House Speaker who hasn’t heard school recess bill says Gov. Scott, not lawmakers, is ‘the problem’

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House Speaker Richard Corcoran offered a curious statement shortly after midnight Saturday: It’s not lawmakers who have a “problem with recess” — it’s Gov. Rick Scott.

Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, made the remark in a tweet with no additional explanation. The Herald/Times has requested clarification from Corcoran’s office and also sought comment from Scott’s spokeswoman. (This story will be updated when they respond.)

“Recess moms” were immediately perplexed by Corcoran’s mystery tweet, which was in direct response to a question from an advocate for daily school recess.

She had asked Corcoran why he did not included the school recess issue in a Twitter poll he had posted earlier Friday, in which he solicited public input for the question: “Which policy considered by the House this session do you support the most?”

The only available response options for the poll were the House’s priorities of raising the homestead property tax exemption, its “schools of hope” proposal, ending “corporate welfare” and ethics reform.

Each of those four topics is highly divisive and controversial; in contrast, the proposal to require elementary schools to offer 20 minutes a day of recess time is — with only a few exceptions — not.

It is widely supported by parents and has the support from a majority of lawmakers, and yet the legislation remains in limbo with less than a week before session is scheduled to end May 5.

RECESS 0212 d epf

Omari Accius 6, enjoys recess at Citrus Grove Elementary School on Thursday, February 9, 2017. Florida lawmakers are again considering a statewide mandate for daily recess in public elementary schools.

PATRICK FARRELL pfarrell@miamiherald.com

The school recess legislation (SB 78) unanimously passed the Senate earlier this month, but Corcoran has ignored pleas from “recess moms” — including hundreds of emails and phone calls — to bring that bill to the House floor for a vote.

The legislation appears to have the votes to overwhelmingly pass the House. It is largely similar to a bill the chamber endorsed last year with only two opponents: Corcoran and Miami Republican Rep. Michael Bileca.

Corcoran had said he would support this year’s daily recess legislation, while Bileca — now the House education chairman — continues to oppose the daily mandate and was instrumental in removing that provision and making other changes that watered down this year’s House companion bill.

Last week, Corcoran told reporters there was still plenty of time to address the school recess legislation, but he didn’t guarantee action before the end of session.

“I think the legislative session could end without a vote on a ton bills, so yes,” he had said.

Check back for updates.

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