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Update on the Bills HEF Is Watching (as of 2-23-2024)

Hello, everyone! There's been a lot of discussion about HB1403/SB7048, but it's not the only bill we're tracking.

We thought it might be helpful for you all to see which bills we're currently tracking (and why), with a status update on each.

I've also included a link to the official staff analysis of each bill, in case you want a bit more info. (If you'd like to read the bill itself, you can look each bill up on the Senate website here: They have a search bar at the top of the page which will allow you to search House bills and Senate bills by number--then just click on the "Bill Text" tab once you're on the page for that specific bill, and you'll be able to access a PDF of the actual bill language.)

If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments!


HB 1 - Online Protections for Minors 

Summary of What This Bill Includes:

  • Requires certain types of social media platforms to use a third-party age verification method before permitting users to access their platforms. 

  • Requires those social media platforms to prohibit minors under 16 from creating user accounts. Existing accounts for users under age 16 would be terminated, and the social media platforms would be required to delete all personal information related to those accounts unless otherwise required by law to maintain the personal information.  

  • Minors who are 16 or 17 years old would be allowed to create accounts, but the social media platforms would be required to provide them certain disclosures and information.

  • The bill does not apply to platforms whose main function is e-mail, messaging, texts, streaming or entertainment, online shopping, or gaming. 

  • Would allow parents to take action against social media platforms if the platform allowed the minors to be exposed to harmful content.

Why We’re Watching It:

  • There were initially concerns about how the ID requirement in this bill could impact social media users of all ages (including parents participating in online groups, etc.), but some of those concerns have now been addressed in amendments to the bill.

  • It's the Speaker’s special project, and we always follow those to gain an understanding of what's going on. 

  • HB1 raised some concerns about parental rights, and we’re continuing to watch this.

Current Status of the Bill: The bill passed the House as amended by the Senate. It is now “enrolled” and on its way to the Governor’s office.

HB 49 - Employment and Curfew of Minors

Summary of What This Bill Includes:

  • Removes restrictions on the number of work hours per day/week for minors aged 16 and 17. 

  • Revises the times of day in which minors 16 and 17 years-of-age may work.  

  • Changes the limitations on consecutive work days and consecutive work hours for minors 16 or 17 years old, and requires these minors to be granted breaks and meal periods the same as those 18 years and older. (But maintains stricter limits on consecutive work days and timing of breaks for minors age 15 or younger.)

  • Requires certain exceptions to county or municipal juvenile curfews.

  • Provides an exemption for home education and virtual school students.

Why We’re Watching It:

  • It provides an exemption for home education and virtual school students to get a waiver on the hours they could work. 

  • This could impact homeschooling minors involved in career and technical skills training, on-the-job training, and their ability to have more flexibility working during school hours. 

Current Status of the Bill: Passed the House; has been referred to the Senate Rules (to determine whether it will be put on the Senate calendar or not). The Rules Committee meets on 2-26-2024.

HB 1403/SB7048 - School Choice

Summary of What This Bill Includes:

  • Allows for the children of an active duty member of the United States Armed Forces to be eligible for scholarships if the parent has received permanent change of station orders to Florida or whose home of record or state of residence, at the time of renewal, is Florida. 

  • Increases the growth rate of the FES-UA scholarship program cap from 3 percent to 5 percent, while also including an automatic increase of an additional 1 percent based on demand.  

  • Establishes firm deadlines for Scholarship Funding Organizations (SFO) and parents related to the application and renewal of the FTC, PEP, FES-UA, and FES-EO scholarship programs:

  • Renewals for FTC-PEP, FES-EO, and FES-UA will take place between February 1 and April 30, with parents required to confirm that they will be renewing or declining the scholarship May 31. 

  • New applications for FES-EO and FES-UA will take place between February 1 and November 15, with parents required to confirm that the scholarship will be accepted or declined by December 15.  

  • First quarterly payment for FES-EO/FES-UA renewal scholarships would be made by August 1st.

  • First quarterly payment for new FES-EO/FES-UA scholarships would be made by September 1st.

  • Updates the quarterly reporting requirements for SFOs to include information on applications received, application review timeframes, reimbursements received, and reimbursement processing timeframes. 

  • Requires a SFO to establish a process to collect input and feedback from parents, private schools, and providers before implementing substantial modifications or enhancements to the reimbursement process. 

  • Requires a SFO to make payment for tuition and fees for full-time enrollment within seven business days after approval by the parent and school.  

  • Requires the Center for Students with Unique Abilities to develop appropriate purchasing guidelines for recipients of the FES-UA scholarship. 

  • Restricts “equipment used as instructional materials” to the 4 core subjects for FES-EO and FTC (PEP & EO) programs.  (Equipment used as instructional materials can only be purchased for language arts and reading, mathematics, social studies, and science.)

  • Clarifies transition services for the FES-UA.  

  • Expands the authorized uses for FES-UA scholarship funds to include prekindergarten programs offered by eligible private schools which participate in the state’s scholarship programs and offers education to students in any grades K-12. 

  • Repeals the scholarship funding portion of the Hope Scholarship Program, but maintains requirements for parental notification of the opportunity to enroll at another public school and scholarship eligibility to attend an eligible private school under the FES and FTC scholarship programs for students subjected to a specified incident, such as bullying or harassment, and shifts the tax credits to the FTC scholarship program. 

  • Clarifies that public school students receiving the New Worlds Scholarship remain eligible for transportation scholarships under the FES and FTC scholarship programs.

  • Except as expressly provided in the bill, the bill has an effective date of July 1, 2024.    

Why We’re Watching It:

  • These changes directly affect families using the UA, PEP, and EO scholarships.  (Note: Some of the changes in this bill are positive—it is not all negative.)

  • The restriction on instructional materials is a major concern for the PEP families in our community, but is also a battle worth uniting on and fighting for all homeschooling families, since we want to protect freedom of choice for all parents who direct their children’s education. Every family’s needs are different, and we want to preserve as many options as possible for parents while also protecting the existing rights and freedoms that Brenda and others have worked so hard to achieve for homeschoolers in Florida over the past 40 years.

Current Status: SB7048 (companion bill to HB1403) has been placed on the Calendar for a 2nd reading in the Senate. (This means it has passed through all the committees in the House and Senate, and is ready for the Senate Floor, however, it won’t be heard on 2nd reading until it’s put on the Special Order calendar.)

SB460 - Career and Technical Education

Summary of What This Bill Includes:

  • Authorizes minors aged 16 or 17 to work in construction if certain qualifications and safety considerations are met (as outlined in the bill). 

  • Provides a uniform standard for counties and municipalities to recognize a journeyworker.   

  • Authorizes district school boards to satisfy the career fair requirement through consulting with specified groups to determine free or cost-effective methods to provide other career and industry networking opportunities.  

  • Authorizes a student who earns credit for one year of related technical instruction for a registered apprenticeship or preapprenticeship program to use such credit to satisfy high school graduation credit requirements.  

  • Authorizes an exemption from the career education basic skills assessment to certain students with a private school diploma or home education affidavit.  

Why We’re Watching It:

  • This bill could impact opportunities for career & technical students.

  • Could affect eligibility for Bright Futures scholarships.

Current Status:

  • HB917 (the companion bill to SB460) was added to the Special Order calendar in the House. It is scheduled to be heard on the House Floor on Tuesday. 

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