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School vouchers expansion goes to Governor

The bill would use state money to pay for as many as 18,000 students to attend private schools.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday formally received a major education bill that includes the addition of a new school vouchers program.

DeSantis will have until May 21 to act on the bill (SB 7070) and is expected to sign it. In part, the bill calls for creating the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program, which would use state money next year to pay for as many as 18,000 students to attend private schools.

Supporters argued that the bill, which received final approval last week from the House, would give parents the ability to choose the best schools for their children. But many Democrats said it would strip money from public schools.

The bill also includes a series of other education changes, such as revamping the Best and Brightest teacher-bonus program.

Also Monday, DeSantis received a bill (SB 7098) that would carry out a constitutional amendment, known as Amendment 7, passed by voters in November.

The bill would set death benefits that would be paid if law-enforcement officers, firefighters, other first responders and military members are killed while on duty.

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