TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (WSVN) - Some concerned South Floridians traveled to the state capital to express their opposition to two bills out of over 1,000 currently making their way through the state Legislature.

Maria Carmona addressed a Florida Senate committee at the State Capitol, Tuesday afternoon.

“Ten months ago, our son was murdered in our apartment,” she said as she stood next to her husband Jose.

Cellphone video showed Carmona’s infant son, Mateo when he was was just learning to use his walker.

Loved ones said the baby’s aunt, Elizabeth, had just moved from Colombia to Coral Springs to help his parents care for him.

But in May of 2022, according to police, Dale Spindle, the Morales family’s neighbor, beat Elizabeth with a hammer after she opened the door, then turned on Mateo. Neither would survive.

The couple sued the condominium.

“They didn’t tell us that this guy had problems before with kids, and the people who used to live in that apartment before us, they left because of that,” she said.

Mateo’s family and others came to Tallahassee this week to fight against a legal reform bill that, opponents say, would make lawsuits like theirs more difficult by limiting attorneys’ fees and healthcare damages.

“If I was your son, if I was your daughter, there’s no way that you would be OK with this money,” an opponent told legislators.

Proponents of the bill argue it would help drive down costs by cutting down on frivolous lawsuits.

“I’m for legal reform. You know, you guys be as ambitious as you can. I’m for it,” said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. “Clearly, when you look at how our legal system is set up, it is designed in the state of Florida to invite litigation rather than invite settlement, and you see that part of the reason we’ve had problems with property insurance, we’ve addressed. We’re going to have to do more there.”

Over the next 60 days, Floridians will see a myriad of changes. One pushed by State Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, a Tampa-area Republican, is the elimination of a waiver that gives in-state college tuition rates to the so-called Dreamers, children brought to the United States illegally by their parents.

Students from Florida International University came to Tallahassee to make sure the waiver stays, because without it, tuition would jump threefold.

“If I didn’t have instate tuition, I don’t think I’d be able to graduate,” said FIU student Aquiles Barrett.

But Ingoglia said the proposal is good for the Florida economy.

“I will tell you that I personally believe that we should do away with in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. That is reserved for people who are legal residents of the state of Florida,” he said.

Despite the Morales family’s pleas to the Senate committee, the bill was approved 8 to 3.

However, that does not necessarily mean that it will become law. Some lawmakers predict there will be changes to it, and this is the start of what is expected to be a long process.

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