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-- Governor Scott Announces Decision to Withdraw from PARCC - 9/24/13
-- Governor Rick Scott Signs 36 Bills into Law
-- Governor Scott Signs Bill Banning Texting While Driving

 Governor Rick Scott Announces Path Forward for High Education Standards & Decision to Withdraw from PARCC

Posted 24 Sep, 2013

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Following the Governor’s Education Summit in Tampa a few weeks ago, Governor Rick Scott sent a letter to State Board of Education Chairman Gary Chartrand today, outlining six steps for the board to:

1) Maintain high education standards; and,
2) Remove the state from federal intrusion in education policy.

To protect Florida from the federal government’s overreach in education policy, Governor Scott also sent a letter today to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, announcing the state’s decision to withdraw from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). Lastly, the Governor also released an Executive Order today announcing policy improvements that were discussed in the Governor’s Education Summit.

Governor Scott said, “We listened to many people who are passionate about making Florida’s education system the best in the world during our Education Summit in Tampa a few weeks ago. The summit’s discussions were so robust and diverse that they have led to three actions today. First, I sent a letter to Chairman Chartrand outlining a six-step course forward for Florida to ensure we continue to hold our students to high education standards. Excellence in education begins with high expectations for our students. Second, I told the federal government we are rejecting their overreach into our state education system by withdrawing from PARCC. Last, I issued an executive order to address state assessments, ensure student data security and support a transparent and understandable school accountability system.

“While the debate surrounding Common Core Standards has become polarized into a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ discussion, we heard during the Education Summit that most education leaders agreed on two things. We agree that we should say ‘yes’ to high standards for Florida students and ‘no’ to the federal government’s overreach into our education system. Therefore, I notified the federal government that Florida would be withdrawing from PARCC, and at the same time we will hold public comment sessions to receive input on any alterations that should be made to the current Common Core Standards. We are committed to maintaining high standards for our students. Period. The six steps outlined to the Board of Education will help Florida move forward in maintaining exceptionally high standards while removing federal intrusion into our education system.”

Governor Scott’s letter to Florida Board of Education Chairman Gary Chartrand (Read here.)

Governor Scott’s letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (Read here.)

Governor Scott’s Executive Order: Education Accountability Summit Action Plan (Read here.)

 Governor Rick Scott Signs 36 Bills into Law

On May 30, 2013, in News Releases, by Staff ....Governor Rick Scott signed the following bills into law today:

HB 21 The bill requires the Department of Education to create a uniform, statewide photo identification badge signifying that a noninstructional contractor meets certain background screening and other requirements.

CS/SB 56 The bill updates the protocols of the Department of Health and medical examiners when reporting and classifying the cause of death of an infant under one year of age who suddenly dies when in apparent good health.

CS/HB 93 The bill allows individuals obtaining or renewing their motor vehicle registration or driver license to make a voluntary contribution of $1.00 to assist the homeless.

CS/CS/HB 113 The bill creates a new offense making it a third-degree felony for an adult to knowingly distribute material harmful to a minor or post materials harmful to a minor on public and private school property.

CS/HB 135 The bill designates the following Brevard County properties as spaceport territory: the Space Coast Regional Airport, the Space Coast Industrial Park, and the Spaceport Commerce Park.

CS/CS/HB 277 The bill prevents an increase in the assessed value of residential properties as a result of installing a renewable energy source device.

CS/SB 284 The bill establishes a process for private schools to register to be notified at the same time public school districts are notified about an emergency occurrence in the local area that could threaten student safety. The bill also allows school districts, or private schools, to adopt a protocol developed by a licensed physician for the administration of epinephrine auto-injection by trained school personnel.

CS/CS/CS/HB 319 The bill makes changes to local transportation concurrency options which are designed to ensure transportation facilities and services are available and kept concurrent with local development.

SB 342 The bill allows the rental of homestead properties to be rented for up to 30 days a calendar year while maintaining the homestead classification.

