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Senate panel advances Lauren Book bill requiring panic alarms in public schools

Book’s bill was filed in response to the 2018 Parkland shooting.

The Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee unanimously advanced a measure from state Sen. Lauren Book (SB 70) that would mandate public schools be equipped with panic alarms.

Book sponsored a similar measure, called “Alyssa’s Law,” in the 2019 Session. But that effort died in committee.

The bill is named after Alyssa Alhadeff, one of the 17 murdered during the 2018 attack at Broward County’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Book’s bill was filed in response to that shooting.

“Each public school building must be equipped with at least one panic alarm for use in a school security emergency, including, but not limited to, a non-fire evacuation, lockdown, or active shooter situation,” the bill reads.

“The panic alarm must be directly  linked to the local law enforcement agencies that are designated as first responders to the school’s campus and must immediately transmit a signal or message to those authorities upon activation.”

A version of the law has already been approved in New Jersey. Now, Book is back with another attempt this Session to get that measure signed into law here in Florida.

“We just want to ensure that our children are kept safe,” Book told members of the Committee during a Monday presentation on her legislation.

Book was named to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission following the 2018 attack. That body was tasked with investigating the shooting as well as ways to improve school safety throughout the state.

John Sullivan, Director of Legislative Affairs for Broward County Public Schools, was also present in Tallahassee speaking in support of the bill.

We hope that the bill reaches @GovRonDeSantis desk this Session,” Sullivan added on Twitter. “This bill will make our schools safer.”

The Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee is the first stop for Book’s bill. It has also been assigned to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education and the Appropriations Committee.

A companion bill (HB 23) has been filed in the House by state Rep. Michael Gottlieb.

“I’m hoping the introduction of ‘Alyssa’s Law’ to the state of Florida is just one way we can honor the young life of Alyssa Alhadeff,” Gottlieb said back in August upon introducing the bill.

“First responders will now receive immediate guidance and direction; enabling them to respond more quickly, eliminate a threat, and treat the wounded.”

Written By

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to ryan.t.nicol@gmail.com.

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