Florida Senate - 2015                                     SB 352
       By Senator Flores
       37-00637-15                                            2015352__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to American Founders’ Month; providing
    3         a short title; creating s. 683.1455, F.S.; designating
    4         the month of September as “American Founders’ Month”;
    5         authorizing the Governor to annually issue a
    6         proclamation designating the month and urging
    7         participation; amending s. 1003.44, F.S.; requiring
    8         district school boards to celebrate the American
    9         Founders and the principles inherent in the country’s
   10         founding documents by observing American Founders’
   11         Month; providing guidelines for instruction; providing
   12         that instruction may be integrated into the existing
   13         school curriculum; providing an effective date.
   15  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   17         Section 1. This act may be cited as the “American Founders’
   18  Month Act.”
   19         Section 2. Section 683.1455, Florida Statutes, is created
   20  to read:
   21         683.1455 American Founders’ Month.—
   22         (1) The month of September of each year is designated as
   23  “American Founders’ Month.”
   24         (2) The Governor may annually issue a proclamation
   25  designating the month of September as “American Founders’ Month”
   26  and urging all civic, fraternal, and religious organizations and
   27  public and private educational institutions to recognize and
   28  observe this occasion through appropriate programs, meetings,
   29  services, or celebrations in which state, county, and local
   30  governmental officials are invited to participate.
   31         Section 3. Subsection (2) of section 1003.44, Florida
   32  Statutes, is amended, and subsections (3) and (4) are added to
   33  that section, to read:
   34         1003.44 Patriotic programs; rules.—
   35         (2) Each district school board may allow any teacher or
   36  administrator to read, or to post in a public school building or
   37  classroom or at any school-related event, any excerpt or portion
   38  of the following historic material: the national motto; the
   39  national anthem; the pledge of allegiance; the Constitution of
   40  the State of Florida, including the Preamble; the Constitution
   41  of the United States, including the Preamble; the Bill of
   42  Rights; the Declaration of Independence; the Mayflower Compact;
   43  the Emancipation Proclamation; the writings, speeches,
   44  documents, and proclamations of the presidents of the United
   45  States, the signers of the Constitution of the United States and
   46  the Declaration of Independence, and civil rights leaders; and
   47  decisions of the United States Supreme Court. However, any
   48  material that is read, posted, or taught pursuant to this
   49  provision may be presented only from a historical perspective
   50  and in a nonproselytizing manner. When less than an entire
   51  document is used, the excerpt or portion must include as much
   52  material as is reasonably necessary to reflect the sentiment of
   53  the entire document and avoid expressing statements out of the
   54  context in which they were originally made. If the material
   55  refers to laws or judicial decisions that have been superseded,
   56  the material must be accompanied by a statement indicating that
   57  such law or decision is no longer the law of the land. No
   58  material shall be selected to advance a particular religious,
   59  political, or sectarian purpose. The department shall distribute
   60  a copy of this section to each district school board, whereupon
   61  each district school superintendent shall distribute a copy to
   62  all teachers and administrators.
   63         (3)(a) Each district school board shall celebrate the
   64  American Founders and the principles inherent in this country’s
   65  founding documents by observing American Founders’ Month in
   66  September of each year as provided in s. 683.1455. This month
   67  may be coordinated with Celebrate Freedom Week, which is
   68  observed pursuant to s. 1003.421.
   69         (b) During American Founders’ Month, students may be
   70  provided instruction that focuses on:
   71         1. The leading figures present at the country’s founding,
   72  including those who were instrumental in crafting the founding
   73  documents that institutionalized individual liberty and
   74  representative government that derives its power from the
   75  consent of the governed.
   76         2. The moral and civic virtue, self-sacrifice, intellectual
   77  genius, and patriotism demonstrated by the country’s founding
   78  fathers.
   79         3. The founding documents, including, but not limited to,
   80  the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United
   81  States, the Bill of Rights, and the Federalist Papers.
   82         4. The historical and philosophical importance of the
   83  Declaration of Independence with its emphasis that all people
   84  “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,
   85  that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of
   86  Happiness.”
   87         5. The principles inherent in the founding documents,
   88  including, but not limited to, individual freedom, equality,
   89  representative government, a free market system, civic virtue,
   90  natural law, and self-evident truth.
   91         (c) The instruction may be integrated into the existing
   92  school curriculum through methods including, but not limited to,
   93  supplementing lesson plans, holding school assemblies, or
   94  providing school-related activities.
   95         (4) The department shall distribute a copy of this section
   96  to each district school board, whereupon each district school
   97  superintendent shall distribute a copy to all school
   98  administrators and instructional personnel at the beginning of
   99  each school year.
  100         Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2015.