The Gist: A controversial school safety bill that republican lawmakers passed earlier this year was met with a surprise veto by Georgia’s republican governor Brian Kemp.
What was in the bill: The bill would have required schools to do a site safety inspection every 5 years, conduct active shooter drills and report suspicious or criminal activity to local authorities.
The controversy: During the legislative session, democrats expressed concerns that Senate Bill 15, also known as the “Keeping Georgia’s Schools Safe Act,” normalized school shootings. Democratic representative Jasmine Clark also expressed concerns that the legislature wasn’t focusing on gun control measures. Some legislators were also concerned that the requirement to report criminal activity of students to police may be harsh.
Why did Kemp veto the bill?: Kemp didn’t use his veto pen because of the active shooter drills or other reasons cited by democrats. He vetoed the bill for a decidedly republican reason — local government control.
While Kemp called the bill “well-intentioned,” he vetoed it because it took local control away from school boards and school systems and created an unfunded mandate for local school districts.
In his veto statement Kemp urged lawmakers to let local stakeholders determine how their districts will handle school safety.
“Moving forward, it is important for local leaders to first have an opportunity to utilize state grant funding before imposing additional requirements. The State will continue to invest in the safety of our children by working closely with local officials, parents, and students to ensure a safer, stronger Georgia,” Kemp said in his veto statement.