Major education bill goes to Gov. Scott

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida lawmakers Friday sent to Gov. Rick Scott a controversial education bill that would expand the use of voucher-like scholarships to send students to private schools and could force some teachers’ unions to disband if they do not meet new membership requirements.

The measure (HB 7055) would provide state-funded scholarships to send bullied students to private schools.

It also would allow businesses that have commercial leases to divert sales taxes they pay on those leases to a program that pays for services or private-school tuition for disabled students.

One of the most contentious provisions in the bill would require teachers’ unions to seek recertification if their membership falls below 50 percent of the group they represent in contract negotiations.

Scott now has two education bills that were the top priority of legislative leaders.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, supported HB 7055, while Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, supported a higher-education bill (SB 4) that was sent to Scott on Tuesday.

Assuming the Legislature adjourns the annual session on Sunday, Scott will have until March 24 to act on the House bill.

He has until March 21 to act on the Senate bill.