To that end, Sobels bill would allow counties to create a special taxing district for the purposes of enhancing school security.
This is not a mandate, Sobel told the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday. Its up to the voters. The voters in your county will decide whether this special taxing district should be created.
Some members of the committee expressed reservations about allowing a new tax. But the panel ultimately approved the measure by a 7-1 vote.
Sobel and Rep. Jim Waldman are pushing a similar bill that would apply only to Broward County. Members of the mostly Democratic Broward delegation consider the proposal a top priority.
Separately, Sen. Dwight Bullard has filed legislation that would require some of the states firearms and ammunition taxes be spent on school safety initiatives.
What this bill does, in essence, is put the burden where it belongs, said Bullard, a Miami Democrat. Those who desire to own guns now become the funders of school-safety programs.
The bill would also enable members of the public to surrender firearms at schools without facing charges.
Bullard admits that his proposal has a limited chance of moving this year. I havent gotten the official word from the NRA, but Im pretty sure theyre against it, he quipped.
Still, hes hoping the bill gets a hearing before the 60-day session ends in May.
School board members like Miami-Dades Raquel Regalado will be paying close attention.
Regalado said she is pleased to see state lawmakers take an interest in improving school security. But she isnt sure Tallahassee is the best place for the discussion to take place.
Not every community is the same, Regalado said. Empowering school districts to address the problem in a way that fits their community is the right conversation to have.
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The News Service of Florida contributed to this report. Kathleen McGrory can be reached at kmcgrory@MiamiHerald.com.