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Friday, Nov 21, 2014

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Made fresh, never frozen, here's the juice on local and state politics from the staff of The Tampa Tribune, The St. Petersburg Tribune and the Tribune/Scripps Capital Bureau.

‘Pop tart bill’ moves to House floor


Published:

The serious measure with the funny name -- the “pop tart bill” -- is heading to the House floor after clearing its last committee of reference.

The House education committee Thursday OK’d the measure (HB 7029) by a unanimous vote. Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, is sponsoring it.

The change in state law would provide that “simulating a firearm or weapon while playing or wearing certain clothing or accessories is not grounds for disciplinary action.”

The bill’s nickname comes from an incident in which a 7-year-old Maryland boy was suspended from school last year for masticating his breakfast pastry into the shape of a pistol.

Marion Hammer, the National Rifle Association’s top lobbyist in Florida, did not testify on the bill but told reporters afterward the organization supports it.

Many school districts have “zero tolerance” policies on school discipline, punishing students for the first -- and sometimes slightest -- infraction.

Hammer mentioned a Florida case in which a parent sent a knife and a birthday cake into a school with her child.

That student was disciplined for carrying a weapon -- the cake knife -- onto school grounds.

“Zero tolerance shouldn’t mean zero common sense,” Hammer said.

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