Florida Senate Education Committee again won't meet, killing several bills
Senate Education Committee chairman John Legg said Thursday that his committee again will not meet next week, marking the effective death of several bills that had his panel as their first point of reference.
Among the measures that generated the most passionate reactions but not getting hearings were related to requiring elementary school recess (SB 1002) and allowing taxpayers to oppose schools' instructional materials (SB 1018), both by Sen. Alan Hays.
Other items that didn't make it through included Sen. Jeff Brandes' bill to allow for the break up of school districts (SJR 734), Sen. Dorothy Hukill's bid to include financial literacy as a graduation requirement (SB 96), and Sen. Darren Soto's proposal to guarantee teachers a minimum salary of $50,000 (SB 296). A House attempt to create a statewide charter school authorizer (HJR 759) also is likely to die, having no active Senate companion.
With session reaching its 50th day on March 1, Legg said his committee would convene only upon special order from leadership, and then to iron out differences with the House or to hear noncontroversial matters. One such item might be a portion of Sen. Greg Evers' bill to change the rules for how schools handle the Pledge of Allegiance (SB 1600).
Several education bills that had support in the Senate likewise will die in the House. Among those are Legg's bill to alter class size rules (SB 1634) and Sen. Rene Garcia's proposal to return to an elected education commissioner (SJR 942).
That's not to say some procedural maneuvering can't take place along the way. But for the most part, in the coming few weeks expect attention on education matters to narrow to a few initiatives that have significant differences between their House and Senate versions. Examples include the Best and Brightest teacher bonus and school capital outlay funding.
Session is set to end March 11.