Education and insurance bills are sent to the Florida governor

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©2024 The News Service of Florida

A controversial proposal about teacher preparation programs and a measure aimed at moving policies out of the state’s Citizens Property Insurance Corp. were among 28 bills formally sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday.

Teacher-prep limitations

One of the bills (HB 1291) would bar teacher-preparation programs at colleges and universities from teaching “identity politics” or offering lessons “based on theories that systemic racism, sexism, oppression, and privilege are inherent in the institutions of the United States and were created to maintain social, political, and economic inequities.”

Democrats argued during this year’s legislative session that the bill would threaten to chill teachers’ speech.

But bill sponsor Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, contended during a Senate debate that “this (bill) is about how teachers are taught to teach.

Not the content of what they’re teaching.”

Citizens depopulation

Meanwhile, the insurance bill (HB 1503) that went to DeSantis would affect a “depopulation” program aimed at shifting policies from Citizens to private insurers.

The proposal could lead to non-homesteaded properties being taken out of Citizens by “surplus lines” carriers.

Currently, the depopulation program involves what are known as “admitted” insurance carriers, which face state regulation on issues such as rates.

Surplus lines carriers don’t face the same regulations and often insure risky properties.

Among a series of education-related bills sent to DeSantis, one measure (SB 7032) would establish the Graduation Alternative to Traditional Education, or GATE, program to help people who have dropped out of high school.

The program would waive “100 percent of the registration, tuition, laboratory, and examination” fees at state colleges and career centers and provide free instructional materials for students who participate.

People in the program would have to maintain at least a 2.0 grade-point average and finish within three years of enrolling.

DeSantis has until May 10 to sign, veto or allow the bills to become law without his signature.

The bills passed during the legislative session that ended March 8.

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