The House Post-Secondary Education & Lifelong Learning Subcommittee had a “discussion on State University System degree program offerings, methodologies used to determine degree programs linked to in-demand careers and occupations and mechanisms to lower cost of such programs.” Chancellor Marshall Criser gave an overview of the State University System and an update on the SUS’s success in aligning degrees with workforce needs.
Bills are referred to multiple committees for hearing. A bill must be heard by all the referred committees before it is eligible to be heard by the full Senate or House. The following bills were heard in committee this week.
CS/SB 52 Postsecondary Education by Senator Ray Rodrigues. The bill:
Clarifies that the postsecondary tuition and fee exemptions apply to a student who is currently in the custody of the Department of Children and Families when they are under the age of 18.
Creates the Dual Enrollment Scholarship Program which would reimburse eligible postsecondary institutions for tuition and related instructional materials costs for dual enrollment courses taken by private school or home education program students during the fall or spring terms and for all students during the summer term. Funding for the program is subject to an appropriation in the state budget. The estimated cost of the program is $28.5 million for FY 2021-22.
Authorizes a university board of trustees to implement a bonus scheme based on awards for work performance or employee recruitment and retention. The bonus scheme must be approved by the BOG.
CS/CS/SB 264 Higher Education by Senator Ray Rodrigues. The bill provides that:
Beginning on September 1, 2022, the BOG is required to annually report on the intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity at each institution by conducting a survey of students, faculty, and administrators.
State universities may not shield students from protected expressive activities.
The bill was amended to provide that protected expressive activities include the nonconsensual recording and publication of video and audio recorded in classrooms for the personal use of the student. The bill previously allowed the recording for any use by the student.
SB 74 COVID-19-related Claims Against Health Care Providers by Senator Brandes. The bill provides specific COVID-19-related liability protections for health care providers. The definition of “health care provider” is broad and includes most health care professions and health care facilities. A claimant must prove that the health care provider was grossly negligent or engaged in intentional misconduct in failing to substantially comply with government health standards or guidance, in interpreting or applying the standards or guidance, or in the provision of a novel or experimental treatment. A health care provider is immune from civil liability if supplies or personnel were not readily available to comply with the standards or guidance. The bill provides a one-year limitation on claims after specific events. The bill is retroactive unless the claim was filed before the effective date of the bill.
SB 1110 Relations Between Postsecondary Institutions and Communist Regimes by Senator Diaz. The bill forbids state universities and state colleges from entering into an agreement with a communist regime “concerning research, development, courses, or student or cultural exchange or to establish a campus.” The bill forbids linkage institutes in a county governed by a communist regime. The university or college must withdraw from any existing agreements by January 1, 2022. The bill provides that a student will not receive state financial assistance to study in a county governed by a communist regime. Bill text
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