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Florida lawmaker who sponsored 'don't say gay' bill resigns after federal indictment for wire fraud

TAMPA, Fla. — One day after being indicted on charges of money laundering and wire fraud, state Rep. Joe Harding, R-Ocala, announced his resignation from Florida’s House of Representatives.

Harding was the sponsor of the Parental Rights in Education law, which opponents nicknamed the “don’t say gay” bill. The legislation prohibits classroom instruction and discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. Gov. Ron DeSantis supported the measure and signed it into law in March.

In a statement Thursday, Harding said he was resigning because he wants what is best for Floridians “and I believe their leaders need not be encumbered by distractions that are mine alone.”

On Wednesday, an indictment from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida accused Harding of falsely representing two dormant businesses of his as active to get coronavirus-related loans from the Small Business Administration.

—Tampa Bay Times


Texas parents push back on app that asks kids to pick an emoji reflecting their moods

FORT WORTH, Texas — The Fort Worth school district now requires parental consent before teachers can ask students to pick an emoji reflecting how they feel.

The new policy came after parents pushed back on such efforts and demanded more say in what schools ask their children about their emotions or overall well-being.

Educators have said such tools help them gauge how their students are doing and identify challenges they might be experiencing. And they say that building relationships is a fundamental part of their job. Now, Fort Worth families must opt their children into using one particular app, but the policy varies for other surveys or questionnaires.


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