2023 LEGISLATIVE SESSION
Thank you to all those who testified in Tallahassee, attended our weekly Power Hour events, called or emailed your legislators, hosted teach-ins and other awareness events, or otherwise supported your colleagues at home and across the state. We truly couldn’t have done it without you!!
The 2023 Florida Legislature adjourned Sine Die, meaning the session has officially ended. While many (including experienced Tallahassee insiders) believe this is the worst session Florida may have ever seen, there is much for our members and leaders to celebrate. Our advocacy clearly made a difference in our classrooms and across our campuses and communities. Lear more about this difference in the attached UFF Week 9 Legislative Update—the last update of 2023 session.UFF-Week-9-Legislative-Update
This week, HB 1445 passed the House, sending it to Gov. DeSantis’s desk for signature, and SB 266 passed the Senate. Check out the attached UFF Week 8 Legislative Update to learn more about these bills and how you can continue to take action to support Florida’s colleges and universities.2023-Week-8-Legislative-Update
This week was an active one in the Florida Legislature, with HB 999 / SB 266 moving through their final committee stops. Learn how to take action on these and other bills that are making their way to the Senate and House floor as we draw closer to the end of the legislative session.UFF-Week-7-Legislative-Update
While HB 999 remains stalled in the Florida House, SB 266 passed its second committee stop after significant amendment. In this week’s attached legislative update, learn more about the hearing, where a number of UFF members and leaders testified against the bill, and take action to continue impacting this horrible piece of legislation. Our advocacy is making a difference, so it’s time to increase the pressure on these anti-freedom legislators who are attempting to undermine our world-class colleges and universities.
In other news this week, HB 1445, the House version of this year’s anti-union bill, passed through its final committee stop on Tuesday, meaning we expect that it will pass on the House Floor and be signed by the Gov as early as next week. Now is the time to transition all UFF members to our safe, secure, and proprietary eDues system. Check out page 2 of the attached update to learn more2023-Week-6-Legislative-Update
2023 Week 5 – Legislative Update
This week, the Florida Legislature dismissed at mid-day on Wednesday due to the Passover and Good Friday holidays, which limited the amount of damage Gov. DeSantis and his cronies could accomplish. For that reason, we at UFF are foregoing the usual weekly legislative update in favor of a shorter email with helpful links and calls to action.
Calls to Action
HB 999 is still stalled in the House due to our ongoing advocacy, but we are hearing reports that it may be in committee again as early as next week. Please take a few moments to use the link below to contact legislators and urge them to vote NO against this horrific attack on academic freedom, tenure, and the constitutional rights of students, faculty, and staff in Florida’s colleges and universities: Click here to oppose HB 999
SB 266—the Senate companion to HB 999—is being heard in committee next week on Wednesday at 11:30 AM! Members near Tallahassee are encouraged to attend the committee meeting and speak against the bill. Contact our office to coordinate with our team if you are able to appear in person to testify about how this bill will harm higher education. The hearing will be in the Appropriations Committee on Education, 04/12/23, 11:30 am, 412 Knott Building.
If you cannot attend the meeting, please use the link below to contact the committee and tell them to vote NO on SB 266: Click here to oppose SB 266
This week was a mix of good and bad news across Florida’s political landscape. In good news, HB 999 and SB 266 have stalled for another week, meaning we have more time to organize against these horrible attacks on tenure and academic freedom.
Sign the Petition!
Click here to sign a petition organized by students against HB 999 and SB 266.
This week in the Florida Legislature was somewhat slower for higher ed. Neither HB 999 nor its Senate companion, SB 266, were scheduled in committee, meaning we have another week to continue our opposition to these horrible attacks on tenure and academic freedom. Check out the attached UFF Week 3 Legislative Update to see what happened with the anti-union SB 256 and to find opportunities to become more engaged in the struggle to protect our union and our beloved higher education system.
Click here to email the members of the House State Affairs Committee and ask them to oppose anti-union HB 1445
Together, we are making a difference, and it is together that we will continue to find our voice among the clamor of anger and bitterness that rings unchecked from Tallahassee. Onward!
This week was a busy one in the Florida legislature, with various anti-freedom laws advancing at a rapid pace through committee. Check out the attached “Week 2 UFF Legislative Update” to learn about which higher ed and union bills are moving and how you can take action to oppose them.
Thank you to all of the local leaders who traveled to Tallahassee and those who live in town who showed up at the legislature to speak truth to power! When we stand together, our voice is strong, and there is no doubt that elected leaders heard our opposition to their anti-democratic, fascist policies this week!
In the midst of all the bad news coming out of Tallahassee these days, let’s be sure to spread the good news far and wide as we join with our state and national allies to make a difference for the better:
1. On Thursday, the Eleventh Circuit issued an order denying a stay of the injunction in Pernell, the suit against Gov. DeSantis’s “STOP WOKE” act. This means the law will remain enjoined as applied to higher ed while the appeal continues. It’s not a final decision, but it is a promising indication that the injunction may be upheld permanently.
2. Statements of support for academic freedom in Florida continue roll in from across the country. We are not alone in this fight!
3. Yesterday, the Florida Education Association, the Florida Freedom to Read Project, and Families for Strong Public Schools filed a challenge to the DeSantis administration’s actions that shutter classroom libraries and undermine public education. We don’t ban books in America, and it’s time the Gov. and his cronies were reminded of that fact!Week-2-UFF-Legislative-Update
HB 999 has been scheduled to be heard in Florida House Committee on Monday 3/13/2023 at 3:00pm ET. It’s worse than the original (see below). We need you to take action to stop this bill! As higher education professionals, we are the experts on how this bill will harm Florida’s students, economy, and communities. The legislature needs to hear from us immediately!
Here are 3 quick steps you can take right now to make sure that our voices are heard in the legislature:
- Email the House Committee members using this convenient contact tool: http://www.feaweb.org/999
- Let your local legislator know how you feel about this bill: https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/findyourrepresentative
- Share this message with members of your community
- What is a committee substitute? It’s basically an amendment that already has the support of a number of members of the committee; in this case, it replaces significant aspects of an already bad bill with even worse language for academic freedom, tenure, and hiring.
- Why is it worse than the original? Based on our reading of the bill and insights from Yale Olenick and Alexis Montalvo, two members of FEA’s Public Policy Advocacy team, this “committee substitute” expands the elimination of majors and minors in ways that would dramatically impact majors in most of the humanities, as well as programs in law, criminal justice, medicine, and more. Tens of thousands of faculty and students would be harmed. You can read that new language here, lines 78-91. Its language about tenure and hiring are deeply concerning, continuing the legislature’s attempt to eliminate academic freedom.
- What else can you do?
- Join us for biweekly UFF Statewide Action Meeting, where we will be dedicating time to make contact with legislators.
- Sign up for FEA/UFF Power Hours weekly on Tuesdays at 5:30 pm ET to get updates on the legislative session, take action, and build power, all in 60 minutes: http://feaweb.org/powerhour
Now is not the time to cower—it is the time to stand up, speak truth to power, and advocate for our freedoms! Join us today in advocating for our students, campuses, and communities.