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Palm Coast Monday, Mar. 28, 2022 6 months ago

Florida passes student financial literacy bill

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Sen Travis Hutson introduced the bill, which requires that students entering ninth grade starting next year take a personal finance class before graduation.
by: Jonathan Simmons Managing Editor

Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed Florida's student financial literacy bill, requiring that high school students take a half-credit personal finance course before graduation.

"It's going to be very beneficial for every student to have financial literacy before they graduate high school."

 

— TRAVIS HUTSON 

The bill was introduced in the Senate by District 7 Sen. Travis Hutson, who represents Flagler County, St. Johns County and the northern part of Volusia County.

Senate Bill 1054, "Financial Literacy Instruction in Public Schools," passed the Florida Senate and House unanimously. 

DeSantis signed it into law on March 22. The law, called the “Dorothy L. Hukill Financial Literacy Act,” applies to students who enter ninth grade in the 2023-2024 school year or later. 

"Sen. Hukill, a dear friend of mine who passed away while serving, had pushed for this ... probably 10 years ago," Hutson said. "So that fulfills her legacy, and  I was happy and honored to do it for her."

The state initially approved the financial literacy class a couple of years ago as an elective, he said. 

"When you when you introduce something new to a curriculum, there's only so many hours in the day and you want to make sure it's worthwhile," Hutson said. "So we did it as an elective so that we didn't take up those hours at first, and realized as kids were graduating through that program, it was very beneficial. Like anything new, you got to just put it in there for a couple years and make sure everybody's used to it. And then the objections go away."

He heard positive reviews from teachers.

"We saw how beneficial it was and decided that permanent is probably the way to go," Hutson said.

The state financial literacy class must, according to the text of the law, include discussion or instruction on the following topics: 

1. Types of bank accounts offered, opening and managing a bank account, and assessing the quality of a depository institution’s services.
2. Balancing a checkbook.
3. Basic principles of money management, such as spending, credit, credit scores, and managing debt, including retail and credit card debt.
4. Completing a loan application.
5. Receiving an inheritance and related implications.
6. Basic principles of personal insurance policies.
7. Computing federal income taxes.
8. Local tax assessments.
9. Computing interest rates by various mechanisms.
10. Simple contracts.
11. Contesting an incorrect billing statement.
12. Types of savings and investments.
13. State and federal laws concerning finance.

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