Florida Five: GOP call to lower ‘differential tuition’ rate, New ‘GI Bill’ to bring more vets to state

Have a look at the news in Friday’s Florida Five lineup:

Call to lower “differential tuition” rate: The Legislature would reduce the leeway universities have to set their own tuition rates under a proposal being advanced by the leaders of the House and Senate. As part of the “Work Plan Florida 2014” agenda laid out Wednesday by House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, and Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, state universities would see the “differential tuition” rates they can charge fall from 15 percent to 6 percent. Read more.

FL vets
Photo: Employ Florida

“Aggressive” GI Bill seeks to bring more vets to Fla.: Republican legislative leaders are pitching an aggressive state “GI Bill” that would attract more military veterans to Florida and attract more people to the Florida National Guard. The hefty proposals (HB 7015 and SPB 7020), which include spending $14.5 million a year for an expansion of free tuition for members of the National Guard, would create a non-profit to market Florida to former members of the U.S. military. Also, they would upgrade state armories, ease professional licensing for veterans and offer a waiver for all honorably discharged veterans from having to pay out-of-state tuition charges at state colleges and universities. Read more.

Bondi prepared to block lawsuit over same-sex marriage ban: Attorney General Pam Bondi said Wednesday that she is prepared to enter into one of the most divisive issues of the election year by joining in opposing a lawsuit that is asking a judge to throw out the state’s ban on gay marriage. “If I am asked, yes (she will intervene) because it is my obligation as attorney general,” she told reporters at the annual Associated Press Legislative Planning Summit in Tallahassee. “This is a constitutional amendment that voters passed by 60-something percent. My job is to defend that.” Read more.

Fla. to launch own health insurance exchange: Florida has famously spurned the Affordable Care Act, including its option to create a customized insurance-buying website connecting the state’s residents to federally subsidized policies. But, somewhat under the radar, the state has been readying an insurance exchange separate from Obamacare’s healthcare.gov. Read more.

BMS brings new jobs to Florida: Bristol-Myers Squibb held the grand opening of its North America Capability Center Thursday in Tampa with Gov. Rick Scott on hand for the festivities. Read more.

For more Florida news, visit BPR’s FLORIDA NEWS page.

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