Florida Senate - 2020                                     SB 746
       By Senator Baxley
       12-01026-20                                            2020746__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the study of the Bible and
    3         religion; amending s. 1003.45, F.S.; requiring
    4         district school boards to install secular programs of
    5         education in public schools which include specified
    6         courses relating to religion, the Hebrew Scriptures,
    7         and the Bible; requiring the Department of Education
    8         to include such courses in the Course Code Directory;
    9         providing that such courses must be offered as
   10         elective courses to certain students; providing course
   11         requirements; providing an effective date.
   13  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   15         Section 1. Section 1003.45, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   16  read:
   17         1003.45 Permitting Study of the Bible and religion;
   18  permitting brief meditation period.—
   19         (1)(a) The district school board shall may install in the
   20  public schools in the district a secular program of education
   21  including, but not limited to:
   22         1.An objective study of religion.
   23         2.An objective study of the Bible, including, but not
   24  limited to, a course on the Hebrew Scriptures and Old Testament
   25  of the Bible; a course on the New Testament of the Bible; and a
   26  course on the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament of the Bible,
   27  and the New Testament of the Bible. A student may not be
   28  required to use a specific translation of the Hebrew Scriptures
   29  or Bible as the sole text for the course.
   30         (b)The Department of Education must include the courses in
   31  the Course Code Directory.
   32         (c)A course offered pursuant to this section must:
   33         1.Be offered as an elective course for students in grades
   34  9 through 12.
   35         2.Follow all state and federal laws and guidelines in
   36  maintaining religious neutrality and accommodating the diverse
   37  religious views, traditions, and perspectives of all students in
   38  the school. A course offered pursuant to this section may not
   39  endorse, favor, or promote or disfavor or show hostility toward
   40  a particular religion, religious perspective, or nonreligious
   41  faith, an objective study of the Bible and of religion.
   42         (2) The district school board may provide that a brief
   43  period, not to exceed 2 minutes, for the purpose of silent
   44  prayer or meditation be set aside at the start of each school
   45  day or each school week in the public schools in the district.
   46         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.