Friday, May 25, 2018
Politics

Florida lawmakers support changing notice of Pledge of Allegiance rights in public schools

TALLAHASSEE — A reported overabundance of disclaimer notices in a Florida Panhandle county's public schools that alert students of their right to not participate in the Pledge of Allegiance has prompted bipartisan legislation that earned its first approval in a state House committee on Monday.

The House K-12 Subcommittee endorsed HB 1403 — by Rep. Doug Broxson, R-Gulf Breeze — by a 10-0 vote.

Florida law requires the pledge to be recited at the start of every school day in every public school statewide, but students have the right to be excused under a 1943 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, as long as they have written permission from a parent.

Schools have to "post a notice in a conspicuous place" to let students know of their right to opt out. The legislation put forth by Broxson — and co-sponsored by Reps. Mike Hill, R-Pensacola Beach, and Ed Narain, D-Tampa — would change state law to, instead, require schools to publish the notice in student handbooks.

The bill also clarifies that students excused from reciting the pledge don't have to stand and place their hand over their heart.

Broxson told House members that where a notice is posted in schools became "a major issue" in Santa Rosa County near Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach, areas with high populations of military families and an extra sensitivity to respecting the American flag.

He said the Santa Rosa County School District was prompted to require the mandatory notice "in every classroom where the flag appeared," after a parent complained at a School Board meeting with a lawyer present.

"Today as we speak, right before you say the pledge, below that flag is a disclaimer saying you don't have to say the pledge," Broxson said.

"Some people believe we overreacted in Santa Rosa," he added. But under the legislative proposal, "if there's any concern about whether they could say the pledge, it would be dealt with in the handbook."

The House bill has two more committee stops, next before the education budget committee.

The Senate companion — SB 1600 by Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker — has yet to receive an initial hearing before the Senate Pre-K-12 Education Committee.

Contact Kristen M. Clark at [email protected] Follow @ByKristenMClark.

Comments
North Korea demolishes nuclear test site as journalists watch

North Korea demolishes nuclear test site as journalists watch

PUNGGYE-RI, North Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made good on his promise to demolish his country’s nuclear test site, which was formally closed in a series of huge explosions Thursday as a group of foreign journalists looked on. The explosi...
Published: 05/24/18
Trump violated the Constitution when he blocked his critics on Twitter, a federal judge rules

Trump violated the Constitution when he blocked his critics on Twitter, a federal judge rules

President Donald Trump’s decision to block his Twitter followers for their political views is a violation of the First Amendment, a federal judge ruled Wednesday, saying that Trump’s effort to silence his critics is not permissible under the U.S. Con...
Published: 05/23/18
All those city services that fuel Lightning fever? Team, not taxpayers, foot the bill

All those city services that fuel Lightning fever? Team, not taxpayers, foot the bill

TAMPA — All those public watch parties during the Tampa Bay Lightning’s postseason run? And how about the rally at Joe Chillura Courthouse Square Park with the big white Lightning logo spray-painted on the grass? You need police to prote...
Published: 05/23/18
Romano: A pathetic legacy for Florida’s all-or-nothing Democrats

Romano: A pathetic legacy for Florida’s all-or-nothing Democrats

Explain this to me: In the world of partisan politics, how is being an independent thinker a bad thing? When it comes to general elections, we seem to like rogues and mavericks. We want outsiders and swamp scrubbers. Folks appreciate a good finger-...
Published: 05/22/18
‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump lashed out Sunday at "the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt," trashing a new report in the New York Times that said an emissary representing the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates offered help...
Published: 05/20/18
Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan pushed a radical idea on Twitter: Parents should pull their children out of school until elected officials pass stricter gun control laws.His tweet came hours after a shooting rampage at a Houston-area high scho...
Published: 05/20/18
China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

WASHINGTON - China offered to boost its annual purchases of U.S. products by "at least $200 billion" Friday as two days of talks aimed at averting an open breach between the two countries ended in Washington, a top White House adviser said.Larry Kudl...
Published: 05/19/18
Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

TAMPA — A concert organizer is accusing Hillsborough County Commission candidate Elvis Piggott of falsifying a contract and prompting the headline act to pull out of a gospel show.In a lawsuit filed in Hillsborough Circuit Court, Corey Curry claims h...
Published: 05/18/18
Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

WASHINGTON - The Senate voted Thursday to confirm Gina Haspel as the next CIA director after several Democrats were persuaded to support her despite lingering concerns about her role in the brutal interrogation of suspected terrorists captured after ...
Published: 05/17/18
GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

WASHINGTON — Republicans are pushing for a speedy confirmation vote as early as Thursday after the Senate intelligence committee endorsed President Donald Trump’s CIA nominee Gina Haspel to lead the spy agency. But opponents concerned about Haspel’s ...
Published: 05/16/18