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Florida Keys parents are closely monitoring the development of Florida Senate Proposal 86. Moreover, the amendments to the bill governing the Bright Future Bursary program were dramatic.

Initially, Ocala’s state Sen. Dennis Baxley suggested eliminating unwanted majors, which he called “unwanted,” or which do not lead to job possibilities. Students receiving Bright Futures bonds would not receive funding. He walked it back in the Education Subcommittee on Appropriations on March 23 and proposed that he keep the list and give students reduced funds to those majors, but students studying “desirable” majors were to receive all financing.

Bright Futures, funded by Florida Lottery since 1997, is a credit-base scholarship for high school students.

Nearly 112,000 students, according to the State, qualified during the 2019-2020 school year for Bright Futures and received about $618 million in financial aid.

In 2023, if Senate Bill 86 were to become law.

At present the tuition grant — be it 100% or 75% — for the typically 120 hours required for the four-year college diploma if a student receives a Bright Futures Bursary. However, if a high school student had already earned college credits in dual or advanced training courses, Baxley proposed reducing the number of college credits.

Sen. Baxley and advocates for this new bill declare the relationship between academic research and business and reinforces the merit aspect of the grant.

“At this time we have a number of students identified as inextricably linked, which is why the two worlds—the economy and the education model—we have been so ambitious to work towards bringing them closer together,” says Sen. Baxley.

This year’s seniors already face a major obstacle: In 2019, the legislature increased the standard test scores required for elderly graduates in 2021. In 2021 students must have received 100 percent or 29 SAT scores and those who have obtained 75 percent scores must have received 1210 SAT scores and 25 ACT scores. The test scores required are an enormous jump from previous demands which were last modified in 2011.

Students are also required to have a GPA of 3.5 or 3.25 community hours.

Until half-summer, when Bright Futures bursaries are confirmed, students have to produce the required test results. The pandemic has however significantly reduced the possibilities for testing during the academic year 2020-2021. The Weekly of Keys heard a lot of anecdotal stories from Keys students taking tests in conjunction with continental students, which canceled ACT and SAT tests because of COVID-19 scores. Test dates were even limited in the keys in comparison with previous years.

The State Education Committee was adopted by Senate Bill 86 and the Subsection of Education Appropriations. It goes alongside the Committee on Appropriations. But the State House of Representatives does not have an accompanying bill, and whether it will be proposed at this time is unknown. It can’t be signed into law without a House Bill.

 

The Florida Senate has already stalled a law which would make substantial changes to property insurance, but continues to progress in the House.

Senate Bill 76, inter alia, would modify the existing insurance practice of fully compensating the replacement (say by hurricane) of a damaged roof for the replacement value. A metal roof of more than 10 years would be refunded only at 70 per cent of the original bill, suggested by Sen. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton. Other roof types would be quickly depreciated.

Since 11 March, Senate Bill 76 has been on the Regulations Committee. The Insurance & Banking Sub-committee adopted a similar bill on the House side on 23 March.

They also seek to limit proceedings against insurance undertakings. It also proposes that legal fees and the ability of the citizen to begin a litigation be limited from three to two years after the harmful event. Conversely, Florida’s homeowners are facing increased premiums for property insurance in the hurricane-prone state and are told better means of containing litigation without hurting Florida.

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