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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida senator makes last-ditch effort on mandatory recess proposal



Left for dead by the Senate Education Committee, a proposal to mandate daily recess in Florida elementary schools has popped up as a late-filed amendment to an unrelated bill headed to the Senate Appropriations Committee this morning.

Sen. Alan Hays aims to add the idea to a measure that focuses on aspects of education funding. He filed his amendment separately from a complete bill rewrite submitted by its original sponsor, Sen. Don Gaetz.

Parents pushing for the recess requirement, which already passed the House, have already started lobbying for Hays' effort. But it faces a tough road when the Appropriations panel convenes at 10 a.m. For one thing, it was filed after the deadline. For another, unlike Gaetz's attempt to add new ideas to his own bill, Hays' proposal has not been accepted by its first committee of reference.

Appropriations was to be the recess bill's third committee stop. It hasn't been reassigned by Senate President Andy Gardiner, who recently said he would defer to Education Committee chairman Sen. John Legg on the subject.

Legg does not sit on the Appropriations Committee. But he is likely to be in the room to present his own bills on the agenda. And he's no stranger to stopping bills using Senate rules.

Last year, he held up legislation that would have allowed teachers to carry concealed weapons on school campuses by preventing its committee approval. That move disallowed it from being heard as an amendment to another bill.

Lawmakers will frequently say that bills aren't completely dead until sine die. Watch and see how they deal with their rules and this late amendment, knowning many Florida parents have said they want recess.

The committee session begins at 10 a.m. See the meeting packet for more details.

[Last modified: Thursday, February 25, 2016 1:20pm]


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