School safety bill heads to governor’s desk after almost unanimous passage by Kentucky House and Senate

Priority school safety legislation, Senate Bill 1, heads to the governor’s desk for signature after seeing final passage on Thursday.

The full Senate voted to concur with changes made to the bill in the House and gave final passage to the bill with a unanimous vote.

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.

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 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.

Funding for the bill would have to be passed during the 2020 legislative session as this year is not a budget year and Senate President Robert Stivers explained on the floor there will have to be an assessment of the funding needs as it is currently unclear what school districts already have some of the items in the bill and/or the ability to implement the changes.

Stivers also applauded the work on the issue and stated the school safety measure is a good example of how the legislature can work together and pass a critical issue with near bipartisan support.

The priority bill now goes to the desk for Gov. Matt Bevin to be considered for his signature which would then make it law.

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