn increases the workforce throughout Florida.