Two pieces of legislation that would increase school safety are heading through the legislature. Senate Bills 5197 and 5445 are companion bills that would implement various new safety measures in Washington schools.

Introduced by Senator Bruce Dammeier (R) of Puyallup, SB 5197 would implement the use of silent alarms to more quickly alert police in case of emergencies, and would also require what is called an optimal level of security to be implemented in new school construction or major renovations. The new security measures would allow for direct control and observation of anyone who enters the school grounds or facilities.

SB 5445, introduced by Senator Jim Honeyford, would appropriate $10 million worth of capital funding to carry out the measures in SB 5197, and improve security at existing school facilities. Both bills unanimously passed the Senate and are now in the state House of Representatives for consideration.

The two bills were direct responses by Washington legislators to the Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings last December. Officials expect the two bills to clear the House with little or no revisions.