Economy

US House expected to vote on school safety bill

US House expected to vote on school safety bill

Rep. Chris Stewart said the bill would help "ensure our kids are safe at school" and noted the millions of dollars that would help school boards improve security, seek crisis intervention and coordinate with law enforcement.

The STOP (Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing) School Violence Act would develop anonymous telephone and online systems where people could report threats of violence.

While House Democrats overwhelmingly supported the bill, they say the measure falls far short of what is needed to combat the scourge of mass shootings.

The House approved the bill, 407-10.

Sanders also urged the Senate to vote and pass the bill as soon as possible.

One month after a mass shooting in Florida, students and advocates across the country participate in walkouts and protests to call on Congress for action. In Washington, global advocacy group Avaaz placed 7,000 pairs of shoes on the Capitol lawn to represent gun violence victims since the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

Meanwhile, the FBI's acting deputy director, David Bowditch, repeated to the Senate Judiciary Committee the department's assertion that the response to warnings about shooter Nikolas Cruz were not sufficiently heeded.

The bill authorizes $50 million per year for grants administered by the Department of Justice to fund training and other initiatives meant to enhance school safety, and $25 million annually for physical improvements such as metal detectors, stronger locks, and emergency notification and response technologies for schools to notify law enforcement of emergencies.

"After today and after the next protest Congress will see how many people feel strongly about this so they will have to make a change", she said.

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The funding would be distributed to states through grant money over 10 years.

President Donald Trump cheered the House vote, tweeting that lawmakers "took major steps toward securing our schools by passing the STOP School Violence Act".

The house is expected to vote on identical legislation on Wednesday.

"I don't know what we are waiting for", said Senator Kamala Harris, D.

It's one of many gun control bills proposed by members on both sides of the aisle, but most efforts have largely stalled.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said there needs to be ways to intervene when people demonstrate they're risky. While the bill now has more than 60 cosponsors - a normal indicator that it could avoid a filibuster - many Democrats want to open up the legislation to amendments, and it's unclear how Republican leaders will proceed. It now goes to the Senate, where a similar measure is being considered.

"This is a good bill", Deutch said, but "it will not solve our gun problem".

The Senate hearing focused on the government's response to the shooting and legislative proposals to improve school safety as students from almost 3,000 schools staged National School Walkout events to urge lawmakers to do more to address gun violence. "When someone is determined that they're going to commit an act of violence, it could be in a school, it could be in a mall, it could be in a movie theater, it could be in an airport, it could be at a stadium".


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