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Senate Commerce & Public Safety Committee Approves School Safety Plan

The Senate Committee on Commerce and Public Safety Thursday approved SB 1519, the school safety proposal developed by Governor Ducey and sponsored by Senator Steve Smith. The comprehensive plan increases the number of school resource officers (along with funding for new cutting-edge technology training), establishes a centralized reporting tip line and invests in mental and behavioral health resources at schools. The plan also uses Severe Threat Order of Protection (STOP), a process in which those who are an immediate and lethal danger to society are identified before they can harm others. This is a policy that has been endorsed by President Trump.

"In light of the recent mass shootings across the nation, not only the Governor and the Legislature wanted to take action, but Arizonans from every part of the state asked and in many cases demanded that we take necessary steps to further protect our schools and our communities," said Senator Smith. "Under the strong leadership of Governor Ducey, extensive stakeholder meetings were held over the past several months, where students, parents, teachers, school administrators, mental health professionals, law enforcement, the courts and leaders of different political parties all were able to have their voices heard. We listened to their suggestions and put together a proposal that will help keep our schools and communities safe. There is still work to do, but I am hopeful we can get this bill through the Legislature and signed by the Governor."

At the committee meeting, the National Rifle Association, Arizona Law Enforcement Association, Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, Arizona School Boards Association, the Maricopa and Pima County Attorney's Office, Arizona Chamber of Commerce, Arizona School Administrators, Childhelp, the Arizona Association of Health Plans and the Arizona Sheriffs Association were just some of those who signed in, in favor of the legislation.

SB 1519 now moves to the full Senate for a vote.

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