The Florida Legislature Renames Florida ESA for Senator Gardiner over his humble objection

October 20, 2016

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

In this time of cynical politics it is refreshing to see something as fantastic as this floor debate in the Florida Senate.  Earlier this year the sponsor of a bill to expand Florida’s ESA program for special needs children offers an amendment on the floor to rename the program after Senate President Gardiner, a special needs father and advocate and the original sponsor of the legislation. Gardiner objected and appealed to the Senator to drop his amendment, noting that he had promised to send the bill over to the Florida House without amendment.  Not to be thwarted, the Senators secure a release from this promise from the Speaker of the Florida House, and then the Senate co-sponsors the amendment 39-0.

There is still some good in this world Mr. Frodo- and it is worth fighting for.

UPDATE: I am told that after all of this Senator Gardiner still refused to allow the program to be named after him, so the legislature named it after his family instead.


Florida Renames ESA to Honor Senator Gardiner

January 14, 2016

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

The Florida legislature strikes first in 2016- expanding their special needs ESA program and renamed them the Gardiner Scholarship program after the Florida legislature’s tireless champion for special needs children. RedefinED reported on the floor debate in the Florida Senate:

“This is a bill that people come up to us with tears in their eyes and talk about how it’s changed their life,” Gardiner said, calling attention to a girl with special needs who was seated in the back of the chamber.

“She said, ‘I just want to go to college,’” Gardiner said. “Your bill will provide that path, from cradle to career.”

Senate President Gardiner, the original sponsor of the Florida ESA law, follows in the footsteps of former of another special needs father and former Senate President John McKay in crafting an innovative program to serve the needs of Florida’s special needs students. Senator Gardiner is deeply deserving of the honor that the Florida legislature has bestowed upon him, just as Senator McKay was before him.

Greg btw is one signature away from 1 down, 6 to go in piling up yet another victory over Jay Mathews.