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Legislature approves mandatory financial literacy classes in honor of late senator

(WCJB)
Published: May. 2, 2019 at 5:18 PM EDT
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By: Jake Stofan | Capitol News Service

May 2, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- Legislation to require financial literacy be taught in all high schools is on its way to Governor Ron DeSantis.

It ends a six-year struggle for a a state senator who didn’t live to see the bill's passage. The fight to require financial literacy education in Florida schools was championed by Senator Dorothy Hukill.

“They're going to be faced with these issues immediately,” said Hukill in 2014. "You know, how do I sign a lease? What does it mean?”

Senator Hukill passed away in 2018. She never got to see her legislation, which would have would mandated the courses be taught in high schools, become a reality.

But her colleague, Senator Travis Hutson, didn’t give up.

“We have one angel looking over us, who would like us to vote for this bill. So, let's do it for Dorothy,” said Hutson addressing the Senate Chamber Thursday.

The bill carrying the language Hukill pushed for years passed in a 40-0 vote.

“Senator Hukill is looking down smiling, and she loves that 40-0,” said Senate President Bill Galvano.

Only a few hours later, the Florida House voted unanimously to approve the bill.

The legislation will require every high school offer a half credit financial literacy course starting in the 2019 school year.

“People are getting some serious life lessons as they take on debt,” said Hutson. "This is going to put that in their hands at an early age and hopefully they'll make some better long term decisions.”

The bill goes beyond financial literacy. It also sets a goal for the state to get 60 percent of working age adults educated beyond a high school level by 2030. Part of that initiative creates an alternative 18 credit hour pathway to high school graduation, focusing on vocational and technical training.

Hutson says it’s a win-win.

“There's a lot of things in there that's just a big win for the curriculum,” said Hutson. "She was a dear friend and I'm happy to get it done for her in her honor.”

The legislation now heads to the governor to sign the bill into law.

The Florida Commissioner of Education and Florida Chief Financial Officer will work hand in hand to develop the curriculum for the financial literacy course.