WASHINGTON — Alaska U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski is co-sponsoring a bill to increase federal spending in school safety, with a focus on programs designed to intervene and catch potential violent young people before they act.
The bill, introduced with bipartisan support by 22 Senators, comes after the latest mass school shooting, when 17 people died at a high school in Parkland, Florida.
The bill would allow the Justice Department (if a future spending bill makes the funds available) to offer grants for training students, school staff and law enforcement "to identify signs of violence and intervene to prevent people from hurting themselves or others," according to the lawmakers. The grant money could fund "anonymous reporting systems" and security infrastructure at schools.
The proposed legislation would authorize $75 million for fiscal year 2018 and $100 million annually for the next 10 years.
"There is no one, simple fix for addressing acts of violence, but a focus on prevention is an imperative," Murkowski said in a statement. "By equipping individuals with the tools, knowledge, and skills needed to identify warning signs, as well as implementing anonymous reporting systems for how to notify the proper authorities with potential threats, we are taking a step in the right direction," she said.
In her annual speech to the state legislature, Murkowski said she wants to avoid pitting National Rifle Association supporters and opponents against each other in finding a solution to school violence.
Other lawmakers co-sponsoring the bill include Independent Maine Sen. Angus King; Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah, Marco Rubio of Florida, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, John Cornyn of Texas, Dean Heller of Nevada, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Susan Collins of Maine and Joni Ernst of Iowa. Democrats who have signed on include Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Bill Nelson of Florida, Tom Udall of New Mexico, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Doug Jones of Alabama.