Headed to Gov. Lee’s desk for signature
By Sabrina Bates
MVP Regional News Editor
A measure legislating enhancing school-building safety has passed the Tennessee House and Senate. Senate Bill 274 is headed to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk for his signature.
The bipartisan bill passed the Senate last night (Thursday, April 13) with unanimous support. There were only four votes against the proposal in the Tennessee House of Representatives last week.
SB 274 was introduced earlier this year by Sen. Jon Lundberg of Bristol (R-74). The companion piece, House Bill 322, was proposed by William Lamberth of Portland (R-44). As the House version made its way through committees, it was eventually substituted with the Senate bill that included four amendments.
This piece of legislation requires new schools construction and those undergoing major renovations to implement the following safety measures:
- Clear, bullet- or entry-resistant film on doors and windows;
- Door-locking mechanisms on interior doors to be able to be locked from the inside;
- A secure vestibule at the front entrance and
- A camera-monitoring system throughout the school and on the grounds that is accessible to local law enforcement.
Current school systems will be required to submit building plans to all relevant and local law-enforcement agencies as well as certain state departments.
In addition, “lock checks” will be randomly conducted by members of the Tennessee Highway Patrol on exterior entrances. Schools that don’t have their exterior doors locked could face penalties after the first offense which could include withholding of state funds until the school is brought into compliance.
This legislation would be in effect as soon as July 1 if it becomes law.