State lawmakers vote on immigration tuition bill

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- A heavily debated bill extending in state tuition to certain undocumented immigrants is moving forward in the legislature.

A Senate subcommittee heard the measure Wednesday sponsored by Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater. His bill saw strong opinions on both sides of the argument.

But, it ended up in an 8-5 vote passing the committee.

Some of those against the bill said it would affect U.S. citizens from being able to attend Florida schools. Those in favor said that's not the case and that the undocumented students pay state taxes just like everyone else and deserve this right.

"My cousin Adam from Arizona, if he wanted to come to Florida, he would have to pay out-of-state tuition rates and an illegal immigrant will get a better deal than my cousin Adam and that I think is wrong," said James Calkins, who spoke at the meeting.

"This will not cost the state of Florida any additional funding. Citizens in Florida will not pay the cost for undocumented students. If anything, we will gain tuition revenue," said Carlo Fassi, chair of the Florida Student Association.

"An 8-5 positive vote is a strong vote. I'm very pleased with the progress we're making and I still think were gonna pass it," Sen. Latvala said.

The bill now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee. A House version of it already passed on the floor.


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