Our Opinion: Lawmakers dither while schools remain unsecured
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Although nearly everyone agrees school security plans should not be publicly available, lawmakers continue to dither.
A state law permitting public schools and other public building to close safety and security plans and records expired Jan. 1.
State legislators — and educators, law enforcement officers, media members and others — all agreed an extension is desirable and necessary.
But the proposal’s popularity has become its problem.
Lawmakers, sensing the bill’s fast track to approval, couldn’t resist adding amendments.
We favor open government and support the trend toward transparency.
But if these concepts have merit, let them gather momentum of their own instead of slowing progress to extend school safety.
Among the amendments is a provision to make closure of security records permanent.
We consider this legislative laziness.
A sunset provision — a future date when a law expires — has merit. Although today we cannot envision a reason to open those records, we cannot predict what sentiments will prevail or what enhancements will be available in the future.
A sunset clause provides lawmakers an opportunity to revisit, revise and extend a law — if they do their jobs.
House and Senate bills to close security documents were passed in their respective chambers on Feb. 14.
Nearly six weeks later, discussion and debate continues.
An education lobbyist said during a hearing Monday night that inaction on the security plans “just puts students in harm’s way, and it’s just not necessary.”
We couldn’t agree more.
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