Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday formally received nine bills from the Legislature, including a school-safety bill that would direct the State Board of Education to develop rules for school emergency drills.
DeSantis received the safety measure (HB 1421) one day after a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, in which 19 children and two adults died.
Emergency drills currently are guided by district school boards’ policies and procedures, according to a House staff analysis of the bill. But under the bill, rules on drills for “active assailant and hostage situations,” bomb threats and natural disasters would be crafted by the state board.
Those rules would be required to include “minimum emergency drill policies” that would guide timing, frequency, participation, training, notification, and accommodations related to drills. The measure, among other things, also would extend the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission until 2026.
The commission was formed in 2018 in response to the school shooting at the Parkland high school that killed 17 students and faculty members. The state education commissioner would enforce compliance with the school-safety requirements, under the bill. Sen. Manny Diaz Jr., R-Hialeah, will become commissioner on June 1, after the resignation of former Commissioner Richard Corcoran.
Other education bills sent to DeSantis on Wednesday included a measure (SB 758) that would create the Charter School Revision Commission under the Department of Education and a measure (SB 722) that would authorize the Department of Corrections to contract with state colleges for inmate education programs. The bills were passed during the legislative session that ended in March.