The Senate bill also provides almost $400m to pay for school safety and mental health initiatives, along with new powers for police to take guns from those involuntarily committed or deemed a danger to themselves. His proposal includes requiring at least one armed school resource officer for every 1,000 students; instituting measures to keep weapons out of the hands of the violent or mentally ill; and expanding mental health services statewide.
The "Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act" sparked inter- and intra-party schisms, with some Democrats objecting that the bill did not go far enough because it did not include the ban on assault-style weapons sought by numerous survivors and their families.
The Senate hearing coincides with school walkouts on March 14, organized with help from a "youth empowerment" arm of the Women's March, the group that led nationwide protests against President Trump's administration the day after his inauguration. "He wants to make sure that if somebody is potentially harmful to themselves or other people that we have the ability to expedite that process", press secretary Sarah Sanders said. The program would be voluntary, implemented only if the sheriff's department and school district agree.
If the bill is approved by the Senate it will head to the House for a vote before heading to Gov. Rick Scott's desk.
He said he spoke with GOP House leaders, urging them to strip the armed-educator program, to no avail. "Let's get something done", she said, calling the measure a first step.
A Scott spokeswoman has said the governor would review the bill in its final form before deciding whether to support it.
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Bill Galvano, the bill sponsor, said the "Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program", would honor the coach "who used his body to shield students from bullets" and "in doing so, lost his own". In addition to the gun restrictions and arming some school personnel, it would create new mental health programs for schools, improve communication between schools, law enforcement and state agencies, create a task force to look at mistakes made during mass shootings nationally and then make recommendations on how to continue to improve law, and establish an anonymous tip line where students and others can report threats to schools.
"The goal is to make sure the instructional personnel who are in the classroom can not participate in the program", said Sen. "When it becomes law, things will start changing". We didn't allow lives to be in vain. Democrats didn't like the idea of letting teachers carry guns, even if the bill was amended to water down that proposed program. "We were able to stand up and say to the families to the communities, to the children, to our children, that we listened and we're trying", he said.
The Senate's school safety bill calls for more funding than the House bill, authorizing $75 million this fiscal year and $100 million annually for the next 10 years.
Special license plates to raise money for armed guards in schools are part of a package of legislation passed by the Republican-controlled New York State Senate.
Moskowitz's amendment failed in a 71-42 vote, with two House Republicans - Shawn Harrison of Tampa and Rene Plasencia of Orlando - joining Democrats in favor of the proposal.