Several education-related bills ready to die in Florida House
As the Florida Legislature nears the end of the 2011 session, many ideas that once looked likely to pass now appear dead.
House Speaker Dean Cannon issued a memo this morning stating that if the bills haven't made their way through committee by this point, they aren't about to get the attention of the full House. And no late-filed amendments, thank you very much.
"If a bill has not been reported out of its final committee of reference this week, then neither that bill nor its Senate companion will be heard on the Floor this Session," Cannon wrote. "Please be vigilant against allowing third parties to suggest the use of the amendatory process to introduce on the Floor new issues that have not been vetted through the committee process."
What? No last minute trains with loads of new ideas passing at the last minute? How is that Tallahassee in the spring? Stay tuned.
If things go as planned, the ideas left hanging include school bus advertising, education savings accounts and invocations at school events. Even some bills that have made it through committee might not get heard, perhaps including a long-standing effort to ban saggy pants in the school dress code.
"It's just stupid," said House Speaker Pro Tem John Legg, who has told the calendar committee the bill is not a high priority. "We already have that authority (with) the principals. Why do we need to waste time in the Legislature on it?"
Instead, Legg said, watch for lawmakers to bring four big-picture items -- the expansion of virtual education, McKay Scholarships, charter schools and digital textbooks -- to fruition before session ends. "All of them are highly probable," he said, although adding that the chambers still have details to work out and that any of the bills in play could falter before sine die.