State Rep. Kim Daniels, a Northwest Jacksonville Democrat in her second term, is again carrying legislation with religious implications.
Daniels, a charismatic minister by vocation, addressed those bills last week in an interview with Florida Politics, noting that each of the pieces of legislation has strong community support.
Her HB 737 would require a “moment of silence” in public schools, an interval that would last between one and two minutes in the first period of classes.
“The Legislature finds that our youth, and society as a whole, would be well served if students in the public schools were afforded a moment of silence at the beginning of each school day,” the bill asserts.
Daniels noted that “200 synagogues are backing that bill.”
“I was approached by some of the rabbis and I thought it was a great opportunity for people to work together. I’m excited. This is not about a prayer, this is a moment of silence,” Daniels asserted.
“Often,” Daniels added, “we have moments of silence after tragedies. This is just saying you never can tell, somebody gathering themselves and getting in the moment could change something from happening.”
For the second straight Session, Rep. Daniels is also carrying a bill that would require schools to offer catechism classes.
The bill would require — rather than just permit, as is the case now — high schools to offer an “objective study of religion.”
Such courses include:
— “A course on the Hebrew Scriptures and Old Testament…”
— “A course on the New Testament…,” and
— “A course on the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament of the Bible, and the New Testament of the Bible.”
Daniels noted a “cry from the community to put it back up.”
“We’re just bringing it back to see how the leadership will allow it to be heard, and just flow with it.”
“I was going to wait until next year to bring it back, but constituents were calling me to bring it back,” Daniels said.
Both pieces of legislation are sponsored in the Senate by Ocala Republican Sen. Dennis Baxley.
The bipartisan, bicameral duo has collaborated before on legislation that appeals to Christian conservatives.
In 2017, they teamed up on the “Florida Student and School Personnel Religious Liberties Act,” which bans school districts “from discriminating against students, parents, & school personnel on basis of religious viewpoints or expression,” and requires a school district “to adopt limited public forum policy & deliver a disclaimer at school events.”