TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) — A bill that cracks down on diversity, equity, and inclusion programs at Florida’s colleges and universities cleared its first hurdle in the Senate Wednesday.

The higher education reform is something Governor Ron DeSantis proposed, and now the legislature has taken it up.

Aside from DEI program changes, the bill would open professors up to tenure reviews at any time, with cause. It would also crack down on critical race theory courses.

“I don’t think it harms diversity, I think it brings more voices to the table,” the bills sponsor State Senator Erin Grall said. “I think we’re going to see great success because we’re going to say in Florida we want you to come here and we believe in diversity of thought and diversity of debate and that’s what’s going to happen in our higher education institutions.”

On Wednesday, critics of the bill raised concerns about this potentially exacerbating the teacher shortage and silencing minority voices.

The Senate bill is currently a watered-down version of the House bill, so changes to one can be expected before lawmakers sends the legislation to the governor.