Stand With Parkland demands Special Session for school safety bill

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The House and Senate failed to agree on final language for legislation.

Stand With Parkland called for a Special Session after lawmakers failed to pass a school safety bill this year.

“We cannot overstate how stunned and frustrated we are to learn that our representatives failed to pass the school safety bill,” said Stand with Parkland President Tony Montalto. “It had overwhelming bipartisan support and represented the recommendations of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission created to assist Florida’s legislators to make needed changes in the wake of tragic murder of our loved ones.”

The bill (HB 7065) would have implemented further recommendations of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas commission, which formed in the wake of a 2018 mass shooting that left 17 dead at a Parkland school.

Stand With Parkland was formed by parents and family of victims of the shooting; Montalto’s 14-year-old daughter Gina Rose Montalto died in the attack. The organization has grown to a national level, and advocates for school safety measures.

The legislation was to be the third piece of legislation passed in as many years regarding improvements in school security.

“This bill also included recommendations from the Grand Jury looking into failures within our state’s school districts,” Montalvo said.

“Florida legislators failed our students, who next year will be less safe than they could and should be. Stand with Parkland has applauded their efforts over the past two years, but this failure is inexcusable.”

The organization said Gov. Ron DeSantis should call a Special Session narrowly focused on passing the “critical legislation recommended after hundreds of hours of expert testimony and presentations on making our schools safer was heard. “

It seemed like coronavirus and a ticking clock were to blame for the bill’s failure to pass. House Speaker José Oliva expressed surprise the measure didn’t pass. But the Senate and House ultimately could not agree on final language.

“I’m wondering a little bit about what happened,” Oliva said. “President [BillGalvano and I ran the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Bill.”

Key unresolved differences between both houses’ proposals remained unsettled as the bill bounced back and forth starting with just over an hour to go. Oliva feared the Senate measure created unintended consequences, and in particular, he wanted to keep the Guardian program tight to the original language.

“When I took the gavel, I said, ‘Senators, we need to be willing to walk away if we don’t feel like it’s at the right point.’ Obviously, the House had a different approach to it which we didn’t concur with, and we’ll go from there,” Galvano said.


Renzo Downey contributed to this report.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].

One comment

  • martin

    March 15, 2020 at 11:26 am

    The state legislature has more pressing and important matters to pass; more license plates. And they had to waste valuable time debating a cap on THC in medical marijuana.

    We need to wake up and demand that our elected officials be held accountable to those they were elected to represent. Vote these fools out of office.

Comments are closed.


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