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USF consolidation bill slated for Tuesday stop in final House committee

Expect to see some amendments aimed at appeasing those in St. Petersburg who've expressed wariness about a system merger.
A view of the USF St. Petersburg campus from Sixth Avenue S. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]
A view of the USF St. Petersburg campus from Sixth Avenue S. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]
Published Feb. 26, 2018|Updated Feb. 26, 2018

The hefty higher education bill that would mandate a consolidation of the University of South Florida System is scheduled for its final committee stop in the Florida House on Tuesday afternoon.

The House Education committee will meet for a few hours starting at 1:30 p.m. to discuss House Bill 423, among a few other things. As covered here, those familiar with the legislation expect to see some amendments aimed at appeasing those in St. Petersburg and Pinellas County who've expressed distrust of the powers that be in Tampa.

The bill would require USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota-Manatee to phase out their separate accreditation and unite with USF Tampa under one accreditation umbrella.

Should the bill pass through the committee, it would then head to the House floor. House lawmakers would begin negotiating with the Senate, which has already passed its version of the higher education package without any specific language related to USF.

Catch up on Times coverage of the potential consolidation here:

Jan. 16: In major shift, House bill would turn three USF universities into one

Jan. 17: USF consolidation proposal gets no pushback in Florida House committee

Jan. 18: In St. Petersburg, skeptics sneer at plan to concentrate USF power in Tampa

Jan. 19: USF leaders move to calm fears over consolidation plan

Jan. 24: USF President Genshaft sees "significant benefits" in consolidation proposal

Jan. 25: Another thumbs-up for USF consolidation plan, now from Florida's higher education board

Jan. 26: Opposition to USF consolidation proposal simmers in St. Petersburg

Feb. 6: USF consolidation proposal advances another step in Florida House

Feb. 9: As USF raises its standards, can a B student still get in?

Feb. 20: Under a potential USF consolidation, what could help appease St. Petersburg skeptics?

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