Higher ed, beach funding teed up in Senate


With committee meetings scheduled to start next week in advance of the 2018 legislative session, senators are poised to take up higher-education and environmental issues that are priorities of Senate leaders.

The Senate Education Committee on Sept. 12 is slated to consider a higher-education bill (SB 4) that, in part, would require universities to develop “block” tuition plans and would make permanent expansions in Bright Futures scholarships and need-based aid programs, according to a meeting notice published Tuesday.

The bill, sponsored by Higher Education Appropriations Chairman Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, is a priority of Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart.

Meanwhile, the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee is slated Sept. 12 to take up a bill (SB 174), filed by Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, that would set aside at least $50 million a year to help address issues such as beach erosion.

The committee also is expected to take up a bill (SB 204), filed by Environmental Preservation and Conservation Chairman Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, that would lead to the state spending at least $75 million a year on springs projects and $50 million annually on projects related to the restoration off the St. Johns River and its tributaries or the Keystone Heights Lake Region.