Florida Legislature: Week 7 wrap-up

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As the 2019 legislative session winds to a close, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday advanced a bill that would create a new state-funded program to eliminate a waiting list for the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship for lower-income families.

The committee approved a significant “strike-all” amendment for SB 7070 proposed by the bill’s sponsor, Education Committee Chair Manny Diaz (R-Miami). The changes include increasing the income eligibility limit for families, putting the bill in line with income limits in a similar bill, HB 7075, being considered by the House.

Earlier in the week, the House Education Committee convened for the last time for this legislative session, dealing with two bills connected to education choice:

  • HB 7055, a career and technical education measure that would allow high school students to replace some graduation course requirements with others that are more closely aligned with career and industry goals
  • HB 1197, which would allow public colleges and universities to serve as alternate charter school authorizes, a role now designated to public school districts

Additionally, HB 7123, which would require school districts that have had successful voter referendums to share their additional funding with charter schools, passed its final committee in the House. An amendment added in the House Appropriations committee would require charter schools that receive a portion of these funds to use them for the intended purpose of the referendums.