Assemblymember Kristin Olsen’s (R-Modesto) Assembly Bill 1076, which (upon availability of federal funds) would have equipped school classrooms and other widely used school facilities with panic buttons that instantly alert law enforcement in the event of a campus emergency, was killed by Democrat lawmakers on the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Friday, May 24. Members of the Appropriations Committee refused to take the bill off of the suspense file for a vote, killing the bill in the process.
“It is asinine to me that something so straightforward that has zero fiscal impact on the state, but has the ability to increase the safety of our children on school campuses would be held back and killed,” said Olsen. “We had the opportunity to help minimize violent tragedies at schools, and the committee refused to let the bill through to the Assembly floor. It’s unbelievable.”
According to the bill, when a panic button is pressed, a direct link would dispatch law enforcement and alarms would sound, alerting others on the school campus of an emergency – all in one quick step.
Schools are currently required to adopt an integrated school safety plan and distribute it widely to local officials and first responders. AB 1076 would have revised Education Code Sec. 32280 to include panic alarms as part of the integrated school safety plan.
“Making today even more infuriating, it is unclear to me why this bill was in the Appropriations Committee in the first place, considering the bill would have used federal money to install alarms,” said Olsen. “I’ll continue to look for ways in which we can increase school safety and hopefully my fellow lawmakers will put the safety of our students above playing politics.”
Assemblymember Olsen represents the 12th Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes portions of Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties in the Central Valley.