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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Recess bill is really dead in Senate, despite parents' continued efforts



Bolstered by the overwhelming House passage of a bill to mandate daily recess in elementary schools, Florida's "recess moms" are angling to push the measure through the Senate, where Education chairman John Legg repeatedly has said he won't take it up.

"Senate President Andy Gardiner and Senate Rules Chair David Simmons have the power to send HB 833 straight to the Senate floor for a vote and/or to remove SB 1002 from its worthless committee assignment - and that is exactly what we are calling on them to do," the Restore Recess For All Florida Students Facebook group proclaimed after the House vote.

Gardiner made clear Thursday on Florida Face to Face that Legg's decision will stand. (Start at 15:08) His position came after being asked whether he has any regrets about leaving the fate of bills in chairmen's hands.

"There is one right now," Gardiner responded. "There is a group of parents from Orange County that are interested in the recess bill, as they call it, a mandatory 20 minutes. I personally like that bill. But Sen. Legg is chairman of the committee. He doesn't like that bill.

"That crosses all lines, because it gets to the home rule issue," he continued. "John Legg, his position is the local school district should make that decision. And he's probably got a very good point. But I know it's something that is important to my district. So there are times when there are issues I feel strongly about that I have to give deference to the chairmen."

Katie Betta, Gardiner's spokeswoman, reiterated his position on Friday, saying simply, "He will defer to Chair Legg."

[Last modified: Friday, February 19, 2016 11:06am]


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