The anti-progressive concept known as universal school choice entered Florida today, with Gov. Ron DeSantis signing House Bill 1. At the signing of the bill, DeSantis stated that the new legislation marks the most significant extension of choice in education not only in this state but also in the history of the country. Florida ranks highly in education “despite” spending less per pupil than practically every other state.
According to Click Orlando, the new law provides eligibility for the state’s Florida Tax Credit Scholarship and Family Empowerment Scholarship to any citizen of Florida” qualified for K-12 public schooling. At the end of the day, DeSantis said, they firmly believe that money should follow the student and be directed depending on what the parent believes is the best suitable educational curriculum for their child.
According to the legislation, families would be able to spend up to $8,000 on education outside of public schools through new Education Savings Accounts. The amount is determined by necessity, with families of four earning less than $51,000 (or 186% of the poverty line) having first dibs for voucher funds. The second tier of cash is allocated to families with earnings that are less than 400% of the poverty threshold.
DeSantis said that there were others that said that parents don’t know what they’re doing. DeSantis said that universal school choice skeptics insult parents by assuming they don’t know what they are doing. DeSantis said you hear these insane claims, but most instructors will tell you that if a parent is involved in their child’s education, the child will perform far better.
Florida is the sixth state — all headed by Republicans — to fund comprehensive school choice, with Arizona leading the way in 2022. While the Republicans have been wise on public education policy, it remains to be seen if they can turn it into a winning issue among urban voters whose children are frequently locked in absolutely disastrous public schools.
The signing of the bill was not DeSantis’ only major reform victory. According to the Center for Law Reform, DeSantis and the Republican-led legislature passed the “largest legal reform bill in decades,” HB 837. The new legislation protects Florida consumers and companies against abusive billboard trial lawyer techniques by shielding small companies from huge penalties when they are not at fault.
In an effort to curb what many see as long-standing abuses of bad faith laws that have adversely impacted the insurance market within the state, Florida’s new tort reform law will significantly alter the state’s third-party bad faith law relating to the duties an insurance company owes its policyholders.
HB 837 was designed to help bring more homeowners insurance carriers into the state. Florida residents have seen huge increases in homeowners insurance with limited options. Both bills are considered big wins for DeSantis.