Florida Senate - 2017                                     SB 668
       By Senator Bean
       4-00898-17                                             2017668__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to postsecondary distance education;
    3         creating s. 1000.35, F.S.; authorizing this state to
    4         participate in a reciprocity agreement for delivery of
    5         postsecondary distance education; providing
    6         definitions; establishing the Postsecondary Reciprocal
    7         Distance Education Coordinating Council within the
    8         Department of Education; providing a purpose;
    9         requiring the Commission for Independent Education to
   10         provide administrative support for the council;
   11         providing membership and duties of the council;
   12         requiring the council to propose an annual fee
   13         schedule and collect fees from Florida institutions
   14         participating in the reciprocity agreement; requiring
   15         the State Board of Education to approve the fee
   16         schedule; providing for deposit of such fees into a
   17         specified trust fund; authorizing the council to
   18         revoke a Florida institution’s participation in the
   19         reciprocity agreement for noncompliance; authorizing
   20         such institution to withdraw from participation in the
   21         reciprocity agreement after providing notice;
   22         exempting council decisions from the Administrative
   23         Procedure Act; providing that provisions relating to
   24         the jurisdiction of the commission are not superseded;
   25         requiring the state board to adopt rules; amending s.
   26         1005.06, F.S.; providing that the commission does not
   27         have jurisdiction over certain non-Florida
   28         institutions participating in the reciprocity
   29         agreement; amending s. 1005.31, F.S.; conforming a
   30         provision to changes made by the act; providing an
   31         effective date.
   33  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   35         Section 1. Section 1000.35, Florida Statutes, is created to
   36  read:
   37         1000.35Reciprocity agreement.—
   38         (1)The purpose of this section is to authorize this state
   39  to participate in a reciprocity agreement with other states for
   40  the delivery of postsecondary distance education. Each member
   41  state or institution participating in the reciprocity agreement
   42  must accept the accreditation standards and criteria of each
   43  other member state and institution participating in the
   44  reciprocity agreement to offer postsecondary distance education.
   45         (2)For purposes of this section, the term:
   46         (a)“Commission” means the Commission for Independent
   47  Education.
   48         (b)“Complaint” means a formal assertion in writing that a
   49  person, institution, state, agency, or other entity operating
   50  under the reciprocity agreement has violated the terms of the
   51  reciprocity agreement or the laws, standards, or regulations
   52  incorporated therein.
   53         (c)“Council” means the Postsecondary Reciprocal Distance
   54  Education Coordinating Council, which serves as the single
   55  portal agency designated by the state to administer the
   56  reciprocity agreement and serves as the interstate point of
   57  contact for questions, complaints, and other matters related to
   58  the reciprocity agreement.
   59         (d)“Department” means the Department of Education.
   60         (e)“Florida institution” means a postsecondary educational
   61  institution in this state approved by the council to participate
   62  in the reciprocity agreement.
   63         (f)“Institution” means a public or private postsecondary
   64  educational institution that is accredited by a federally
   65  recognized accrediting body and that awards, at a minimum,
   66  associate-level degrees requiring at least 2 years of full-time
   67  equivalent college coursework.
   68         (g)“Member state” means a state, territory, or district
   69  within the United States that has been approved to participate
   70  in the reciprocity agreement.
   71         (h)“Non-Florida institution” means an institution approved
   72  by a member state other than this state to participate in the
   73  reciprocity agreement.
   74         (i)“Reciprocity agreement” means an agreement that
   75  establishes reciprocity between member states to authorize
   76  institutions to offer postsecondary distance education in such
   77  states pursuant to the terms and conditions in the agreement.
   78         (j)“State board” means the State Board of Education.
   79         (3)The council is established within the department for
   80  the purpose of administering the reciprocity agreement, and
   81  except as otherwise provided in this subsection, shall operate
   82  consistent with s. 20.052.
   83         (a)The council shall consist of the Chancellor of the
   84  State University System, the Chancellor of the Florida College
   85  System, the Chancellor of the Division of Career and Adult
   86  Education, the Executive Director of the Commission for
   87  Independent Education, and the President of the Independent
   88  Colleges and Universities of Florida. The commission shall
   89  provide administrative support for the council.
