Pennsylvania Budget

Pennsylvania lawmakers have introduced or given new life to nearly two-dozen bills intended to make schools safer in the aftermath of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting that left 17 dead.

Here are those bills, which will be up for debate as legislators return to Harrisburg in the coming months. The list is updated as of the beginning of April.

Mental health

Rep. Dan Miller (D): HB 2095. It would require a mental health checkup and depression screening for all children before they enter sixth grade.

Rep. Rosemary Brown (R): No bill number yet. It would require annual mental health screenings for every child in second through 12th grades.

Rep. Mark Mustio (R): No bill number yet. It would add mental health services and school safety to the list of allowable exceptions that a school board may utilize to address the financial needs of their district.

Sen. Scott Martin (R): No bill number yet. It would require that a child who made terroristic threats undergo a psychiatric evaluation before he or she can be released from detention.

Safety training and drills

Rep. Dan Miller (D): HB 2143. It would require increased safety training requirements for school police and security officers.

Rep. Patrick Harkins (D): No bill number yet. It would amend the Public School Code to give school districts the option to replace up to five of their monthly fire drills each year with school security drills.

Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich (D): HB 2215. It would require all school districts to conduct school emergency drills.

Money

Rep. William Kortz (D): HB 2150. It would increase the amount of money for the Safe Schools Initiative’s targeted grants from $8.5 million to $38.5 million.

Rep. William Kortz (D): HB 2149. It would raise the personal income tax rate by 0.007 percent to fund the new $30 million for Safe Schools Initiative’s targeted grants.

Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R): HB 2123. It would allow the use of drug forfeiture dollars for school safety and security measures.

Rep. Frank Farry (R): No bill number yet. It would establish a grant program to provide schools with trauma bags, tourniquets and corresponding training.

Sen. Thomas McGarrigle (R): SB 1065. It would redirect fees from filings associated with civil actions and legal proceedings to go instead to the Safe Schools Initiative.

Armed guards, security

Rep. Rosemary Brown (R): HB 2163. It would require a metal detector at school entrances and a school resource officer, certified and trained to use a firearm, in every school.

Review committees

Rep. Dan Frankel (D): HB 2165. It would establish a 28-person statewide school security advisory committee to provide a comprehensive review of school safety and provide recommendations.

Rep. Michael Corr (R). HR 784. It would create a committee to investigate issues related to school shootings and make recommendations in a formal report.

Rep. Harry Readshaw (D): HR 798. It would direct the Joint State Government Commission to conduct a study and report on school safety programs.

Sen. Scott Martin (R): SR 293. It would require the Joint State Government Commission to assess safety measures that are currently in place and determine what steps schools have taken to evaluate and improve school safety.

Sen. James Brewster (D): No bill number yet. It would create an 12-member Statewide School Safety Panel to review school safety procedures, proposed changes and new ideas.

Anonymous reporting

Rep. Frank Farry (R): No bill number yet. It would establish a tip-line program through which anyone could anonymously report violence, threats of violence, or other security related concerns.

Sens. Pat Browne (R), Scott Martin (R) and Vincent Hughes (D): No bill number yet. It would establish a Safe2Tell program that provides for methods of anonymous reporting concerning unsafe, potentially harmful, dangerous, violent or criminal activities in schools or the threat of the activities.

Security and transparency

Reps. Mindy Fee (R) and Tina Davis (D): No bill number yet. It would amend the Sunshine Law to exempt agency discussions of security and emergency preparedness from open meetings requirements.

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