LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Democrats and Republicans in the Michigan State Legislature have both introduced bills that would impact gun laws or school security. Those all have to make it through the state House of Representatives and Senate before they can become law, but one proposal is already a done deal and will add millions for school security in this fiscal year.
Michigan’s Senate voted unanimously in April to pass a $18.65 million supplemental budget bill. Fifteen million will go toward school security grants through the Michigan State Police.
The program already exists, and has helped schools around the state make significant upgrades in recent years, including several in West Michigan This program gives money to both public and private schools to improve locks, windows, and cameras.
Three million will go toward an alert system app that will connect to 911 services, which will allow teachers to press one button to let authorities know about a threat or emergency.
The OK2SAY program, established in 2014, will also get a boost from this proposal, with $650,000. Students are encouraged to come forward with information about any potential threats by calling the confidential tip line, texting, or accessing it online.
Michigan State Police will receive $150,000 to pay for a new dispatcher and analyst to go over the tips that come in through the OK2SAY program. That money will also cover benefits for the position.
The state Senate and House also passed the Mental Health Grant Program proposal on May 3, 2018. SB 856 will allow school districts to partner with county and local health departments as well as other agencies to provide effective mental health services for students and their families in the public school system.
Any other new legislation is running out of time to become law before the current session ends in June. There are several bills or packages that have been introduced, but so far most have not had committee hearings.
Other school security measures include:
SB 982 is a measure to create an Office of School Safety within State Police. The Senate Fiscal Agency released the fiscal impact this week, saying it would cost about $681,000 a year.
SB 957 is the Student Safety Act and involves making sure that the OK2SAY program can continue to succeed as an anonymous avenue to report suspicious behavior. The Education Committee met on Tuesday to begin discussions on this bill and recommended that it take immediate effect, so it will move to the Committee of the Whole.
The Education Committee is also discussing SB 990, which would require schools to work with local law enforcement on new builds or upgrades, and SB 991, which would require schools to report to MSP their emergency contact information for OK2SAY biannually.
SB 958 would develop training standards for active shooters for Michigan law enforcement agencies.
Democrats in the state Senate introduced a package of bills earlier this year that would add millions of dollars in funding for school safety measures and create more controls on guns. These are all in committee and no action has been taken.
SB933 would add a $100 million investment in schools for the current fiscal year. Fifty million would go towards grants for more counselors, social workers, and school resource officers and $50 million would be in grants for safety measures — like surveillance cameras and advanced technology like panic buttons to warn an entire school of an active shooter.
SB934 would expand universal criminal background checks to cover all firearm sales, including long guns, and would close the private sale loophole
SB935 would prevent concealed weapon permit holders from carrying on school property, with certain exemptions; including if the person has a weapon provided by a school or a school’s instructor for puproses of instruction in the use of the weapon.
SB936 would establish sentencing guidelines for background check changes.
Senate Bills 937 and 938 are more commonly known as “Red Flag” legislation. They would create the Extreme Risk Protection Order Act and authorize courts to order the seizure of firearms if there’s reasonable cause that the person poses a significant risk of injury to themselves or others and would amend the Firearm Act to include Red Flag provisions.