By Brandon Moseley
Thursday, February 23, 2017 the Alabama House of Representatives passed House Bill 89.
HB89 required that all the school systems in the state develop and implement the electronic notification system.
HB89 was sponsored by state Representative Alan Baker (R from Brewton). Baker said that HB89 was a recommendation of the school safety task force, which is chaired by state Representative Terri Collins (R from Decatur).
Rep. Jim Patterson (R from Meridianville) said, “I appreciate your bill both of my superintendents support it.”
Baker said that HB89, “Would add extra strength in regards to participation by the individual schools to participate in the notification system.” During the ice storm of 2015 it was very difficult for state officials to get a count on the number of children trapped in their schools and where they were because there was no notification system in place. HB89 would strengthen and encourage local school systems to participate in the electronic notification system.
Rep. Collins said that school safety task force is one of the most hard working task forces I have ever been a part of. HB89 would maker sure that all of our agencies are all working together.
Rep. Baker told Collins, “You did a marvelous job leading this task force.”
Representative James Buskey (D from Mobile) said, “What does the state department have to do with local schools in Mobile?” “As an educator If I am in a crisis mode I could care less about notifying Montgomery until after I am done with dealing with the crisis.” I am not worried about notifying somebody who is 175 miles away.
Rep. Baker said that the school systems, “Aren’t necessarily reaching out to EMA and law enforcement.”
Rep. Baker said, “This was discussed at our multiple meetings. The ice storm was a glaring example that came up over and over again.”
Rep. Mary Moore (D from Birmingham) said, “The Governor and state superintendent could not do anything to make it better because they could not get there either.” “I still don’t understand the purpose of this bill.”
Rep. Moore also objected to the process, “I think it would have been better if the task force have given that information to everybody in the legislature to read first before sending us a bill.”
Representative Nathaniel Ledbetter (R from Rainsville) said, “I want to thank you and Terri and the task force for what you have done.”
HB89 is part of the Alabama House Republican Caucus’s ‘Alabama Proud Legislative Agenda’.
The electronic notification bill passed the House and now it goes to the Alabama Senate.