$100 million Wisconsin School Safety Plan awaits Walker's signature

Gov. Scott Walker’s $100 million school safety plan now just needs his signature after passing the Wisconsin assembly Thursday night.

A vast majority of lawmakers on both sides voted for the plan to provide schools an opportunity to apply for grants to better secure their buildings, but it didn’t come without a heated debate. 

“Our kids, they may get hurt, they may die,” said Sun Prairie Democrat Gary Hebl. 

Bipartisan support prevailed for a proposal Walker put together after the Parkland school shooting shook the entire nation last month. It offers more resources to schools in an effort to prevent a similar attack from happening in Wisconsin.  

“They could also use this for a school safety officer and possibly one of the other things we discussed was a sound system they can intercom through the entire building,” said Delafield Republican Cindi Duchow. 

After nixing the idea to put guns in the hands of teachers, Walker along with strong Republican support likened the plan to that of airline security measures taken after 9/11. Democrats argued it never addressed the root of the issue, gun control. 

“Do I think it’s the best bill we can do? No,” Oshkosh Democrat Gordon Hintz said. “What are we doing to address increasing gun violence all over the country?” 

 

Late Thursday afternoon, Republican lawmakers unveiled an amendment to a separate bill to tighten gun background checks in the state by providing a larger database of information for licensed gun dealers. 

“We will have our people who purchase a long gun, a rifle so to speak, they will also be ran through a handgun hotline at the state of Wisconsin,” said Irma Republican Mary Felzkowski.  

The proposal does not apply to private gun sales, exchanges over the internet and to gun show dealers who aren’t federally licensed. Democrats said that’s a major problem. 

“Forty-eight hour waiting periods, over two-thirds of Wisconsin supports it and you’re too chicken,” Hebl said. 

The separate bill involving enhanced background checks passed the assembly and would go to the Senate next. However, it’s unclear at this point when that will happen considering this was a special session.  

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