TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) — There’s been a small victory of sorts for those who support in-state tuition for undocumented immigrant students.
The Florida Senate is reviving a tuition break for some Florida high school graduates who are living in the country illegally.
The Senate on Tuesday waived its rules and agreed to consider the bill before the session ends this week. No one objected to the motion made by Sen. John Thrasher, a Republican from St. Augustine.The proposal (HB 851) was withdrawn from its committees without objection Tuesday morning. It is now scheduled to be heard Wednesday.
“Very pleased to announce that the Florida Senate just voted to add HB 851 and SB 1400 to tomorrow’s Special Order calendar!” tweeted Sen. Jack Latvala, the Clearwater Republican who sponsored the legislation. Senate Bill 1400 is the Senate companion to the bill.
The tuition break for students who are living in the country illegal has divided Republicans this session.
The measure passed the House but it is opposed by many top GOP senators. Sen. Joe Negron of Stuart used a procedural move to keep the bill from advancing.
But Gov. Rick Scott asked the Senate to consider the bill.
Granting in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants who came to Florida as children has been a key priority of House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, and was recently taken up by Gov. Scott after provisions to hold down tuition at state universities was added.
Under an amendment Latvala has filed to the bill, students who attend secondary school for at least three years before graduating from high school could get the far cheaper in-state tuition rates, regardless of their immigration status.
The measure would also strip most universities of their ability to ask the Florida Board of Governors to increase tuition 15 percent a year without legislative approval, an issue known as differential tuition. The University of Florida and Florida State University could still request the hikes, but the increases would be capped at 6 percent a year and could only be approved if the universities met certain standards in the bill.
Latvala has predicted a majority of senators will vote for the measure.
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