Kentucky lawmakers unveil school safety bill

Published: Jan. 9, 2019 at 5:36 PM EST
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Kentucky lawmakers say school safety is the legislature's top priority this year, nearly one year after the deadly school shooting in Marshall County.

Lawmakers unveiled SB 1 Wednesday aimed at addressing school safety.

"This issue is too important to our children, to our grandchildren, to our school personnel, to not work together in achieving passage," said Sen. Max Wise, R-Campbellsville.

The bill is the product of a 16-member working group formed last year after two students were killed and many more injured during a shooting at Marshall County High School. The group traveled across the state meeting with experts and professionals in the field. The 30-page bill came from those discussions.

The statewide school-safety measure sets a goal of providing more school resource officers and mental health professionals in schools, creating a new position of a "state school security marshal," requiring certain personnel to have annual active shooter training, and explicitly criminalizing threats and hoaxes made toward schools as second-degree terroristic threatening, among other things.

Notably, the bill does not mention guns.

"This is a starting point. It's a starting point that every bill has to start somewhere," Wise said.

Its sponsors say this bill creates a school-safety framework, but follow-up work will be needed in future years when new state budgets are crafted.

"There is no question that additional funding will be needed in the future as we move forward," said Sen. Danny Carroll, R-Paducah.

The estimated cost of the bill is unknown at this time. Funding would not be considered until the 2020 General Assembly.