ACLU, immigrant activists hold in-state tuition rally in capitol rotunda

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Immigrant rights advocates are joining a group of students at the Florida State Capitol on Tuesday to demand legislators pass a controversial bill allowing undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition at state colleges and universities.

The rally began at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday at the Capitol Rotunda.

Among the demonstrators will be representatives of the Florida chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Florida Immigrant Coalition and Reform Immigration for America.

They will be there to hand deliver more than 16,000 signed petitions from across Florida and around the country calling for the passage of SB 1400, which ends Florida students paying out-of-state tuition – rates that are three to four times higher than in-state tuition – simply because of immigration status. The national petition also asks Gov. Scott to “take a leadership role” in compelling Senate leaders to pass the bill.

SB 1400 would offer in-state tuition to students attending a Florida high school for three consecutive years prior to graduation, as well as requiring them to sign affidavits stating that they have or would apply for legalization.

Passed in the House earlier in the session, the bill has stalled in the Senate in the final days of the 2014 legislative session, which ends May 2.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.