Minnesota lawmakers rush to pass school security bill

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The school shooting in Texas Friday morning gave fresh urgency to Minnesota lawmakers working to fund improvements for school safety in the state. 

Despite their push, both the House and Senate adjourned without passing a school safety bill Friday night. Lawmakers will reconvene Saturday. 

Republicans wanted to include about $28 million in funding for school safety in a supplemental budget package. Governor Mark Dayton has asked for a separate bill. Republican leaders are confident they can make that happen. 

“The people we have working on it--in about an hour they got through 24 of them, so I think we are at a pace where we can actually do it,” said Sen. Paul Gazelka. “We know we are running out of time and we are going to get there.” 

Early Friday morning, around the same time details were coming out about the school shooting in Texas, some Minnesota lawmakers were demonstrating new security tools they believe will help to make schools safer. 

State Senator Carla Nelson used bulletproof glass that had been shot nine times without being penetrated to deliver her message. The Minnesota based company Safe Schools Safe Kids believes bullet resistant glass and doors could help stop a school shooter. 

“I just want to emphasize that Senate Republicans are laser focused on safe schools and how we can make sure those buildings are safe,” said Sen. Nelson. 

However, Governor Dayton is among the DFLers disappointed that action on school safety does not include gun control measures. 

“It’s one thing to prevent someone from coming into the school, which is vitally important,” Gov. Dayton said. “It’s another thing to prevent them from getting their hand on the gun when they shouldn’t have it.” 

There was a number of students at the Capitol Friday afternoon, spreading that message. 

A rally organized by gun control supporters is set for 12:30 p.m. Saturday. 

Both the House and Senate will be back in session Saturday. They have until 11:59 p.m. Sunday to pass any bills.