DENVER — Colorado's legislative session ended two weeks ago, but lawmakers are already making substantive plans for next year.
Democratic and Republican House and Senate leaders are starting a school safety committee … Actually, they're revamping a school safety committee that is expiring at the end of June.
The school safety committee will meet three times between now and the start of the 2020 legislative session in January.
It will review existing statutes related to school safety, emergency response planning and the prevention of threats.
It will also study programs for identifying and monitoring students in crisis.
"Is there a need for legislation, what is the need for legislation? Our folks want to talk about mental health concerns. How can we provide more mental health resources?" said House Speaker Rep. KC Becker (D-Boulder). "Success is getting better educated, having a discussion in front of the public and figuring out what next steps are."
"Whatever we do, we need to allow some menu, some ability of a school board in a local school district to say that that would work for them or that wouldn't work for them," said Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chris Holbert (R-Parker). "The emergency response planning statutes that were adopted after Columbine, I think that's a great example, they don't require school districts to do it all the same. They work on a local basis to decide how they will respond to emergencies in their unique ways based on the resources that they have, and we shouldn't necessarily dictate a statewide solution."
In 2015, the legislature created a similar committee as part of the Claire Davis School Safety Act. Davis was killed in a school shooting at Arapahoe High School in 2013. That committee met twice in 2016, mainly to review the Claire Davis School Safety Act, which would change the immunity schools have if they are found to be negligent in an act of violence at the school.
"Our 178 school boards are not the PTA, they are the most powerful elected officials who have the most authority over what happens including school safety in your school district," Holbert said.
The committee members will be selected by the end of the month.
"It is not intended to be a partisan bickering session," Becker said.
If the lawmakers believe there should be legislation introduced next year, they could draft the bill as part of the committee and one of them could sponsor it next year.
If a proposal does not get the support of the majority of the committee, an individual lawmaker could still try to run the bill as one of their five sponsored bills next year.
Click or tap here to read the resolution.
SUGGESTED VIDEOS | Next with Kyle Clark