Governor Rick Scott has about two weeks to act on more than a 100 bills delivered to his desk Thursday. They include a bill granting in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants as well as a bill legalizing a mild strain of marijuana for medical purposes—a couple controversial measures Scott has already said he’ll sign.
In the last few days of Session, Scott said he’d sign the bill allowing doctors to prescribe a non-intoxicating strain of marijuana—nicknamed “Charlotte’s Web”—to help treat seizures.
“I’m a parent and Grandparent. I want to make sure my children and my grandchildren have the access to the health care they want. So, if it passes, I’m going to sign it,” said Scott.
Immigrant Tuition Bill
He also promised to sign a measure that would prohibit public colleges and universities from increasing tuition without legislative approval; the exceptions: Florida State University and the University of Florida.
That’s also the same measure that makes in-state tuition available for children of undocumented immigrants.
“If you’re a student that has a lot of money, maybe that doesn’t have a lot of impact on you, but I grew up in a family that didn’t have money for school. The fact that now our students will now be able to afford this is great! On top of that, students who grew up in this state were not getting in-state tuition. That was wrong,” added Scott.
And bill Sponsor, Rep. Jeanette Nuñez (R-Miami), says she’s grateful Scott backs the measure.
“Finally, after over a decade, we’ve been able to get the in-state tuition for those students who are undocumented,” said Nuñez. “And, so for all intents and purposes, these students that have been attending our public schools, many of them since Pre-K, since Kindergarten can now basically reach their full potential, their dreams of going onto college and being able to access affordable higher education in the state of Florida.”
Legislative Session Date
While Rep. Alan Williams (D-Tallahassee) likes that measure, he says he’s not in favor of a bill also authored by Nuñez that would have the 2016 legislative Session start in January. He says not only will it be bad for Tallahassee’s economy, he says it also be bad for the budget as a whole.
“We get a lot of our budgetary numbers in the first quarter in March. If Session is already over by March, we’re budgeting on third quarter numbers. We’re not budgeting on fourth quarter numbers that have come in through any of the sales tax dollars or things of that nature, and really understand what the full impact of a full calendar year of fiscal activity,” said Williams.
Other Bills Heading To Governor
Of the 105 bills, Scott also received a bill banning the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, another helping foster kids get a driver’s licenses, as well as a highly-debated measure that bans abortions past the 20th week of pregnancy, after the viability of a fetus has been determined. Current law prohibits most abortions around 26 weeks, or the third trimester.
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