January 31, 2012 01:54 PM
A bill that would allow student-led prayer at graduation ceremonies and school sporting events is easing its way through the Florida Senate, but it doesn’t look like it will become law any time soon.
The Senate is scheduled to vote on the matter Wednesday, and its sponsor, Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, is optimistic his fellow senators will support it. But the House isn’t rushing to follow suit Rep. Charles E. Van Zant, R-Palatka, said it hasn’t been scheduled for a committee hearing. A similar bill died in the House last year, and he expects the same fate this year.
“The folks in charge of which bills get run really believe there might be a constitutional issue,” Van Zant said.
The bill would authorize school districts to allow prayer in activities that were not mandatory, as long as students initiated it. But an analysis by Senate staff says it could be “constitutionally suspect,” based on U.S. Supreme Court rulings involving similar scenarios.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the Anti-Defamation League are among groups opposing the bill.
Categories: Legislature (20)