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OR school safety bill that features panic alarms could still pass despite GOP walkout | #schoolsaftey

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Negotiations are still underway at the State Capitol in Salem in an attempt to end a walkout by Republican senators.

But some lawmakers have figured out ways to try and get programs through in case the session wraps up at the end of the month without the senators returning.

There is a bill to require panic alarms in schools that would send a silent alert to law enforcement. The bill, known as Alyssa’s Law, is named after a student killed in the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida where 14 students and three staff members died.

The Oregon measure would require public schools to have a mobile app-based panic alarm system to press in an emergency, which would alert first responders and the rest of the school. A code red alert broadcast would be sent to the school, meaning that staff and students should shelter in place.

“What we are fundamentally trying to do is change the first three seconds of an emergency,” said Rep. Emerson Levy (D-Bend).

As a way to ensure the panic button legislation would get approved, funding for it is now included in the statewide school budget for next year. Even if lawmakers don’t come back and get bills passed by the end of the month, Gov. Kotek would call a special session to get budget bills passed.

The hope is the Oregon version of Alyssa’s Law would go into effect at the start of the 2024-25 school year. Several states already have it in place, and some local school districts already working on implementing it.

One other issue KOIN 6 is following is a way to get rid of walkouts in the future. Some lawmakers are signing a resolution to change the quorum law so they only need a simple majority to pass bills on the floor, not two-thirds of lawmakers.

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