HB 7055 arrives in Senate messages, will face committee review

The Florida House had aimed to push the controversial measure through as a budget caveat.
State Senator Rob Bradley
SCOTT KEELER | TIMES State Senator Rob Bradley
Published Feb. 15, 2018

One of the Florida House's most contentious bills of 2018 won't skate by without more public review.

HB 7055, which House leadership tried to tie directly to per-student funding, arrived in the Senate on Wednesday. It quickly was assigned to two key committees for discussion and possible amending.

Its first stop is to be Education, chaired by Sen. Dorothy Hukill, followed by a hearing in Appropriations, headed by Sen. Rob Bradley.

Bradley was the first senator to express dissatisfaction publicly with the House approach to the measure, which sits at just under 200 pages and encompasses several education issues including new tax credit scholarships, computerized testing changes and added teacher union requirements.

He particularly bristled at the notion of tying policy to budget.

"You've made the stakes (about) are we going to get to go home on time and have a budget completed, rather than if this is a good idea or not for the people of the state of Florida?" he said.

The Senate refused to tie the bill into budget conferencing, insisting it stand on its own.

What happens next, though, is anyone's guess. The Senate does have many supporters of the House policy initiatives. But it also has its own related legislation that doesn't always seek to do the same things in the same way.

So far, HB 7055 has not been scheduled for hearings in either of the Senate committees. The legislative session has three weeks to go.