Bill to Arm Teachers Advances in Florida, Over Governor's Objections

Cheryl Sanders
March 3, 2018

The House bill (HB 7101) is in serious trouble as members of both parties find new reasons to vote against it.

The measure drawing perhaps the most controversy in the Florida Legislature's quickly drafted bill in response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting is the so-called "school marshal" program - a program that could lead to armed teachers in schools.

The bill approved Monday also would let Florida counties authorize teachers to carry concealed weapons in school if they undergo law enforcement training and are deputized by the local sheriff's office.

"I want to make sure that there's a law enforcement presence at our schools".

But after a voice vote in favor of the amendment, Republicans reconsidered the measure and voted it down, by a vote of 21-17.

The 19-year-old Cruz is charged with 17 counts of murder in the Valentine's Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a similar bill earlier this week.

Along with an age limit on firearms purchases that now only applies to handguns, the bill would spend $100 million on school building security measures plus hundreds of millions more on additional school safety and mental health programs. Today he was at the Capitol on a day when the legislature had been scheduled to begin debating a school safety bill.

"This is a compromise bill that has been put together, but the politics around it are toxic, and people are taking advantage of the opportunity", he said.

"We know he can veto line items", she said. The Senate Judiciary A Committee on Tuesday amended House Bill 1083, allowing public and private school administrators to establish school safety programs that would allow teachers to carry guns.

"You can't make someone do something when the law says they have the right to make that determination", Runcie told the newspaper.

However, what lawmakers now have on the table is the Marshal Plan, which is a proposed bill that would allow teachers to arm themselves to protect students.

The act also prohibits a person under 21 from purchasing a firearm, except in the case of a military service member or law enforcement or correctional officer.

But the committee refused to add an overall assault-style weapon ban in the bill, voting that amendment down 6-7 after more than two hours of testimony from dozens of gun safety advocates.

"I'm totally mixed", Rep. Lori Berman, D-Lantana, told The News Service of Florida Wednesday evening.

While the House and Senate Democratic caucuses haven't taken a position on the measures, the Florida Legislative Black Caucus came out Wednesday in opposition.

"What you're asking Republicans to do, if you vote for this, you're toast". "There's too much positive for some disagreement on a plan that has not even been elected to go into place for him not to support the bill".

"This state will never be the same", Scott said.

The recurring money includes $100 million to fund mental health programs in schools, and another $75 million would go to school safety programs, including more school resource officers.

But Moskowitz, who also met Thursday with Scott, said survivors and grieving family members "have been taken hostage" by the legislative process.

Other reports by iNewsToday