Dayton’s Proposal for School Safety 07 Mar 18

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton today (Wednesday) proposed $21 million in new funding for security enhancements and mental health improvements in Minnesota schools.

Dayton, a Democrat, said the money could help pay for improvements such as bulletproof glass and secure entrances. Republicans who control the Minnesota Legislature have suggested similar funding.

School safety has been thrust into the spotlight since the deadly school shooting in Florida that killed 17 students and staff.

Dayton’s plan also would expand mental health services in schools and direct school districts to share information on expelled students. The state has a modest budget surplus, projected at $329 million, that could help pay for the plan.

The governor said it’s the state’s responsibility to prevent a tragedy in Minnesota schools.

Dayton is separately calling for stricter gun laws like expanding background checks and raising the age to buy assault weapons to 21.

Those measures face stiff odds in the GOP-controlled Legislature. A House committee this session has already turned back bills sponsored by Democrats, one to expand background check rules and another giving family members a way to take guns from a person they fear might harm themselves or others.