Bill to support Miami Dade College dies on last day of session


Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau

Miami Dade College will have to wait another year — at least — for a half-penny sales tax.

South Florida lawmakers had been pushing HB 1295, a measure that would have let Miami-Dade County levy a voter-approved tax to support building and maintenance projects at Miami Dade College.

A small percentage of the revenue would have gone to Florida International University.

The measure passed 37-1 in the Senate, with Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, casting the lone vote in opposition.

It was in line to be heard in the House this week, until House Democrats demanded that every bill be read in full.

The filibuster-like action, meant to protest Speaker Will Weatherford’s refusal to accept federal money for healthcare reform, lasted for two days, and blocked some bills from being heard.

“But for what happened Tuesday with the Democrats reading every bill, this would have been heard,” said Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, who sponsored the proposal in the House.

Fresen said he tried “everything possible” to get the bill heard Friday. But when the session came to a close, his proposal died without receiving a vote in the lower chamber.

Miami Dade College President Eduardo Padrón said he was “disappointed” by the news.

“This legislation would have given the citizens of Miami-Dade County the opportunity to have a stake in the future of the college,” Padrón wrote in a message to members of the college community.

But he wasn’t ready to give up the fight.

“As we move forward, we will consider all our possible options to ensure the stability and growth of MDC,” Padrón wrote. “We will surely keep you informed.”

Miami Herald staff writer Kathleen McGrory can be reached at kmcgrory@MiamiHerald.com.

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