Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Immigrant tuition bill inches closer to passage, but hurdles remain

TALLAHASSEE — A bill that would allow some undocumented students to pay in-state college tuition rates won the support of the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday.

But the proposal may be in trouble with Gov. Rick Scott.

Its sponsor, Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, said Tuesday that he plans to have the upper chamber "pass the House (version of the) bill."

Scott has only expressed his support for the Senate version.

The main difference between the two proposals has nothing to do with undocumented students. Instead, it lies in a separate provision regarding the so-called tuition differential.

The Senate language forbids universities from raising tuition above the rate set by the Florida Legislature. The House language allows for a differential of up to 6 percent.

Latvala said he had spoken with House and Senate leaders, and decided the House plan made more sense.

"I think everyone is in agreement on it," he said. "Maybe there are some small differences, but I believe we will work it out."

He plans to change the Senate bill at its next stop, he said.

But Scott, who considers holding the line on tuition one of his top priorities for the session, has made his opinion clear: He likes the Senate version of the tuition bill (SB 1400) because it "keeps college affordable for Florida's students."

Scott has said nothing about the House version of the bill. That proposal, by Rep. Jeanette Nuñez, R-Miami, has already passed the full House.

When asked Tuesday if he would sign the Nuñez proposal (HB 851), Scott reaffirmed his support for the Senate version.

He added: "I'm going to work with the Senate and the House to make sure we have a bill that lowers tuition for all Floridians."

The Senate version of the bill drew emotional public testimony Tuesday. One man from Santa Rosa County implored Republicans not to further divide the party by voting for the bill.

It passed out of the committee by a 7-2 vote.

Latvala, who was expecting the final outcome to be 5-4, said he was pleasantly surprised.

"We still have a way to go," he said. "But I feel very good about this bill."

Contact Kathleen McGrory at

Immigrant tuition bill inches closer to passage, but hurdles remain 04/01/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 12:02am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Delta Sigma Theta honors outgoing national president

    Human Interest

    During her four years as national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Paulette Walker said she always focused on the comma between "Sorority" and "Inc."

    Paulette Walker, the former director of undergraduate programs and internship in the College of Education at the University of South Florida, will be honored on Saturday for her leadership in the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
  2. 10 sailors missing, 5 hurt in collision of USS John S. McCain

    SEOUL —Ten U.S. Navy sailors are missing and five have been injured after the USS John S. McCain destroyer collided with an oil tanker near Singapore early Monday morning.

    In this Jan. 22, 2017, photo provided by U.S. Navy, the USS John S. McCain patrols in the South China Sea while supporting security efforts in the region. The guided-missile destroyer collided with a merchant ship on Monday, Aug. 21, in waters east of Singapore and the Straits of Malacca. Ten sailors were missing, and five were injured, the Navy said. [James Vazquez/U.S. Navy via AP]
  3. Pasco County Fire Rescue fighting a two-alarm fire started by an explosion


    Two houses are on fire and one victim has been critically burned and taken to a trauma center following an explosion at a home at 8652 Velvet Dr, in Port Richey.

  4. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  5. Bucs counting on better health creating better pass rush


    TAMPA — Ask Bucs coaches about the improved depth and health of their defensive line, and they'll look around for a piece of wood to knock on.

    Retired All-Pro defensive end  Simeon Rice, right, the last Buc to have double-digit sacks in a season,  works with defensive end Ryan Russell, who last season was promoted from the practice squad for the second half of the year as injuries piled up. He is competing for a backup job this year.