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Cannon says "major" higher ed reforms not likely this year

In his opening remarks Tuesday, House Speaker Dean Cannon made the case for higher ed reform.

"If we are going to have a successful higher education system, we need to stop playing musical chairs with the governance structure and focus on implementing a modern, coordinated system for the State of Florida," said Cannon, a Winter Park Republican.

Speaking to reporters later in the day, Cannon said he would like to see lawmakers take on "strategic, big-picture issues" in higher education -- but said he did not have any specific reforms in mind.

He also didn't have a clear timetable.

"My goal... is to start the conversation," Cannon said. "It may or may not see legislation this year."

Cannon then added: "It is not likely that major reforms will happen this year, but I'm not closing the door to less-than-major reforms."

On those less-than-major reforms, Cannon said he would defer to Rep. Bill Proctor, R-St. Augustine, who chairs the House Education Committee.

"We spend a lot of dollars on higher education," Cannon said. "They should be spent as wisely as possible."