WA lawmakers introduce, propose school safety bills
OLYMPIA, Wash. —
In the aftermath of the deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, Washington state lawmakers introduced and proposed two new bills regarding school safety.
Introduced by Sen. David Frockt (D - Seattle), Senate Bill 6620 would give grants for school districts to implement emergency response systems.
It would also create Students Protecting Students program to allow students to report anonymously by phone, text or email any info about potentially dangerous, violent or criminal activities. That info would then go straight to law enforcement and/or school officials.
Finally, the bill would require buyers of rifles with tactical features would have to be at least 21 years old. and would require a state and federal background check.
In a statement, Sen. Frockt says, “The brave students of Parkland, Florida have changed the conversation in this country regarding gun safety. This shooting reminded us that there's a lot of work to be done when it comes to school safety.”
The other bill is Republican Sen. Phil Fortunato's proposed Student Safety and Protection Act.
The senator says it would create a voluntary standardized training program that would allow teachers and other staff members to learn to use firearms and deescalate conflict.
"If anybody is going to be armed - certainly in a classroom - we want to make sure that they're armed and trained adequately," he says.
Sen. Fortunato wants to set aside about $10 million, which would be used to reimburse costs for teachers and school districts that use the training.
"I believe that my proposal will save lives and it will save lives as soon as it's implemented."
Sen. Fortunato’s proposal was still seeking sponsors as of Monday afternoon. A press conference will be held on Wednesday.
SB 6620 is scheduled to appear in front of the Senate Ways and Means committee Tuesday morning.
The Washington State Legislative session ends March 8.