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Immigrant tuition bill won't get held up in committee, senators say

A controversial bill that would allow some undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates at colleges and universities will be heard in the Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee next week, Subcommittee Chairman Bill Galvano said Thursday.

The news came as a relief to Sen. Jack Latvala, the Clearwater Republican sponsoring the proposal.

"I have been certain all along that I had enough votes on the floor of the Senate to pass the bill, but I haven't been real sure whether I was going to get each of the committee chairman that I needed to hear the bill to do that," Latvala said.

Galvano, R-Bradenton, voted against the bill at its first committee stop. He initially hesitated to hear the proposal in his committee, but ultimately decided to let the Education Appropriations Subcommittee weigh in.

Latvala said Senate Appropriations Chairman Joe Negron would not hold up the bill, either.

Latvala plans to spend the next few days working on amendments that would bring the Senate version of the bill closer to the version that passed out of the House. (The Senate and the House have different language about the tuition differential, the amount universities can hike tuition over the rate set by the Florida Legislature.)

Latvala, who prides himself on his ability to count votes, also made a prediction Thursday: "26 votes for this bill out of 40 in the Senate."