By Jeffrey Schweers, Orlando Sentinel
TALLAHASSEE — The Florida House approved Friday two key pieces of legislation creating universal taxpayer-funded vouchers for use at private schools and sweeping lawsuit limits designed to benefit insurance companies and other businesses.
The bills are now teed up for Senate approval, which could come as soon as next week as the Legislature moves quickly through a regular session guided largely by the agenda of Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The bills received overwhelming support from the Republican-dominated House, which voted 83-27 for the voucher bill (HB 1), and 80-31 for the lawsuit bill (HB 837).
House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, said it was great to wrap up the second week of the session with “two bills that were so transformational.”
School vouchers for all
Opponents of the voucher bill, most of them Democrats, raised concerns about sweeping money out of the public school system and subsidizing private education, in some cases for children of wealthy parents.
“Everyone believes in the concept of parental choice,” said Rep. Robin Bartleman, D-Weston, but she then cited the Florida Constitution, which states that public education is a fundamental right that should be uniform, safe and of high quality.
“This bill and voucher program doesn’t create a uniform system as required,” Bartleman said. “All these private schools taking tax dollars do not play by the same rules as public schools.”
Private schools don’t follow the same standards as public schools, she said. Nor do they have to meet the same safety requirements as charter and public schools, she said.
Read the full article here: Florida House approves school voucher, lawsuit limit bills – Orlando Sentinel