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Florida House passes bill easing child labor laws

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
 
Florida Rep. Linda Chaney sponsored legislation that would ease child labor laws, rebuffing several amendments that Democrats argued would protect children from being taken advantage of in the workplace.
Florida Rep. Linda Chaney sponsored legislation that would ease child labor laws, rebuffing several amendments that Democrats argued would protect children from being taken advantage of in the workplace. [ PHELAN M. EBENHACK | AP ]
Published Feb. 2

The big story: The issue of protecting children took center stage again in the Florida House on Thursday, as members debated legislation that would lessen restrictions placed on teens in the workplace.

The measure, which has not yet passed the Senate, would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to work past 11 p.m. on school nights, and permit them to carry more than 30 hours a week.

Democrats offered a series of amendments the argued would place guardrails on the rules, such as requiring water breaks on hot days. Using similar language that Republicans used when advancing social media limits on children under 16 — that kids should be allowed to be kids — they asked support for the proposals they said would protect children from being taken advantage of in the workplace.

More than one opponent noted that one year ago the Legislature approved a proposal requiring middle and high schools to begin classes later in the day to allow children more time for needed sleep. They suggested the current measure seemed to ignore the discussions leading to that law.

Republicans rebuffed each amendment, with the bill sponsor saying added regulations on businesses were not needed as lawmakers aimed to make it easier for teens to work more flexible hours, if they wish. Read more from Florida Politics, Associated Press, Tallahassee Democrat.

More Tallahassee action

Vouchers: The Florida House approved a bill aimed at expanding and refining the universal school voucher program enacted in 2023, Politico Florida reports. The measure has not yet made its way through the Senate.

Relief act: For the first time in more than a decade, Florida lawmakers advanced a bill seeking financial relief for a Pasco County resident who was injured in a major school bus crash in 2006, Florida Politics reports.

Artificial intelligence: A House committee moved legislation to create a task force that would study the potential implications of artificial intelligence in education, News Service of Florida reports.

Hot topics

Blake High School’s Dr. Clayton Nylund celebrates after being named Hillsborough County School District Teacher of the Year on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024 in Tampa.
Blake High School’s Dr. Clayton Nylund celebrates after being named Hillsborough County School District Teacher of the Year on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024 in Tampa. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

Top teachers: Blake High School science teacher Clayton Nylund was named Hillsborough County 2024 Teacher of the Year. • Central School band director Christal Bennett is Santa Rosa County 2024 Teacher of the Year, the Pensacola News-Journal reports. • Palm Beach Public Elementary third grade teacher Katie Judge is Palm Beach County 2024 Teacher of the Year, WPEC reports. • Riviera Elementary sixth grade teacher Deborah Price is Brevard County 2024 Teacher of the Year, Space Coast Daily reports. • Antioch Elementary fourth grade teacher Amy Bowden was named Okaloosa County 2024 Teacher of the Year, Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

Superintendents: The Alachua County School Board is poised to consider terms of superintendent Shane Andrew’s contract, after having delayed a decision, the Gainesville Sun reports. • Monroe County superintendent Theresa Axford won a one-year contract extension, after which she plans to retire, WLRN reports.

School security: Four Palm Beach County high schools added metal detectors at entrances as the district expands its security measures, WPTV reports. More from the Palm Beach Post.

New College: The dean of students at New College has come under fire for a video showing him performing a comedy routine that some are calling “homophobic,” the Herald-Tribune reports.

Neighborhood schools: Residents of Hillsborough County’s Apollo Beach community are asking the school district to convert their local elementary school into a K-8, WFTS reports.

Moms for Liberty: Florida-based Moms for Liberty came on strong three years ago, but appears to be waning in influence, USA Today Florida Network reports.

Just say no: The St. Johns County school district has launched a new program to teach children about the dangers of drugs and violence, WJXT reports.

Discipline: Few Florida school districts use corporal punishment, but the ones that continue the practice do it often, WJAX reports.

Black History Month: Some Florida teachers are struggling to craft Black History Month lessons within the state’s restrictions on how to talk about race, Axios reports.

Attendance: Florida schools have seen an increase in chronic absenteeism among students, but not all areas of the state are affected equally, USA Today Florida Network reports.

From the court docket ... A political operative pleaded guilty to seven counts of violating text message disclosure laws in a 2022 Polk County School Board campaign, WFLA reports.

Don’t miss a story. Yesterday’s roundup is just a click away.

Before you go ... It’s Black History Month, which makes it a good time to remember that “Lift Evry Voice and Sing” was written and first performed in Florida. Here’s a lovely version from the Florida Memorial University Ambassador Chorale.