NEEDS YOUR IMMEDIATE RESPONSE:
Would you call Senate President Bill Galvano right now and ask him to have the Florida Senate up or down vote on H.B. 7103 which supports student free speech?
Respectfully call and email the Florida Senate President TODAY before close of business asking to allow an up or down vote on H.B. 7103!
BACKGROUND: In 2015, the Cambridge Christian School football team won the right to play in the state championship football game. They, along with their opponents at University Christian School, asked the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) to continue the tradition of their schools by praying over the loudspeaker prior to kickoff.
The FHSAA said, “No,” claiming that because the game took place in what was then known as the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, the “separation of church and state” blocked the requested loudspeaker prayer. Cambridge disagreed and filed a federal lawsuit, challenging that decision.
Rather than allow a 30-second prayer over the loudspeaker in front of the fans from two Christian schools, the FHSAA has spent almost five years litigating the case.
But, on Monday night, the Florida House of Representatives passed HB 7103. Included in the bill is the following language that would solve the problem and encourage greater free speech at FHSAA events:
“The FHSAA shall adopt bylaws or policies that require, prior to the start of all athletic events conducted under the direction and supervision of the FHSAA, including but not limited to Florida High School State Championship Series events, that each participating school be provided 30 seconds for opening remarks over the public-address system. The FHSAA may not prohibit prayer or otherwise control, monitor, or review the content of the opening remarks, if any. Prior to the opening remarks, the public-address announcer shall announce that the content of any opening remarks by a participating school is not endorsed by and does not reflect the views and opinions of the FHSAA.”
Now, Senate President Bill Galvano seems to question the need for the bill, wondering if more years of litigation is preferable to decisive legislative action. Galvano has been a friend to us and needs some encouragement to do the right thing.
Would you call Senate President Bill Galvano right now and ask him to have the Florida Senate up or down vote on H.B. 7103?
His number is (850) 487-5229 or you can email him at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org and
Former Florida Speaker of the House and current Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran believes the FHSAA should be more respectful of such requests. “Policies that are overbroad or restrictive may deny students their constitutional right to private religious expression.” HB 7103 solves that problem.
Former Acting Associate Attorney General of the United States, Jesse Panuccio noted recently that, “The Constitution protects the right to believe, exercise and express religious faith, even when this occurs on government property.”
Even College Football Hall of Fame Coach Bobby Bowden, and his son Tommy, wondered in an op/ed this week, “Why has the state’s agency charged with administering high school sports spent hundreds of thousands of its dollars paying attorneys to prevent a simple, 30-second prayer by two Christian schools?”
They support the legislative solution found in HB 7103, calling it “a reasonable, even creative, solution” concluding “No one should object to that.”
Please call—(850) 487-5229—or email Senate President Bill Galvano now email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org and Collins.Carlecia@flsenate.gov asking him to give an up or down vote on H.B. 7103 in the Florida Senate, protecting the free speech of Florida’s student athletes.