Governor signs school safety package into law

Governor Scott Walker signed a package of school safety provisions into law this morning in a ceremony at Victor Haen Elementary School in Kaukauna.  WASB Executive Director John Ashley and Government Relations Director Dan Rossmiller attended.

This memo by the non-partisan Legislative Council describes the school safety provisions signed into law this morning. The centerpiece of the plan is a $100 million grant program for schools to pay for things including safety-related facility upgrades and staff training. The package also includes new requirements for school safety plans and reporting to law enforcement by school staff who hear students make threats of violence in or targeted at a school.

The state Senate removed specific language from the governor’s original proposal about funding for armed guards in schools, as well as a provision requiring schools to inform parents about incidents of bullying within 48 hours, and a provision to clarify the state’s pupil records law regarding the sharing of school surveillance video with law enforcement agencies.  The state Assembly agreed to those changes in order to get a bill on the governor’s desk.  It later passed separate additional bills related to the last two items above that had been proposed by the governor as part of the special session package but not approved by the Senate. (See previous post.)  The fate of those additional bills is uncertain at this point.

The provisions signed into law were enacted as part of Assembly Bill 843 after the state Senate opted not to take up the package of six special session bills Gov. Walker had proposed.  Instead, senators folded school safety changes into a substitute amendment to an existing bill it had already scheduled for floor action.

The state Senate adopted its version of the school safety package by a 28-4 vote.  The state Assembly followed suit, adopting the Senate-passed provisions by a 78-8 margin.