The State Assembly was on the floor for an extraordinary session Thursday to take up key pieces of legislation amended by the State Senate.
As part of the extraordinary session, the Assembly concurred in changes made to Assembly Bill 773 by the Senate. AB 773, which limits the Department of Revenue’s ability to conduct third-party audits of the unclaimed property program, can now be signed into law.
The Assembly also 78-8 to pass a school safety proposal approved by the Senate earlier this week. This bill now goes to the Governor for his signature. It does the following:
· Creates an Office of School Safety to be led by an appointee of the Attorney General. The Office is charged with developing model practices for school safety in consultation with the Department of Public Instruction. The Office must also compile blueprints and GIS maps for all schools, and offer training to school staff on school safety.
· Provides $100 million in state funding to the Department of Justice for school safety grants. Eligible expenditures will include any costs related to complying with the model school safety standards developed by the Office of School Safety, safety-related upgrades to school buildings, and costs associated with providing blueprints to law enforcement.
· Requires mandatory reporters of child abuse to also report threats related of school violence made by individuals seen in the course of their professional duties. Authorizes health care providers to disclose information to law enforcement if they believe the individual poses a substantial threat. Individuals who intentionally violate the requirement to report could be fined up to $1,000.
· Requires schools to work with local law enforcement to conduct an on-site safety assessment of each school building or facility before updating their school safety plan.
· Requires school safety plans to include individualized safety plans for each school building and facility that is regularly occupied by students, and guidelines for addressing school violence and threats of school violence, bomb threats, fire, weather-related emergencies, intruders, parent-student reunification, and threats to non-classroom events.
· Requires schools to submit a copy of the most recent blueprints of each school building and facility in the district to local law enforcement and the office of school safety.
· Requires schools to hold annual drills related to school violence in each building regularly occupied by pupils.
· Requires schools to review and approve their school safety plan at least once every three years and file a copy of their safety plan with the Office of School Safety.
The Assembly also passed two of their own bills related to sharing school safety camera footage with law enforcement, developing a school safety hotline, requiring parents of students involved in a bullying incident to be notified within 48 hours, and background checks for firearms. However, the Senate would need to meet again in order for these bills to become law and that appears unlikely to happen at this time.