DENVER, CO--(Marketwired - Apr 3, 2013) - Colorado State Senator Steve King announced today that Colorado lawmakers have not forgotten the victims in Newtown or the 800,000 children in Colorado schools, as he contrasted the sharply divided vote on gun bills with the unanimous votes for new school safety measures.
"If we are truly interested in protecting our children, we can make real progress more easily by building on common ground, rather than by polarizing our decision-makers," King said.
In the past 3 sessions, King has introduced school safety bills that have received overwhelming support from his colleagues on both sides of the aisle.
This session, King introduced Senate Bill 13-138, concerning school safety resource officer programs. It was co-sponsored by the entire Senate roll call, and has advanced to the House.
Last year, King introduced SB12-079, which expanded the Safe2Tell program, an anonymous school threat reporting system used for intervention. The bill won unanimous approval in both the Senate and House.
In 2011, King authored SB11-173, concerning interoperable communications in schools. It was the first proposal in the nation to envision a statewide emergency communications network that included all schools. With 59 co-sponsors and a unanimous vote, it became one of the most widely-supported safety bills in Colorado history.
These successes were built on earlier initiatives introduced by Senator Tom Wiens and expanded by King that established rapid response protocols and community partnering to help protect schools.
"To build consensus, we hold open school safety summits at the State Capitol, and we meet with community partners one-on-one," King said. "As a result, stakeholders will drive hundreds of miles to testify in committee in support of our school safety bills."
By contrast, according to King, Colorado's gun control bills introduced after the Sandy Hook shooting have not fared as well, because nearly half of Colorado's lawmakers do not see how these bills enhance public safety or school safety, and although the bills have passed, what remains is a deeply divided legislature and law enforcement community.
"Our school safety bills have been consistently endorsed by our County Sheriffs as well as our Chiefs of Police," King said. "I can't say the same about the gun bills."
To see how Colorado has been improving school safety through consensus-building, visit SchoolSafetySummit.org.