Gary Siplin’s school prayer bill heads to the Senate floor

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Legislation that will authorize school districts to permit student-led inspirational messages, including prayer at school-related events passed the Senate Rules Committee today. The bill will next be heard before the full Florida Senate.

Senate Bill 98, sponsored by Sen. Gary Siplin, authorizes school boards to adopt resolutions allowing the use of inspirational messages, including prayers of invocation or benediction at secondary school commencement exercises or other school-related, non-compulsory student assemblies.

“Granting students the ability to pray will afford students a key element to earning a well rounded academic and spiritual education,” stated Siplin.

The bill, which is being carried in the House by Rep. Charles Van Zant, (R-Keystone Heights), requires that if a school board chooses to adopt a resolution to allow student delivery of inspirational messages or prayers, the resolution must include language to ensure that the usage of inspirational messages or prayer is the sole decision of the students and that only students may participate.

The bill passed by a 12-2 vote.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.