CS/CS/CS/HB 375 The bill provides that the owner of a residence may be approved and permitted by the Department of Health as a maintenance entity for their own engineer-designed Onsite Sewage Treatment & Disposal System or Aerobic Treatment Unit.

HB 407 This bill protects Florida’s children by enhancing criminal penalties against convicted gang members who trespass in school safety zones and provides enhanced criminal penalties for any person who solicits or recruits children under age 13 into a gang.

CS/CS/HB 411 The bill codifies the two existing children’s initiatives in Orlando and Jacksonville in statute.

CS/HB 423 The bill exempts dyed diesel fuel used for commercial fishing and aquaculture purposes from the sales and use tax

CS/CS/HB 437 The bill clarifies Florida Housing Finance Corporation’s corporate roles and responsibilities.

SB 452 The bill permanently reauthorizes the public records exemption for a donor’s personal identifying information, held in the Joshua Abbott Organ and Tissue Registry.

CS/HB 461 The bill requires the Department of Education, in coordination with the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind and with input from stakeholders including representatives of the auditory oral community, to develop a model communications plan for use during the individual educational plan development.

CS/CS/SB 468 The bill codifies a pilot project by the Office of Insurance Regulation that provides an alternative mechanism to the insurance policy form filing and approval process for property and casualty insurance lines, excluding workers’ compensation and personal lines.

CS/CS/CS/HB 487 The bill creates the Freemasonry specialty license plate, establishes the annual use fee of $25, and provides that those funds will benefit the Masonic Home Endowment Fund, Inc.

CS/CS/HB 609 The bill amends the definition of bullying to include cyberbullying, and establishes new prohibitions for technology-related activities that adversely affects the ability of a student to receive an education or that disrupts the orderly operation of school.

SB 628 The bill provides a public record exemption for reproductions of photographic or digital images from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Driver and Vehicle Information Database for the certain people as part of their official work of the court.

CS/CS/SB 682 The bill provides for the approval and standards of certain beneficial uses of fossil fuel combustion products, the waste byproducts of burning fossil fuels. It also provides that the prohibition against hazardous waste landfills in Florida would not be applicable to these waste byproducts, should the United States Environmental Protection Agency deem them hazardous waste.

CS/CS/CS/HB 701 The bill prohibits the use or acceptance of electronic benefits transfer cards at establishments licensed to sell distilled spirits, adult entertainment establishments, pari-mutuel facilities, slot machine facilities, commercial bingo facilities, casinos, gaming and gambling facilities.

CS/CS/HB 801 The bill substitutes “certified school counselor” for the term “guidance counselor” to reflect the current requirement that persons employed as public school counselors be certified.

CS/HB 841 The bill provides clarification and consistency in use of a power of attorney, which is a legal document that a person can use to authorize another person to act on his or her behalf.

CS/HB 969 The bill provides statutory guidance to streamline the regulatory process for recreational vehicle parks and recreational camps when applying for a permit with the Department of Health and redefines the term “occupancy.”

CS/CS/CS/HB 999 The bill addresses issues ranging from special event permitting at boat shows to permitting authority for water wells to expedited permitting for natural gas pipelines.

CS/HB 1071 The bill amends various sections of Florida law in order to provide a standard definition and a uniform interpretation and application of the term accrediting organization.

HB 1157 The bill eliminates the sunset date of the health flex plan program. Health flex plans were established to provide affordable health care services to low-income uninsured Floridians.

CS/HB 1193 The bill strikes three of the five conditions resulting in the loss of the agricultural classification of land and removes the authority of the Value Adjustment Board to review land classifications and property exemptions upon its own motion.

CS/SB 1768 The bill permanently reauthorizes the public records exemption for individuals who apply for or receive paratransit services. Paratransit services are special transportation services to assist individuals who cannot otherwise access the public transportation system, such as persons with disabilities.

SB 1806 The bill provides that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s rules on Total Maximum Daily Loads are exempt from legislative ratification requirements.

