State Legislators Target Higher Education
BY DARYL LEVINE
The Washington, D.C., higher education community keeps close tabs on proposed congressional legislation. At the
same time, higher education administrators, including senior student affairs officers (SSAOs), need to pay attention
to legislation at the state level, where state representatives and senators are grappling with a multitude of issues that
affect colleges and universities.
A sampling of recent legislation that has been proposed by
state lawmakers or signed by governors covers issues as diverse
as tuition costs and the ability to carry weapons on campus.
Senate Bill SB 190 – An act to amend the public
education code relating to postsecondary education. This bill
requires action on executive compensation to occur within
the requirements of California’s open record laws. The bill
provides additional provisions for ensuring effective open
meeting procedures within the University of California and
California State University systems.
Status: Passed California legislature; awaiting
House of Representatives Bill 07-1026 – An act
concerning health insurance at institutions of higher education. This bill prohibits an institution of higher education in
Colorado from requiring undergraduate students to purchase
health insurance plans or any healthcare services. The bill
requires graduate students to do so.
Status: Signed by the governor.
Committee Substitute for the State of Florida
House of Representatives Bill HB 343 – An act relating to
public postsecondary need-based student financial assistance.
A component of this bill creates the Florida Public
Postsecondary Career Education Student Assistance Grant
(FCESAG) with $2.6 million in grant funding. Students who
attend a community college or a career center operated by a
local school district and who are seeking postsecondary or
career certificates are now eligible to obtain need-based grants
to cover educational costs. Students must be enrolled at least
half-time in a certificate program and must have submitted a
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Status: Signed by the governor.
Senate Resolution SCR8 – A resolution regarding
campus emergency response and crisis communication plans.
The Louisiana Senate adopted a resolution that urges and
requests Louisiana institutions of higher education to create
and implement comprehensive emergency response and crisis
communication plans for each campus. The Senate also
requested that campuses obtain assistance from the Louisiana
Commission on Law Enforcement, the Administration of
Criminal Justice, and other state and local first responders.
The Louisiana Board of Regents must submit a report on
campus plans to the Senate and House Committees on
Education prior to the next legislative session.
Status: Adopted by the Louisiana Senate and House.
House of Representatives Bill LD 1040 – An act to
increase college attainment. The Speaker of the House of
Representatives introduced and obtained passage of a bill that
would require a high school student to submit at least one
application to a college, university, or other postsecondary
institution to graduate from a secondary institution.
Status: Passed by the Maine House of Representatives;
awaiting Senate action.
House of Representatives Bill No. 4093 – A bill to
establish an undergraduate tuition waiver program for
certain qualified veterans of the armed forces. This bill
would allow colleges and universities in Michigan to
provide veterans with tuition waivers to obtain their college
degrees. Students must have been Michigan residents prior
to deployment for at least two years or they must have
become legal residents of Michigan following their service.
The veterans must have served in Operation Iraqi Freedom
or Operation Enduring Freedom, be enrolled full time, be
less than 60 years old, have lived in Michigan for 12
months before applying for the tuition waiver, and, if previ-