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Gaetz: Immigrant tuition will "very likely" be debated in Senate

Senate President Don Gaetz opposes a bill that would extend in-state tuition rates to undocumented students. 

But that doesn't mean it won't get a hearing in the Senate, he said in an interview with the Herald/Times this week.

“The issue will be very likely debated in the Senate," Gaetz said. "Where I goes, I don’t know.”

Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, is expected to file a bill next week that would allow some undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates.

Gaetz said the upper chamber is divided on the proposal. He said a proponent had conducted an informal poll, and determined that 18 senators support the measure.

The president's vote is "no," he said. 

That's partly because his district in northwest Florida includes several military bases. And children of military families cannot access in-state tuition at Florida colleges and universities if they are residents of other states, even if their parents are stationed in Florida.

“I don’t know how I explain to them that... we will subsidize families who didn’t play by the rules," Gaetz said.

The bill has the support of House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel.

Gaetz, who has been singing a lot of Kumbaya with the speaker these days, joked that it might be the only proposal on which he and Weatherford disagree.

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