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Anitere Flores to push for mandatory recess during 2017 session

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A push for mandatory play time at Florida’s elementary schools will once again be on the agenda during the 2017 legislative session.

Sen. Anitere Flores filed legislation Tuesday that would require school to provide “at least 100 minutes of supervised, safe, and unstructured free play recess” each week. The mandatory recess would apply to students in kindergarten through fifth grade, and would break down to at least 20 minutes each school day.

The bill, Senate Bill 78, is similar to a bill that moved through the Legislature during the 2016 legislative session. That bill received overwhelming support in the Florida House, passing 112-2. But it failed to gain traction in the Senate, despite calls from parents and lawmakers to consider the proposal.

Former Sen. John Legg, who chaired the Senate’s education policy committee at the time, declined to hear the bill. The Tampa Bay Times in February reported Legg considered the issue a local one, and said at the time it didn’t “merit a Tallahassee solution.”

A House companion bill to the 2017 proposal has not yet been filed.

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