Advocacy update: FL in final week of session

In Florida, this is the ninth and final week of session, as the legislature is scheduled to adjourn this Friday, May 3. The biggest piece of good news from the eighth week of legislative session is that the Florida House passed HB 7071. This legislation includes language to require all school districts to offer a financial literacy course as an elective, which is significant forward progress in that financial literacy will be the only required Elective prescribed by state statute. Electives have always been the exclusive purview of school districts as to what they may choose to offer; the state has never required a specific course to be offered as an elective.

Additionally, for students on the career pathway track, the bill requires students to take two credits in work-based programs. The bill was amended on the House Floor last week to say that those 2 credits in work-based programs may be substituted for two credits of electives, including 1/2 credit for financial literacy. This legislation places importance on at least making certain that these career-track students, especially, should be given the opportunity to take a financial literacy course. They, most of all, need it more than anyone because they will be facing employment after high school and will have no formal preparation for how to handle their money.

Please join the League in thanking Sen. Travis Hutson for his leadership, as well as Rep.’s Elizabeth Fetterhoff and Heather Fitzenhagen for their willingness to move legislation this significant through the Legislature this year. While the bill fell short of a requirement that all students must take the course, there is at least a requirement that the course must be offered in all districts which is a noteworthy step forward to promote financial literacy for all students. Once this bill passes the Senate as expected, it will head to the Governor for his signature.

A bill that would authorize online notarizations, providing modernization that would move notary requirements into the digital age and allow for more flexibility for credit unions, continued to move forward. HB 409 by Rep. Daniel Perez (R-Miami), passed the House Floor last Wednesday with a vote of 87-28 and the companion bill, SB 548 by Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg), should be heard this week on the Senate floor.

As previously mentioned, SB 1034 by Sen. Gruters (R – Sarasota) and HB 1039 by Rep. Latvala (R-Clearwater), bills dealing with assignment of consumer debts, were amended to require financial institutions take extra steps before attempting to collect a debt that has gone into default. The League’s advocacy team met with the House sponsor and he assured us that another amendment will be filed to remove the language making the debt collection process for financial institutions more burdensome. The House bill is ready to be heard on the floor this week, while the Senate bill must be heard in the Rules committee before the full Senate takes a vote.

If you have any questions, please contact any member of your Florida Advocacy Team:
Jared Ross, SVP of Association Services
Jennifer Martin, Senior Director of Governmental Affairs
John Rothell, Political Action & Grassroots Manager

Look for an update on Alabama Session, which has more than a month to go, next week.