Gov. Rick Scott said he will support a Senate bill granting in-state tuition to some undocumented immigrants because the bill also would prevent universities from raising tuition above what lawmakers approve, according to the Associated Press.
Lawmakers have considered in-state tuition the past several years, but the bill has never made it through both the House and the Senate in the same year. House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, supports in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants and Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater has introduced the bill in the Senate.
Standing in the way is Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, who said he opposes the bill for those in the country illegally.
The debate over in-state tuition for certain students who entered the country illegally has been a perennial one in Tallahassee. Similar bills passed the House and Senate but never in the same year. But this year the measure appears to be gaining broader support.
Weatherford has come out for granting in-state tuition to Florida high school graduates who have entered the country illegally, but Senate President Don Gaetz has said he is opposed to the proposal.
At least fifteen other states have passed such laws, with another seven considering them this year. The trend reflects immigrant advocates’ increasing focus on state legislatures as Congress fails to make any headway on national immigration reform. It also highlights lawmakers’ growing recognition of the influence of Latino voters.