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March03

Lockdown bill lacks support, Fund Balance bill finds it in House

It had been smooth sailing for Senate Bill 89 until it was sunk in the House chamber on Tuesday (3/3).

 

SB 89, which would require school districts to develop safety plans and conduct lockdown drills, was defeated on 37-30 vote by Representatives; in three previous votes the bill had no “Nays” cast.

 

“We don’t need this mandate pushed on to the schools of the state,” Rep. Jim Bolin said in opposition of the bill.

 

Other opponents concurred with Rep. Bolin’s sentiment, many referring to the bill as unnecessary mandate.

 

Rep. Mike Verchio referred to the infamous “Sentinel” bill, which the House and Senate passed in 2013 to allow school districts to arm an individual(s) to protect the school from violent action, when he expressed his opposition to the safety plan proposal.

 

“We got pushed and stampeded into (the Sentinel) bill and look how many (schools) have done it,” Rep. Verchio said. No school district in South Dakota has enacted a “Sentinel” in their district at this time.

 

Proponents of SB 89 it was another step schools could take to protect students.

 

“Our systems need to have some guidance at times,” Rep. Scott Munsterman said. “This (bill) would require a lockdown drill, as well as a safety plan.”

 

ASBSD was among many supporters from the K-12 community of the bill.

 

Representatives did send a bill requiring school districts to report their month-end cash balances in the fiscal year for the general, capital outlay, pension and special education funds to Gov. Dennis Daugaard for his consideration.

 

House Bill 1148, which passed the Senate last week and returned to the House for concurrence with a an amendment, aims to capture the changes of a school district’s fund balances throughout the fiscal year instead of the one-time snapshot of the balances taken at the end of the fiscal year.

 

ASBSD supports the bill.

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