Latvala files three amendments trying to revive DREAMer tuition measure

Matt Dixon, (@Mdixon55)

State Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, has filed amendments to three bills in an effort to revive a controversial proposal to offer in-state tuition rates to undocumented workers. (background)

State Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, said he would not hear the standalone bill in the Senate Appropriations Committee, which he chairs. As a result, Latvala is trying to tack the in-state tuition language onto a trio of bills that committee will hear Tuesday.

When Negron announced he was blocking Latvala’s bill, SB 1400, most viewed it as an impediment, but the issue was likely not dead. It’s a high profile priority for House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, and his chamber has already passed a version. Gov. Rick Scott has also put his support behind the bill.

The language is now a proposed amendment onto a bill, SB 1191, sponsored by state Sen. John Legg, R-Lutz, that deals with online learning at public universities; a large education-related bill, SB 950, authored by state Sen. Kelli Stargell, R-Lakeland; another Legg bill, SB 1394, dealing with industry certifications that can be earned by high school students.

The language would apply to all undocumented students who attended Florida high school for three years. Supporters say they don’t want to punish students who were brought to the United States illegally at a very young age by their parents.

The new language filed for the Legg bills also include a provision that decreases the amount Florida State University and the University of Florida can increase tuition with state approval from 15-6 percent. Scott has made a decrease in tuition one of his top priorities this year, and has cited that measure as one of the reason’s he is in support.

The bills will be among roughly 70 heard by the committee during an all-day session. Legg voted for the bill in previous committee stops, while Stargel was in opposition.

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