The Florida Senate Committee on Education this morning narrowly passed legislation allowing in-state tuition to be offered to undocumented students.
The bill, Senate Bill 1400, sponsored by Sen. Jack Latvala extends in-state tuition to undocumented students by waiving the out-of-state fee.
The bill passed on a 5-to-4 vote meaning Latvala needed Democrat votes to get the bill out of the committee. Despite the closeness of the vote, Associated Industries of Florida commended the Senate panel for its work.
“AIF commends the Senate Committee on Education for passing legislation sponsored by Senator Latvala to allow certain undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition,” said AIF’s Senior Vice President of State & Federal Affairs Brewster Bevis.
Continued Bevis: “AIF supports improving our workforce through education reforms. Education is key to job creation and retaining a strong workforce for Florida’s businesses, and we look forward to this legislation advancing through the process.”
One disappointing note: Prior to the meeting, state Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto said she could not support the bill.
“I oppose forcing law-abiding Florida families to subsidize the tuition of those whose families’ first act in the U.S. was breaking our immigration laws,” she said in a statement before the meeting, according to the PoliticalFix.com. “SB 1400 creates incentives for illegal immigration and I will vote no when it comes to a vote in the Senate Education Committee this morning.”