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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Plasencia: 'No one actively lobbying against' daily recess mandate

State Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, and state Rep. Rene Plasencia, R-Orlando, speak at a press conference on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 about their legislation to require 20 minutes of recess daily in Florida's public elementary schools.

Kristen M. Clark / Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

State Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, and state Rep. Rene Plasencia, R-Orlando, speak at a press conference on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 about their legislation to require 20 minutes of recess daily in Florida's public elementary schools.

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State Rep. Rene Plasencia, R-Orlando, told reporters Thursday that "there's no one that's actively lobbying against" efforts to require mandatory daily recess in Florida's public elementary schools.

There has so far been no obvious or outspoken public opposition to the measure, but district administrators quietly have voiced concerns about requiring all schools to have recess -- citing a potential lack of time in the existing school day. (A few lawmakers, like House Education Committee chairman Michael Bileca, R-Miami, also don't like the idea of imposing another statewide mandate.)

Although there was resounding support for the statewide daily requirement last session in the House, only one school district -- Orange County -- took action to fall in line with what lawmakers had sought to do. Miami-Dade County did revise its existing policy to encourage more time for recess, but it's still not required daily.

IN-DEPTH: “Quest for daily recess: Moms renew fight for more free play in Florida Legislature”

Plasencia said he's spoken with many school districts, and "what they're trying to do is have some input so they can integrate it in a much more productive way into their school days."

"It's tough on the school districts because, in the past, there have been a lot of mandates that have been handed down," said Plasencia, who is sponsoring the House bill for the second year in a row.

Plasencia and Miami Republican Sen. Anitere Flores, the Senate sponsor, were joined at a press conference on Thursday at the Capitol by recess moms from North Florida and representatives of the Florida PTA.

With success earlier this week in getting the Senate bill heard, they called on Clearwater Republican Rep. Chris Latvala to schedule a hearing on the House bill when his K-12 Innovation Subcommittee next meets in March.

[Last modified: Thursday, February 23, 2017 3:07pm]

    

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