House, Senate Divided Over In-State Tuition for Undocumented Immigrants

Mar 4, 2014

Credit Ben Stephenson via Flickr
Florida Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford disagree over a measure that would extend in-state tuition rates to undocumented immigrants. It's unclear who will prevail. Gaetz and Weatherford agree on most major policy areas, but not this one. Weatherford supports the proposal. Gaetz opposes it, but says the Senate is divided on the issue.

A Niceville Republican, Gaetz pointed to the many military bases and veterans in his Panhandle district, saying some of his neighbors moved there from other countries or have spouses from other countries. Gaetz says they immigrated "the right way." “I don’t know how I can go home and tell these law-abiding people that they have to step out of line, because there are some other people who have compelling stories who need to be first in line”, said Gaetz. But Gaetz hasn't said whether he'll stand in the way of letting the proposal move forward. On Wednesday, Senator Jack Latvala, a Clearwater Republican, rolled out a proposal that would allow students who've attended at least three years of high school in Florida to pay in-state tuition. "We're giving a break to veterans who may move into Florida just to go to school – we're letting them have in-state tuition", Latvala said. "Why should we not let kids that have lived in Florida for at least three years and gone to one of our schools have the same break?" A similar measure unanimously passed a House subcommittee earlier this month.