Scott Signs Bill Giving Tuition Break to Vets

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Gov. Rick Scott is planning to sign the "Florida GI" bill aimed at helping veterans living in the state.

While some struggles are unique to men, others are similar to those military's wives face.

PANAMA CITY - Governor Rick Scott spent part of his day in Panama City signing the Florida G.I. Bill. The bill offers a tuition break to honorably discharged veterans regardless of when they moved to the state.

The tuition break will cost an estimated $12 million.

The bill includes college scholarships for National Guard members and sets aside money to renovate armories.

It also waives professional licensing fees up to five years after a veteran is discharged.

Florida has a large population of military retirees and governor Rick Scott is hoping to give those men and women a break when it comes to getting a college degree.

He along with local and state officials gathered at the national guard armory in Panama City to sign Florida's GI bill into law.

"I think this is probably the best bill we're going to sign in this legislative session and today with the governor signing it, it made it final," said Will Weatherford, House Speaker.

The bill covers many different issues including instate tuition or the waiver tuition program.

"Service members are coming here to Florida and going to college. And we want to give them instate tuition. And we couldn't legally give them the instate tuition so we made a tuition waver program, which reduce the cost of education for veterans using the GI bill by about $15,000 a year. That's huge," said Representative Jimmie T. Smith.

Military members who are also in the medical field, can now transition into a medical career and practice in the state much easier.

The bill also includes education dollars for duty program.

That allows National Guard members to take on-line courses so if they are deployed they can continue their education.

"We know what elements of the bill we wanted to accomplish and then we went out and surveyed all the other states and said, what does it take to take it to the next level? And that's exactly what we did," said Representative Jimmy Patronis.

"I remember when I got out of the navy in the early 70's. It was not a great time to get out of the service in this country. Our veterans were not respected and it was a tough time. We're going to make sure that not only is this the most military friendly state for active duty members but for also all the veterans," said Florida Governor Rick Scott.

"This Florida GI bill makes Florida the most military friendly and military supportive state in America. And that's exactly what we intended to do," said Senator Don Gaetz, Senator President.


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