Gov. Ron DeSantis expected to sign school safety bill

Some lawmakers call for universal background checks, expanded red flag laws
Posted at 6:27 PM, May 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-26 19:58:16-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis will likely soon sign a bill bolstering school safety in the Sunshine State.

Though it follows yet another mass shooting in the U.S., lawmakers crafted and approved the bill earlier this year in the wake of the 2018 Parkland massacre.

The Legislature placed HB 1421 on DeSantis' desk Wednesday night. The Republican is a supporter of the policy.

Once signed, it makes numerous changes, including;

  • Improved training for sworn and non-sworn school officers 
  • Required emergency reunification plans
  • It better compels districts to comply with current school safety standards 
  • Extends the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission until July 2026. 

Parents of Parkland victims call it further progress after having secured five consecutive years of school safety reform.

"This will be part of the continuing legacy of those who were lost so that they didn't die in vain," Tony Montalto, who heads the advocacy group Stand With Parkland, said. "They continue to help protect our students and teachers in Florida schools."

Florida Democrats believe more needs to be done. A handful of the lawmakers Wednesday called for universal background checks and expanded red flag laws.

They also denounced the governor for vowing to sign a constitutional carry provision before leaving office.

"What we don't need is to move in the opposite direction to allow permitless carry," state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando, said. "Which could snowball into open carry in the state of Florida. That will cost lives."

Constitutional carry advocates think the provision eliminates the need for government permission before a person can exercise the right to bear arms. Florida Republicans have said to expect a bill next legislative session.

As far as the new school safety provisions, with DeSantis' signature, most of them will take effect July 1 of this year.