The Kentucky state House passed priority school safety legislation, Senate Bill 1, with a vote of 96-3 on Wednesday.
The legislation, sponsored by Senate Education Chair Max Wise, is the result of the work of the legislature’s School Safety Working Group, which met over the last year. Leaders from both the House and the Senate have expressed that the school safety measure is a key priority of both legislative bodies.
According to Wise, the bill’s intent is to establish safer learning environments in schools across Kentucky. Among other things, SB 1 sets a goal of adding more school resource officers and mental health professionals in schools, requires active shooter training for certain school employees, and requires that districts appoint a school safety coordinator.
The bill passed with a committee substitute making small changes including reducing the ration of one mental health professional to every 1,500 students to one to 250, as recommended by national models.
When the bill passed through the state Senate, Sen. Wise said Senate Bill 1 is part one of a two-part process as the bill does not include funding for the provisions in the bill as it is outside of a budget year. Wise said the General Assembly cannot leave Frankfort at the end of this session thinking the problem has been solved with the passage of this bill and added he is completely committed to ensuring the funding is secured during the 2020 session in the crafting of the next two-year state budget.
Senate Bill 1 now goes heads back to Senate for concurrence before heading to the governor’s desk.