Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bill Mandating School Security Plans Clears Idaho Senate

Posted By on Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 2:14 PM

A bill mandating security plans for Idaho schools was approved by the full Senate this morning. If signed into law, the measure would place security restrictions on public school property and on school buses.

As amended, Senate Bill 1133 requires Idaho school boards and county sheriffs to implement so-called "security deterrents" for every public elementary and secondary school, beginning in the 2014-2015 school year.

According to the bill, deterrents may include violence prevention efforts and restricted entries or access, as well as metal detectors and authorizing specific people to carry firearms. Each school board would report on its security plan annually to the Idaho State Department of Education.

"Currently, we have many schools and districts throughout the state that have security plans and work with law enforcement; however, they’re not consistent throughout the state," the bill's sponsor, Meridian Republican Sen. Marv Hagedorn, told lawmakers.

Hagedorn said the bill would let teachers and students focus on education without worrying "what's behind the next tree." After voting was initiated, Boise Democrat Sen. Branden Durst asked to qualify his vote against the bill.

"I think that this legislation is a good idea, but I think it’s incomplete, much like taking a turkey out of the oven before it’s done," said Durst.

Though Moscow Democrat Sen. Dan Schmidt opted to vote in favor of the bill, he also asked to clarify his position on the matter.

"It’s been a pleasure to serve on the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee this year to see how we spend our money. And it’s always been a balance to try to understand the role between policy and funding, and in my opinion, this is a policy bill, and we are directing our institutions, our institutions of learning, to provide safety for our children," he said. "I’m expecting the funding and support to follow."

The final vote was 33 for the bill, 1 against and 1 absent or excused.

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