February 3, 2012
The Florida Senate this week approved a bill that would allow students to deliver "inspirational messages" at public school assemblies, the Miami Herald reports. The bill, introduced by Sen. Gary Siplin (D-Orlando), has been proposed and rejected many times in years past, but this year gained momentum and became one of the first bills to gain passage through the Senate with a 31-8 vote. All Senate Republicans, plus two Democrats, supported the bill, and Democrats cast each of the eight votes in opposition. The bill will now travel to the House; if it becomes law, local school boards could allow student volunteers to give invocations at any public school function without interference by district employees. "Students have every right to share their faith, to share their point of view," Sen. Joe Negron (R-Stuart) said. "This goes to our fundamental constitutional rights as Americans."