Of sex ed, start dates and twins
The Senate's K-12 panel today shot down Sen. Bill Posey's bill to allow school districts to start high school earlier each year. A 2006 law mandated the school year to start two weeks before Labor Day. The Rockledge Republican had revived his failed bill from 2007, with a few tweaks. It still failed 4-1 this afternoon.
School officials asked for more flexibility, because later start dates push final exams past the winter holiday and mash schedules. But lobbyists for the tourism and restaurant industry opposed the bill because they want a longer summer to boost revenues into August. They had won the mandated date two years ago.
In other action, Sen. Gary Siplin's bill to allow twins and other "multiple birth siblings" in the same classroom quickly passed the panel.
And in other inaction, the committee, led temporarily by Sen. Lisa Carlton because Sen. Don Gaetz was handling other legislation, bypassed a bill that would require sex education beyond abstinence-only education. While sponsor Sen. Ted Deutch appeared perturbed initially, Carlton and Deutch ended up meeting outside the Senate office building with proponents. Carlton said it wasn't intentional but a lack of time.
"I know that senator Carlton didn't do that on purpose," said Deutch, who expects the bill to be taken up next week.
-- David DeCamp/Times Staff Writer