Republican Gov. Rick Scott faces a deadline today on 21 bills that the Legislature passed during the 2016 session. Among them: A far-reaching education bill that includes several new policies intended to advance "school choice" in Florida public education.
HB 7029 was the product of more than a dozen different bills that lawmakers negotiated up through the final hours of session on March 11.
Most notably, it creates a framework for allowing open enrollment in public schools statewide -- giving students the ability to attend any school in the state so long as there is space available. If Scott signs the bill, that part of the new law would take effect in 2017-18; the remaining provisions would take effect this summer.
The bill would also let high school athletes have immediate eligibility when transferring schools, subject charter schools to more accountability and a new formula for receiving capital dollars, and codify performance funding formulas for Florida's 12 public universities and 28 state colleges -- among various other new policy changes. (Here's a full rundown of the bill's provisions.)
Also poised for Scott's action today are the session's major transportation package and proposed new laws affecting health care policy and Citizens Insurance.
With any bill, Scott has the option to sign it, veto it or let it become law without his signature.
He has vetoed only one bill so far this year: one that called for a referendum to create a utility board in Gainesville.
After today, Scott will have just three bills left to act on of the 272 that lawmakers passed during the 2016 session. Two require his action by Saturday and the final one -- a controversial bill reforming alimony and child custody arrangements -- is due for action by Tuesday.