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Tenure bill debate keeps House up late

The outcome is no mystery, but members of the state House of Representatives just don't want to stop talking about the controversial teacher tenure bill.

As midnight approached, seven hours after discussion started, 20 members were left to debate the bill. Each was limited to 15 minutes of the limelight. It doesn't take high-level math to figure out that the issue might not get a vote until 5 a.m.

House Speaker Larry Cretul frequently urged members to "keep it high and tight," early on nixing long readings of constituents' letters.

Members grew a little punchy late into the debate. One spoke in Latin. Another questioned what kind of evaluations Aristotle would have earned under the bill. Most invoked their favorite teacher. By name.

Rep. James Bush, a Democrat from Miami, added one of the more unusual flouishes of the night. Wrapping up, the teacher and minister gave a eulogy for the bill.

"Ashes to ashes, dust to dust," he said, holding the bill up. "We submit Senate Bill 6 to the dust that it won't come back to hurt us and the teachers."