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Marathon Debate Ends In Passage of Tenure Bill

April 9th, 2010 by Mike Vasilinda

For more than 9 hours last night and into the wee hours of this morning, the Florida House debated the most controversial bill of the year. Senate Bill six ends tenure for teachers and creates a system of merit pay. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, more than half of the house spoke before a closer than expected vote.

Julio Robaina was one of just a few Republicans who ended up speaking out against one of the top priorities of party leadership. He chided other GOP members for not voting their conscience.

You know what, I didnt come here to be threatened, or to be told what to do,” Robaina said.
“I didnt even come up here to make friends.

Amendments were voted down. Elaine Schwartz worried about the 900 million that will come out of school budgets for test development and merit pay.

Wheres that money going to come from? Guess where a rise in property taxes, Rep. Elaine Schwartz (D-Miami) said.

Others said teachers shouldnt be judged on a kids performance because those teachers have no control over the childs home life.

It is difficult to learn when youre hungry,” Rep. Geraldine Thompson (D-Orlando) said.

But the 67th speaker of the night didnt buy that argument.

I fundamentally disagree with that,” Rep. Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel) said. “Nothing could be further from the truth. Every child, every student can learn.”

By 2:26 a.m., the vote was much closer than most expected.

The bill was sent to the governor, where its future is uncertain, despite what legislative leaders say they were led to believe.

I believe that this legislation, the governor should want to sign,” House Speaker Larry Cretul said. “I take him at his word that he will.

The campaign for both sides will now shift to the governors office.

The bill landed on the governors desk this morning. He has seven days to sign, veto or do nothing and let the legislation become law without any action.

Posted in Charlie Crist, Children, Economy, Education, Legislature, Property Taxes, State Budget, State News | 3 Comments »

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