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Assembly GOP passes school safety plans

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MADISON -- The state Assembly has passed two school safety packages.

The Assembly approved a plan on a 78-8 vote Thursday, March 22, that would lay out $100 million in grants for school security upgrades and require annual school safety drills. The Senate passed that legislation on Tuesday. It goes next to Gov. Scott Walker.

Robin Vos

"The one-percent of people or .1-percent who have committed a crime or have an issue where they should not be owning a firearm, are denied that like they should be under current law," said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.

Democrats call it a "fake bill" that will do "nothing" because it won't expand background checks to private gun sales.

"Like Republicans in Washington, we're seeing the governor and others trying to do the minimum," said Democratic State Representative, Gordon Hintz.

The Assembly plan also includes a 24-hour tip line for school threats, but the Senate's leader would only commit to taking a look at the Assembly plan.

Gov. Scott Walker

Separately, lawmakers are planning to send to Walker's desk a $100 million grant program Thursday, so school districts can install cameras, metal detectors and other security improvements.

The bills passed on voice votes. They go next to the state Senate. That chamber wrapped up its two-year session on Tuesday and it wasn't clear if Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald would reconvene the body to take up the bills. That led Assembly Democrats to accuse their Republican counterparts of simply trying to give themselves campaign talking points.

Governor Walker released the following statement thanking the Wisconsin State Legislature for approving the $100 million School Safety Plan:

“This plan focuses on ways we can help schools be safe, just like we did at the federal level ensuring that every airport and airplane were safe after 9/11. The same thing needs to be true for our schools across Wisconsin. I thank the Legislature for approving this plan on a bipartisan basis because no child, parent, or teacher should ever feel unsafe at school.”