Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida House clears a passel of education bills

TALLAHASSEE — From raising high school graduation standards to expanding a school voucher program, the Florida House on Thursday passed more than a dozen bills to change education policy in the state.

Lawmakers also approved a pharmacy doctorate program at the University of South Florida and resurrected a stalled effort to make civics a required class for middle school students. All of the bills await action by the Senate.

The civics requirement is championed by Rep. Charles McBurney, R-Jacksonville. It would apply to all middle school students beginning with those entering sixth grade in the 2011-12 school year.

Miami Republican Rep. Erik Fresen's bill to raise curriculum standards for high school students passed on a 75-42 vote after a long debate spurred by Democratic opposition.

Rep. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, made an impassioned plea for his colleagues to vote against the measure, which phases in algebra II and geometry as required math classes, and biology I and chemistry as required science classes.

"I commend in essence the effort," Bullard said, "but what we're doing, whether it's phased in or not, is going to result in a serious domino effect that you are not ready to deal with."

The other contentious bill was Wesley Chapel Republican Will Weatherford's measure to expand participation in the corporate income tax credit scholarship program, which gives low-income students money to attend private schools. The bill renames the program, which serves almost 24,000, and expands corporate participation by allowing companies who contribute to also forgo tax payments on insurance premium taxes.

Several Democrats argued the program takes money away from public schools, but it passed with some Democratic support at 95-23.

Other bills of note:

• HB 885, sponsored by Rep. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, requires state university health centers to become in-network providers for top insurance companies and then recover the costs of medical care from those health plans, thereby making it possible for health fees to be reduced or eliminated. It passed 111-7.

• HB 835, sponsored by Rep. John Legg, R-Port Richey, creates a Gifted and Academically Talented Task Force to track gifted students and makes other provisions to improve the development of gifted students. At the beginning of the session, Legg said this bill was a top priority for him. It passed 115-0.

Florida House clears a passel of education bills 04/23/09 [Last modified: Friday, April 24, 2009 12:29am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa lands Super Bowl in 2021


    Tampa's Super again. Or at least it will be soon.

    Mike Tomlin celebrates with LaMarr Woodley and Troy Polamalu after the Steelers beat the Cardinals in 

Super Bowl XLIII  on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. [Times files (2009)
  2. Spacewalking astronauts pull off urgent repairs at International Space Station (w/video)


    CAPE CANAVERAL — Spacewalking astronauts completed urgent repairs at the International Space Station on Tuesday, replacing equipment that failed three days earlier and restoring a backup for a vital data-relay system.

    In this NASA provided frame from video, NASA astronaut Jack Fischer works to install antennas at the International Space Station while astronaut Peggy Whitson, not pictured, works on repairs Tuesday, May 23, 2017. [NASA via AP]
  3. Forecast: Severe storms, gusty winds for Tampa Bay as cold front arrives Wednesday


    Muggy and dry conditions will prevail across the Tampa Bay region ahead of a cold front that could produce gusty winds and potentially severe storms late Wednesday.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  4. For starters: Rays vs. Angels, with Cobb leading the way


    Rays veteran RHP Alex Cobb had a lot to say Monday about the team needing to focus on getting past .500 and building a winning record.

    And after the disappointing 3-2 loss that …

    Alex Cobb will start tonight when the Rays play the Angels.
  5. Tampa murder suspect told police he wanted to stop neo-Nazi roommates from committing acts of domestic terrorism


    TAMPA — After he admitted to shooting two roommates and led police to their dead bodies, Devon Arthurs said he committed the killings to prevent the pair from carrying out terrorist acts, a prosecutor wrote in a court filing.

    Devon Arthurs, 18, told police  he shared neo-Nazi beliefs with his roommates, Jeremy Himmelman and Andrew Oneschuk, until he converted to Islam, according to a police report.
[Tampa Police]