Assembly Blocks Sen. Patricia Bates' School Safety Bill

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

SACRAMENTO – Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) issued the following statement after the Assembly Appropriations Committee refused to approve her Senate Bill 1203 that requires most K-12 schools to have policies on hand for conducting lockdown drills. The Senate approved SB 1203 on a bipartisan vote last May, but recent actions by the Assembly Appropriations Committee effectively killed the bill.

"It’s disappointing that the Assembly Appropriations Committee could not approve a bill that would have helped schools improve their security measures. Given the violence and threats we have seen in some schools in recent years, it’s imperative that every school becomes better prepared to handle possible threats. The committee wasted an opportunity to achieve bipartisan progress on an issue that concerns all of us,” said Senator Bates.

“Keeping our schools safe depends on multiple strategies, one of which is preparation.  Even with the best of efforts and systems in place, we must always be prepared for the worst possibility—an active threat situation on a school campus.  Preparation means practice.  Students, faculty and parents must know what to do and what is expected in the event an active shooter or other incident of violence occurs.  Senate Bill 1203 would have put into law a much needed preparatory component to enhance campus safety,” said Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens.

SB 1203 specifically requires all Kindergarten through 12th grade public or private schools, with an enrollment of 50 or more students, to have procedures and policies for conducting active threat drills. Senator Bates authored SB 1203 in partnership with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

This past February, a commentary published in the Wall Street Journal cited that “most of the deaths in active-shooter scenarios occur during the first five minutes of the incident.” SB 1203 would have classified an “active threat” as a situation that presents an immediate and ongoing danger to the safety of pupils, faculty, staff, and visitors by a person using firearms or other types of weapons or displaying erratic behavior.