Florida's Republican Gov. Rick Scott has signed a bill that will allow students who are undocumented immigrants to qualify for the same in-state tuition as their classmates at the state's colleges and universities.
The Tampa Bay Times reports
that Scott quietly signed House Bill 851, but without a formal bill signing, he was able to prevent House Republicans who championed the legislation from publicly declaring a victory.
Instead Scott took to the campaign trail across the state to show how his controlled tuition policies are the opposite of his likely re-election opponent, former governor Charlie Crist, the paper says.
"We're going to talk about legislation I signed this weekend to stop Charlie Crist's 15 percent annual tuition increases," Scott said during a morning appearance on WINK-TV in Fort Myers, the Times reports.
"Students that grew up in our state are going to get the same in-state tuition as their peers, which is what's fair."
The immigrant tuition bill had hit a roadblock until two former Republican governors, Jeb Bush and Bob Martinez, urged the state Senate to take action on what has become known as "dreamer" students.
Scott, the report says, initially opposed the move but later supported it because it also freezes tuition at current rates.
Republican Sen. Jack Latvala is the legislator who finally got the bill to a vote. He told the newspaper he understood Scott's move. "I think that they just made a conscious decision that they don't really want to do bill signings and mix them up with campaign things," the paper quoted Latvala.
The report also adds that Scott's campaign started running a TV ad that criticizes Crist for signing legislation that allowed colleges to raise tuition.
Scott made a stop in Fort Myers Monday
to talk about his plans to help lower college costs.
"I want to make sure every child can afford their education, whatever country you're from, whatever family or zip code, and then once you're finished, I want to make sure you can get a job," Wink News reports Scott saying. "And that's what we're doing. We're gonna hold the line on tuition. We're gonna make sure everybody can get a job in our state."
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