Starting July 1, student loan defaults can no longer keep people from working in their fields of licensure, with state legislation having passed this year to protect those workers.
The legislation was bi-partisan, respectively sponsored by Democratic Rep. Nicholas Duran and Republican Sen. Travis Hutson
Students who qualify will have graduated from an “accredited college or university,” and the hope is this bill will allow them to “avoid falling into poverty” and perhaps “seeking public assistance.”
The bill passed the House by a unanimous vote and saw just one no vote in the Senate. Sen. Joe Gruters, the current chair of the Republican Party of Florida, worried the bill could be “rewarding people who are basically deadbeats.”
The legislation could prove pivotal for many, especially health care practitioners, who have seen their sources of income challenged during the economic turbulence of recent months.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, carrying similar legislation in the United States Senate, hailed the legislation Tuesday, saying it kept these workers out of what he deemed a “modern day debtors’ prison.”
Rubio “applauded … decisive action to protect those borrowers who are struggling to repay their student loans.”
“It is wrong to threaten a borrower’s livelihood by rescinding a professional license from those who are already struggling to repay student loans, and it deprives hardworking Americans of dignified work,” Rubio said.
The Senator vowed “to work with my colleagues to pass my bipartisan Protecting JOBs Act to fix this ‘catch-22’ and ensure that borrowers are able to continue working to pay off their loans, instead of being caught in a modern-day debtors prison.”
The “Keep Our Graduates Working Act,” which emerged as a committee bill during the 2020 Legislative Session in the House and Senate, mandates a moratorium on the suspension of professional licenses, certificates, and permits based solely on student loan delinquency or default.