Dear Fellow Advocates,
This past Tuesday in the Senate Education Committee, Florida PTA spoke in opposition to an amended SB 86, the “Bright Futures” bill sponsored by Senator Dennis Baxley. We had been expecting the Senator to rewrite his bill in the form of a “delete all” amendment, and he did in fact file such an amendment late Monday morning. The Legislation Committee spent much of that afternoon pouring through the rewrite line by line to see if the bill’s most objectionable provisions had been eliminated.
Sadly, our hopes were dashed: SB 86 still puts the financial stability of students and their families at risk by tying Bright Futures funding to a student’s choice of major, by financially penalizing recipients who take college-level courses in high school, and by making the scholarship amount dependent on the judgment of legislators each and every legislative session. While the bill does create two new financial aid programs that Florida PTA can support because they increase access to postsecondary study for students in economically fragile circumstances, we cannot allow these good proposals to overshadow the fact that the Senator’s language regarding Bright Futures hurts students and hurts families.
The next stop for SB 86 will be next Tuesday in the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education. We will be reaching out in particular to those of you who live in the districts of Senators who sit on this Subcommittee, and we will be asking you to raise your voice loudly in opposition to the bill as it stands. Local constituent feedback is much more effective as an advocacy tool than an email, tweet, or phone call from someone across the state.
Those of you who live in other districts should feel free to contact your own state Senator as well. There is no current House companion bill to SB 86, and with your pressure on the Senate, perhaps there never will be. Below are the members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education. Click each link to email each Senator to urge them to oppose SB 86 and protect Bright Futures.
Thanks to each of you, as always, for standing up for our common mission. Together, we can keep Florida’s future bright and “make every child’s potential a reality” by stopping SB 86.