   90         (b)The council shall:
   91         1.Apply for this state to participate as a member of the
   92  reciprocity agreement;
   93         2.Serve as the portal agency for the administration of the
   94  reciprocity agreement;
   95         3.Review and approve applications from institutions in
   96  this state to participate in the reciprocity agreement and
   97  establish an appeals process for institutions that are not
   98  approved to participate in the reciprocity agreement;
   99         4.Ensure compliance by Florida institutions with the terms
  100  and provisions of the reciprocity agreement;
  101         5.Comply with the terms and provisions of the reciprocity
  102  agreement relating to any member state, Florida institution, or
  103  non-Florida institution;
  104         6.Comply with the reporting requirements in the
  105  reciprocity agreement and post any required reports on the
  106  council’s website;
  107         7.Develop and administer a complaint resolution process
  108  for complaints related to the reciprocity agreement for which
  109  all available remedies at a Florida institution have been
  110  exhausted;
  111         8.Delegate any responsibilities, obligations, or
  112  authorities to the commission’s staff necessary for the
  113  administration of this state’s participation in the reciprocity
  114  agreement; and
  115         9.Recommend rules necessary to administer this section for
  116  adoption by the state board.
  117         (c)The council shall propose an annual fee schedule and
  118  collect fees from each Florida institution participating in the
  119  reciprocity agreement. The fees shall be commensurate with the
  120  costs incurred by the council and the commission for
  121  administering the reciprocity agreement. The council shall
  122  submit the proposed fee schedule to the state board for
  123  approval. The department shall include the approved fee schedule
  124  in its legislative budget request which takes effect unless
  125  revised in the General Appropriations Act. All fees collected
  126  pursuant to this paragraph shall be submitted through the
  127  department to the Chief Financial Officer for deposit into a
  128  separate account within the Institutional Assessment Trust Fund.
  129  Any fee authorized by the council is nonrefundable unless paid
  130  in error.
  131         (d)The council may revoke a Florida institution’s
  132  participation in the reciprocity agreement if the council
  133  determines such institution is not in compliance with the terms
  134  and provisions of the reciprocity agreement.
  135         (e)A Florida institution may withdraw from participation
  136  in the reciprocity agreement by submitting notice of its intent
  137  to withdraw to the council which shall become effective at the
  138  beginning of the next academic term after receipt of such
  139  notice.
  140         (f)Decisions by the council are not subject to chapter
  141  120.
  142         (4)This section does not supersede the requirements in
  143  chapter 1005 relating to postsecondary educational institutions
  144  under the jurisdiction of the commission.
  145         (5)The state board shall adopt rules to implement this
  146  section.
  147         Section 2. Paragraph (h) is added to subsection (1) of
  148  section 1005.06, Florida Statutes, to read:
  149         1005.06 Institutions not under the jurisdiction or purview
  150  of the commission.—
  151         (1) Except as otherwise provided in law, the following
  152  institutions are not under the jurisdiction or purview of the
  153  commission and are not required to obtain licensure:
  154         (h)Any non-Florida institution that has been approved by a
  155  member state to participate in a reciprocity agreement, as those
  156  terms are defined in s. 1000.35(2), entered into by the
  157  Postsecondary Reciprocal Distance Education Coordinating Council
  158  under s. 1000.35, and offers degree programs and conducts
  159  activities that are limited to distance education degree
  160  programs and activities in accordance with the reciprocity
  161  agreement.
  162         Section 3. Subsection (11) of section 1005.31, Florida
  163  Statutes, is amended to read:
  164         1005.31 Licensure of institutions.—
  165         (11) The commission shall establish minimum standards for
  166  the approval of agents. The commission may adopt rules to ensure
  167  that licensed agents meet these standards and uphold the intent
  168  of this chapter. An agent may not solicit prospective students
  169  in this state for enrollment in any independent postsecondary
  170  educational institution under the commission’s purview or in any
  171  out-of-state independent postsecondary educational institution
  172  unless the agent has received a license as prescribed by the
  173  commission or solicits for a postsecondary educational
  174  institution that is not under the jurisdiction of the commission
  175  pursuant to s. 1005.06(1)(h).
  176         Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.