CS/SB 1808 The bill establishes the manner by which the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is to proceed with outstanding numeric nutrient criteria rulemaking and represents a key aspect to recovering state control over Florida’s waters from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

SB 1830 The bill streamlines the administration of the property tax, clarifies that counties are authorized to grant an additional homestead exemption of up to $50,000 to qualifying low income seniors, and broadens the ad valorem tax discount provided to disabled veterans to include veterans who were not Florida residents at the time of entering military service.

SB 1850 The bill exempts from public record the proprietary business information that is owned or controlled by an insurer participating in the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation clearinghouse program created in SB 1770 (Note: this bill was filed yesterday 5/29).

HB 4013 The bill eliminates the lifetime maximum amount of tax refunds a business could receive under the Qualified Target Industry ($7 million or $7.5 million if located in an enterprise zone) and Qualified Defense and Space Flight Business Programs ($7 million).

HB 7143 The bill reauthorizes the public records and public meeting exemptions for donors to direct-support organizations for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

 Governor Scott Signs Bill Banning Texting While Driving

On May 28, 2013, in News Releases, by Staff ....Governor Rick Scott today signed SB 52 at Alonzo and Tracy Mourning Senior High School, banning the use of wireless communications devices while driving.

Governor Scott said, “As a father and a grandfather, texting while driving is something that concerns me when my loved ones are on the road. The 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are known as the deadliest days on the road for teenagers. We must do everything we can at the state level to keep our teenagers and everyone on our roads safe. I cannot think of a better time to officially sign this bill into law.”

The bill signed today prohibits a person from manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols or other characters into a wireless communications device. This includes text messaging, emailing and instant messaging through smart phones.

Governor Scott was by joined representatives from AT&T, Verizon Communications, The Florida Department of Transportation, Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and Miami Children’s Hospital, along with students and teachers from Alonzo Mourning Senior High School who signed their names to pledge to not text while driving.

Senator Nancy Detert said, “I am thrilled that Governor Scott has supported the legislature and signed this bill. Texting while driving is an issue we see on our roads every day, and the distractions it causes has negatively affected too many Floridians. Thanks to the support of the Governor and the Legislature, this new law can now lead the way to making our roads safer for Florida drivers and will help teens to form safe driving habits.”

Representative Doug Holder said, “I am proud to join the Governor today in signing SB 52. Not only will this new law encourage responsible driving, it will teach our youngest drivers to put away their phones and concentrate on the road. This will protect Florida families across the state, which is something we should all be thankful for.”

Marshall Criser, AT&T Florida- State President said, “We applaud Governor Rick Scott for signing this important legislation. Through the commitment of Sen. Nancy Detert and Representative Doug Holder, as well as the Governor and the Legislative leadership, Florida has reinforced the message that texting while driving is a deadly habit. It’s a simple message. No text is worth dying for, It Can Wait.”

Julie Jones, Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Executive Director said, “Nothing is so important that it is worth risking your life by sending a text message while behind the wheel of a vehicle. This legislation will help send the message to all drivers that they need to keep their eyes on the road, not on their cell phone.”

Ananth Prasad, Secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation said, “The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) applauds Governor Scott for signing legislation to ban texting while driving. This action will be an important step to reduce distracted driving on Florida’s roadways.”

Beth Bailey, Director, Government/Education, Verizon Wireless said, “Verizon is urging to ensuring our customers and all wireless communication device users make responsible decisions behind the wheel; responsible driving should be everyone’s first priority. We are proud to join Gov. Scott and our industry today to stress to drivers of every generation, across the state of Florida, that when you’re behind the wheel it can wait.”

Dr. Narendra Kini, President and CEO of Miami Children’s Hospital said, “As a leader in pediatric care, Miami Children’s Hospital wholeheartedly supports the new law banning texting while driving. Making this activity illegal sends a clear message about the associated dangers and will reduce the number of vehicular traumas in our state, providing a safer environment for our children and for all.”
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