Senate Bill (SB) 610 requires 150 minutes of physical education each week for all public elementary school students in grades K-5 in increments of 30 consecutive minutes. Also, this SB 610 requires the equivalent of one class period per day of physical education per semester for students enrolled in grades 6 through 8. Waiver options apply if students meet certain criteria.
The School District of Palm Beach County requires students to have one full credit of physical education in order to meet graduation requirements.
On December 6, 2011 the House K-20 Innovations Subcommittee scheduled a hearing to vote on House Bill 4057 - Physical Education in the Public Schools by Representative Larry Metz (Seminole County, Florida) which repealed the physical education mandate for grades 6-8. The Committee heard from over 40 presenters and advocates for and against the bill.
On the opposing side, the Executive Director of the Florida Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance and Sports (FAHPERDS) and their past president, along with representatives of the American Heart Association testified and made compelling arguments against the bill. Other opposing the bill included the Florida Parent Teacher Association, Florida Public Health Association, among others. After passage of the bill in the House K-20 Innovation Subcommittee, the bill was referred to the full House Education Committee. The Senate companion to the bill, Senate Bill 1644 was filed by Senator Evelyn Lynn (Volusia County, Florida).
On February 27, 2012, the full House Education Committee scheduled House Bill 4057 for hearing and passage. Collectively, coalition members such as the NFL, and Richard Simmons, opposing the bill mobilized into action by generating thousands of emails, faxes, and phone calls to oppose House Bill 4057. The end result was that House Bill 4057- the Middle School Physical Education repealed bill was taken off the committee agenda and was not considered further during the legislative session. The bill ultimately died in the House Education Committee. The Senate repealed Senate Bill 1644 was never heard in any committee of reference.
Representative Mia Jones filed House Bill 415 – Health Education and Senator Nan Rich filed Senate Bill 580 to reinstate the one-half credit requirement for high school Health Education. Rep. Jones’ House Bill 415 was referred to the House K-20 Innovation Subcommittee. Since neither House/Senate Health Education bills were heard in their originating committee of reference, the bills could not be amended to other bills moving through the process after the substantive committee meetings concluded. Therefore the bills “died in committee.”
On March 1, 2012 Governor Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott launched the Governor’s Wellness Challenge to recognize schools and P.E. teachers for promoting fitness and healthy lifestyles. The Governor’s Wellness Challenge is supported by Florida’s Foundation and UnitedHealthcare. The awards will recognize the best P.E. teachers and school based Physical Education programs in the state in elementary, middle and high schools in Florida.