TALLAHASSEE (by Rick Flagg and Alan McBride/FLA. NEWS NETWORK) -- When he first ran for governor, Rick Scott was a tea party favorite who pledged to support a crackdown on illegal immigration. Scott promoted himself as a supporter of crackdowns modeled after the Arizona legislation.
Four years later, Scott is trying to convince state lawmakers to pass a bill granting in-state tuition rates to the children of illegal immigrants.
Scott claims he's had a change of heart, but some observers question whether it's more an issue of politics and the blame game.
Scott has attempted to blame the stalled bill on his predecessor, who has been out of the Governor's office for four years.
The bill, however, is stuck in the budget committee.
Backers of the tuition bill tried to slip it through the committee as an amendment, but Rules Chairman John Thrasher ruled against them every time.
Senator Thrasher is also the chairman of Scott's re-election campaign... which puts him in an awkward position.
He took a philosophical approach to any possible concerns.
"I did my job," Thrasher said. "I did my job and the governor knows that. We've still got eight days left in the session. We've still got a long way to go."
Thrasher says the tuition bill can still reach the floor if two-thirds of the senators vote to disregard their own rules.
Other opponents of the measure say the state doesn't bar the children of illegal immigrants from getting a college education.
They say the way things stand, the in-state rates for tuition are reserved for those who are born in Florida or are naturalized citizens.
They add that the children of illegal immigrants still have time and avenues to pursue a course for citizenship.
Once that happens, they say getting in-state tuition can become a slam-dunk.