FRANKFORT, Ky- School Resource Officers are one step closer to having to carry firearms.
The Senate passed Senate Bill 8 Monday with just one ‘no’ vote. The bill would require each SRO are armed.
The bill is follow up bill to 2019’s massive school safety bill known as the School Safety and Resiliency Act. Last year’s bill required school resource officers in each school but did not specify if they should be armed.
Louisville Democrat Senator Gerald Neal filed a floor amendment to allow each individual school board to decide if officers in their schools will be required to carry a firearm but it was shot down by the Republican-led Senate.
Bill Sponsor Sen. Max Wise, R-Campbellsville, said this bill is about making sure children in Kentucky’s schools are safe.
“To not allow a sworn law enforcement law officer the ability to have a gun and to carry that gun with the job that they are going to be performing is limiting,” he said. “And any type of unforeseeable accident or foreseeable actions that were to take place they need to be equipped to do their jobs.”
Senate Minority Floor Leader Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, was the lone no vote on the measure, he expressed concerns about the unfunded mandate and taking away local control.
“I thought this used to be a body that favored local control, we have 172 schools in Jefferson County, 172, this an unfunded mandate to put school resource officers in 172 schools that we can’t do right now,” McGarvey said. “The local boards and those school board members are going to be making recommendations and those will involve SROs, I would hate to see kids in Jefferson County denied an SRO because of this unfunded mandate.”
The bill also requires schools have at least one counselor per every 250 students in the district.
The bill now heads to the House for consideration .