Education Bills Highlight Differences Among Republican Leadership

Apr 25, 2014

House Speaker Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel), left, shakes hands with Senate President Don Gaetz (R-Niceville).
Credit Florida House of Representatives

State Senate President Don Gaetz likes to introduce House Speaker Will Weatherford as the “taller, smarter, better-looking version of the Weatherford-Gaetz” duo. Their alliance has led to the quick passage of legislation like last year's ethics reform package and this year's sex offender bills. But on several education bills, the two diverge.

Gaetz, a former school superintendent, does not support bills to expand the state's voucher program - unless students take standardized tests - or to restrict school districts' ability to negotiate with charter schools: both of these measures are priorities for Weatherford . But while Weatherford takes a staunchly conservative position on issues like expanding Medicaid, which he vocally opposed last year, he supports allowing undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition at state universities and colleges, a measure Gaetz does not endorse.

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Host Tom Hudson speaks with panelists Sammy Mack, Tim Padgett and Alicia Zuckerman of WLRN and Marc Caputo and Jenny Staletovich of the Miami Herald.