TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — The 2023 Florida legislative session is off to a productive start, with all 6 debated bills in the Committee on Education Pre-K-12 proceeding to the next step.
Five of the six bills were unanimously voted in favor of, with only SB 308 contested by the three Democratic committee members: Senators Lori Berman (D-Boca Raton), Rosalind Osgood (D-Broward) and Shevrin Jones (D-Miami).
SB 308, put forward by Senator Jay Collins (R-Tampa), would authorize the Governor to appoint all eight board members of the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA), with Senate confirmation.
Senator Jones challenged this section, asserting that granting this executive discretion would “politicize things that should not be politicized.”
Collins’ bill would also allow schools to reach an agreement on two-minute opening remarks before games, unregulated by the FHSAA.
Senator Berman expressed her unease with this segment, explaining that schools could use this opportunity to lead prayers that “may make some students uncomfortable” – referring to non-Christian students.
This legislation shadows the FHSAA’s blockage of Tampa’s Cambridge Christian School’s attempt to pray before a football championship.
“I am a firm believer in separation of Church and State.” Berman concluded.
The bill ultimately passed, and will progress to the Judiciary Committee.