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Scott signs 'Dreamer' tuition bill, starts campaign swing

Gov. Rick Scott on Monday signed legislation that allows students who are undocumented immigrants to qualify for less expensive in-state tuition at Florida colleges and universities. The bill (HB 851), sponsored by Rep. Jeannette Nunez, R-Miami, was one of the most intensely debated during the 2014 legislative session in Tallahassee.

Scott signed the bill as he embarked on a week-long campaign swing focusing on his support for keeping higher education affordable in Florida, whille criticizing Democratic opponent Charlie Crist for having supported tuition hikes when he was a Republican governor. Scott plans stops in Fort Myers, Boca Raton, Miami, Orlando and Pensacola.

The immigrant tuition bill passed the House 84-32 but was stalled in the Senate until Scott enlisted the public support of two former Republican governors, Jeb Bush and Bob Martinez, both of whom called on the Senate to take action. "Dreamer" students, dressed in orange mortar boards, were a freqent presence in the Capitol Rotunda this past spring as they rallied support for the measure.

Early on in the session, Scott was careful to express his support for the bill only because it also freezes tuition at current rates. But crafty legislators tied the tuition freeze to the more controversial provision that grants residency for tuition purposes to undocumented students. Republican Sen. Jack Latvala of Clearwater maneuvered the legislation to a successful floor vote, and while Senate President Don Gaetz personally opposed the bill, he did not stop it from being considered.

Only the University of Florida and Florida State University have the flexibility to impose tuition increases, and the bill lowers it from 15 percent to 6 percent at both flagship universities.


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This, along with the news about the Herald Poll and the negative impact about Charlie's Cuba flub, and his team and the Democrats might need to start worrying...

ed jenkins

The only bill that the citizens want regarding illegal aliens and university is that the universities must turn them in to the authorities for deportation when they become aware that they are involved in the universities.

The voters have been won over by this scott after they initially doubted him as a political novice thanks to his exemplary fiscal stewardship but actions such as this threaten to damage the great amount of goodwill that this scott has generated.

As this oddly named commentor has pointed out democrat primary voters are worried because their party leaders continue to ignore them and give party leader preferred status to the scumbag crist, a Trojan horse sent by republicans to ensure their easy victory as the much predicted crist campaign meltdown has in fact occurred. The most horrible crist has already offended many in this area who were born in or have ties to cuba with his support for communist dictators and many other offensive behaviors and activities.

David J.

Talk about a flip-flop! Thanks for nothing Governor Scott. We trusted you to keep your word on the AZ immigration bill and you let us down.


Although I must wonder if the list of illegals getting in-state tuition will/might be used in some other manner???

Wouldn't that be a kicker... ICE, voter fraud, etc.

ed jenkins

I have no life. I spend my whole day bloviating on the herald website because I have nothing else to do and nobody will listen to me.

Tired of Political Games

People are so warped in their thinking, why should Illegal Aliens get any benefits that Legal Citizens should be receiving? Illegal or as the political jargon tries to disassociate them with that status by saying Undocumented are criminals they broke the law by entering our country and are putting a strain on the system so much now that it is detrimental. Not to mention that they are an insult to every individual who did the right thing by going through the legal process of becoming a legal citizen. I'm all for more people being allowed the opportunity to live the American Dream for what it is worth today but not Illegal Undocumented Aliens or their offspring who were born here due to their direct illegal entry into our country. They do not pay anything but sales tax because Illegal Undocumented Aliens are usually paid under the table so what is their true contribution? Nothing they take more than they could ever possibly contribute in any meaningful way!

David Garrido

Please stop the narrow minded bigoted comments, the things you are saying are completely disconnected from any sort of realistic, logical sort of thinking. You are spewing the same backwards ass rhetoric that has been said of immigrants for centuries. They are people for god's sake, look for a better life and many of the "offspring" had absolutely no choice in whether or not to stay in their country of origin seeing as they were mere infants or toddlers. Please put yourself in others shoes and don't be so quick to judge and label an entire group of HUMAN BEINGS as nothing more than parasitical nuisance to society.

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