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Get the latest coverage of the 2021 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and WUSF.

Pre-Game Prayers At Florida High School Events Would Be Allowed Under Bill

Attorneys for Cambridge Christian School filed a document Thursday at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that suggested the Supreme Court ruling could affect the pre-game prayer case.
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Cambridge Christian School is involved in a federal lawsuit after being denied use of a public address system before a 2016 high school football title game.

Amid a legal fight about a pre-game prayer, a Senate Republican on Wednesday filed a bill that would require the Florida High School Athletic Association to allow schools to have access to public-address systems before sports competitions.

Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez, R-Doral, filed the bill (SB 880) as the association and Cambridge Christian School of Tampa have been locked in a long-running federal lawsuit stemming from a 2016 high school football championship game.

The association, which is the governing body of high school sports, denied a request by Cambridge Christian to use the public-address system at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium to offer a pre-game prayer. That prompted the school to file the lawsuit, arguing that its First Amendment rights had been violated.

Rodriguez’s bill would require the association to authorize schools to “provide 30 seconds of opening remarks over a public-access system before the start of an athletic competition.”

It also would bar the association from “controlling, monitoring or reviewing the contents of any member school’s opening remarks.”

The bill is filed for consideration during the legislative session that will start March 2.