Senate Panel Backs Teachers’ Union Requirements

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday approved a far-reaching education bill that would let bullied students transfer to private schools and could force teachers’ unions to disband if they don’t meet new membership standards.

The proposals are part of a House bill (HB 7055) that is a priority of Speaker Richard Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican. In part, it contains a new state-funded “Hope Scholarship” program that would let bullied public-school students transfer to private schools or other public schools.

The scholarship program would be funded by letting Florida motorists voluntarily agree to contribute money to the program when they buy or register vehicles. The donations would act as a credit against the sales taxes motorists normally pay in vehicle transactions.

But the most contentious part of the debate Tuesday was over an amendment, sponsored by Sen. Dennis Baxley, an Ocala Republican, that would result in teachers’ unions losing state certification if their membership falls below 50 percent of the employees they represent in the collective-bargaining process.

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