Legislature Puts Students First

Florida Chamber-Backed “Excellence in Higher Education” Legislation Passes 35-1 in Senate Session

A Florida Chamber of Commerce-backed education bill, the Florida Excellence in Higher Education Act, sponsored by Sen. Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton) passed today 35-1 on the Senate floor.

In order for Florida to remain one of the nation’s top business climates, the Florida Chamber believes we must adequately prepare our students to enter the workforce. The Florida Excellence in Higher Education Act, SB 2, will:

  • Establish tuition and fee incentives through a block tuition policy;
  • Promote on-time student graduation;
  • Responsibly increase student financial aid and tuition assistance;
  • Establish a World Class Faculty and Scholar Program;
  • Establish a university professional and graduate degree excellence program to promote the prominence of Florida graduate schools; and
  • Link education to job opportunities by providing internship opportunities to students.

As Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber often says, talent is quickly becoming Florida’s best economic development tool. The Florida Chamber thanks Senate President Joe Negron and the members of the Senate for putting students first.

What’s Next For This Bill?

The Florida House will soon begin discussing its versions of the legislation – which are comprised in House Bill 3 and House Bill 5. Both bills have been referred to the House Post Secondary Education Subcommittee, and are awaiting a hearing date. The Florida Chamber will continue to monitor the progress of this important legislation and keep you updated on any new developments.

Learn more about where the Florida Chamber stands on these and other education issues.

Senate President Joe Negron Names Nine Constitution Revision Commission Appointees

This morning, Florida Senate President Joe Negron (R-Stuart) appointed nine members to the upcoming Constitution Revision Commission (CRC), a Florida-only committee that has the ability to place constitutional amendments directly on the ballot. Sen. Negron’s appointees are:

  • Don Gaetz, Former Senate President
  • Anna Marie Hernandez Gamez, Attorney
  • Patricia Levesque, CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd)
  • Sherry Plymale, Former Chair of the State Board of Community Colleges
  • William “Bill” Schifino, Jr., President of The Florida Bar for the 2016-2017 term
  • Chris Smith, Former State Senator
  • Bob Solari, Indian River County Commissioner
  • Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, Former Teacher and Mayor of Sewall’s Point.
  • Carolyn Timmann, Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller of Martin County

These nine individuals will join:

  • Attorney General Pam Bondi
  • Hank Coxe, Attorney and Former Bar President
  • Arthenia Joyner, Former State Senator
  • Roberto Martinez, Former U.S. Attorney

There are 24 other as-yet unnamed appointees in this important body, slated to come from Governor Rick Scott and House Speaker Richard Corcoran.

“It is clearly evident how much thought Senator Negron has put into his CRC selections. He has chosen some great individuals who understand what Florida needs to secure its future and who have worked for years to make Florida a better place. The Florida Chamber of Commerce congratulates Senator Negron and thanks him for his appointees.”

Marian Johnson, Senior Vice President of Political Strategy, Florida Chamber of Commerce


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To learn more about the CRC, including biographical information about the individual appointees as they are announced, click here.

The Florida Chamber Testifies for Better Higher Education Opportunities

During the second committee week of the 2017 legislative session, Brittney Hunt, Director of Talent, Education and Quality of Life Policy for the Florida Chamber of Commerce, testified before the Senate Education Committee in support of quality higher education opportunities for students.

“Providing greater access to post-secondary education and identifying and closing the skills gap are some of our top priorities and the Florida chamber is proud to support SB 2 and SB 4,” said BRITTNEY HUNT. “Florida must be adequately preparing our students to enter the workforce, as well as focusing on attracting and retaining world class talent.”

In fact, Florida Jobs 2030 (being released next week) is a research report from the Florida Chamber Foundation that will analyze gaps between what the jobs of the year 2030 will look like, and what skills will be required to succeed.

“Students will need to be prepared for the future, and the Florida Chamber thanks Senate President Joe Negron and Senator Bill Galvano for making higher education and closing the skills gap a main focus of their education conversations,” said HUNT.

What’s next for these bills?