MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

April 4, 2013

Oklahoma House committee passes school safety bills


Associated Press

— OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Public schools would be required to annually provide updated emergency response plans to local law enforcement authorities under one of three school security bills approved on Wednesday by a House committee.

The House Public Safety Committee unanimously approved the three bills that included recommendations from a school security task force created following the deadly school shooting in Newtown, Conn. that left 20 students and six educators dead. All three measures already cleared the Senate and now proceed to the full House, where they are expected to pass easily.

“I look forward to seeing these bills passed on the House floor and signed into law by the governor because I believe these are measures that actively seek to make our children safer,” House Speaker T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, said in a statement. “These bills will help both schools and law enforcement be better prepared for emergencies, both natural and manmade.”

Shannon and Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman are the House and Senate authors for all three bills and a fourth measure approved last week that would require public schools to conduct drills to prepare students and teachers for possible intruders.

The three bills approved Wednesday require schools to report emergency response plans to local law enforcement, create a school security institute, and require schools to report the discovery of firearms on campus to local police.

The bills resulted from the recommendations of a 22-member School Security Commission that was chaired by Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, a former Secret Service agent.