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Franklin County school security bill may be used as template to arm teachers statewide

Law Enforcement Professional Man with Firearm Weapon

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

State Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow, D-Red Bay, announced that he has scheduled a press conference for Friday in Russellville, Alabama, to discuss his school security plan.

“Former Senator Roger Bedford and I passed HB404, a local bill for Franklin County during the 2013 Regular Session. HB404 was enacted into law and became Act No. 2013-268 over Governor Bentley ‘s veto.” Morrow said. “This legislation immediately followed the Sandy Hook tragedy where 20 innocent six and seven-year old children were murdered while attending their public school in Newtown, Connecticut. Six adult staff members were also murdered.”

Alicia Cooper, a parent and a teacher at Phil Campbell Elementary School, will be there to read a letter that she wrote to Morrow in 2013.

Law enforcement officials and education officials will join Morrow at the event in Russellville.

State Rep. Allen Farley, R-McCalla, is the chairman the Joint Legislative Firearms Commission, which is currently looking at Alabama‘s firearms laws.

“Representative Farley has informed me that his intentions are to use HB116/HB404 as a template for similar statewide legislation during the current session,” Morrow announced. “He plans to be in Russellville on Friday to attend our press conference and certainly will be invited to speak.  Candidates for Lt. Governor have expressed opinions about this issue and will be allowed to make brief comments if in attendance.”

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Public Service Commission President Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh said that Morrow’s legislation has given our state a model to study for almost five years when it comes to the subject of school safety.

“Yesterday, I spoke with Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver, along with the bill’s sponsor, and the bill seems to be working in Franklin Count,” Cavanaugh said.  “I would ask that the legislature look at this bill and look how well it has worked for Franklin County. This bill could be expanded to a statewide level on a bipartisan basis, as the 2013 bill passed without a single ‘nay’ vote in both the House and the Senate.”

Cavanaugh said that this bill would allow local control of school safety, giving decision-making power to a county’s sheriff, principals, and school board.

Cavanaugh is running for lieutenant governor in the June 5 Republican primary.

State Rep. Will Ainsworth, R-Guntersville, has already introduced legislation that would allow firearm certified and trained educators to have access to concealed weapons in the schools to be prepared for the next school shooting attack.

Ainsworth and Cavanaugh are both running for Lt. Gov. along with State Senator Rusty Glover, R-Semmes.  Dr. Will Boyd is running as a Democrat.

Morrow is giving up his seat in the House to run for Bedford’s old seat in the Alabama Senate.  Republican Larry Stutts unseated Bedford four years ago.

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Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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