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School recess bill ready for Senate floor

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida elementary schools would have to provide at least 20 minutes of unstructured recess time each school day under a bill (SB 78) approved Thursday by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, said some Florida schools now provide recess, while others don't.

Flores said her bill would mandate at least 20 minutes a day, or 100 minutes per week, for children enrolled in kindergarten through fifth-grade classes in all 67 school districts.

"Kids need a little bit of a mental break and a physical break at some point during the day to just go out and be kids," Flores said, adding the recess time would have health and academic benefits for the students.

Thursday's vote was the last Senate committee for the bill, meaning its next destination is the Senate floor.

A companion bill (HB 67), filed by Rep. Rene Plasencia, R-Orlando, and Rep. Bob Cortes, R-Altamonte Springs, is still waiting for its first committee hearing in the House.