Congress set to vote on school safety bill

Congress set to vote on school safety bill

The package also provides $400 million for mental health services, including mobile crisis teams and school safety programs, such as metal detectors, bulletproof glass and school resource officers.

A third matter considered by the Florida Senate was a plan, backed in part by Donald Trump, to arm teachers. Tom Lee, a former Senate president who was one of six Republicans -- along with Dennis Baxley of Ocala, George Gainer of Panama City, Denise Grimsley of Sebring, Dorothy Hukill of Port Orange and Greg Steube of Sarasota -- who voted against the measure, predicted the House would accept the Senate's language.

"The bill is still being debated". But Galvano, a Bradenton Republican who will take over as Senate president after the November elections, said the bill will make a difference immediately.

The legislation, which narrowly cleared the state Senate on Monday, was spurred by the February 14 killing of 17 students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, and the extraordinary lobbying campaign mounted by young survivors of the massacre.

Under the program, school staff members who could be armed must complete 144 hours of training and meet other criteria. The program would be voluntary, implemented only if the sheriff's department and school district agree.

Otherwise, only non-teacher personnel are eligible, such as administrators, guidance counselors, librarians and coaches.

The Senate passed the bill 20-18. It was not clear whether or how the House might amend the bill.

The carve-out for teachers was aimed at winning support from Governor Rick Scott, a Republican and staunch NRA ally who nevertheless is opposed to arming teachers.

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"Obviously, this amendment (to exclude some staff members from being allowed to be armed) is a step in the right direction".

"People want to make this bill a Christmas tree, trying to decorate it with other legislative ornaments that look nice to their political base but stand no chance of passing this body or the House", Cornyn said on the Senate floor.

According to a spokeswoman for Mr Scott, he also still has concerns about the three-day waiting period, something he has previously opposed. "He brought this up during his meetings with Legislators today".

Referring to the school safety bill, Hoyer said, "We ought to put additional protections, not just for students, but people in theaters, nightclubs, shopping malls and churches alike".

McCarthy said Federal Bureau of Investigation officials will speak next week to the House oversight and judiciary committees about "where the failures happened and why" in the Parkland, Fla., shooting.

Meanwhile, House members spent almost three hours asking questions about legislation, which would put some restrictions on rifle sales, provide new mental health programs from schools and improve communication between school districts, law enforcement and state agencies.

Andrew Pollack, who lost his 18-year-old daughter Meadow, and Ryan Petty, who lost his 14-year-old daughter Alaina, said there was enough good in the bill that it should pass.