A bipartisan group of 20 U.S. senators led by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) announced yesterday (6/12) they have reached agreement on what they called “a commonsense proposal” to curb gun violence and increase school safety.
The nine-point proposal would invest billions of federal dollars in enhanced children and family mental health services, fund school-based mental health services, and fund new safety measures at schools. The bipartisan plan would also spend federal resources to encorage states to pass and implement so-called “red flag” laws that aim to keep guns out of the hands of people deemed dangerous to the community, strengthen criminal background check requirements for gun buyers younger than 21, and strengthen penalties for illegal “straw purchases” by convicted criminals.
The school safety and mental health provisions are said to include funding for school-based programs such as mental health support, violence prevention and training for students and educators. The plan would also expand telehealth for mental and behavioral treatment and investments in children and family mental health services through community health centers.
Significantly, 10 Senate Republicans signed onto the bipartisan framework, signalling that it has a good chance of mustering 60 votes and overcoming a filibuster on the Senate floor. Given the 50-50 partisan split in the Senate, any legislation must attract at least 10 Republican votes in order to pass through that chamber, assuming all Democrats vote in favor.
The legislation to implement the agreed-upon framework has yet to be drafted so succcess is far from guaranteed. Senators who worked on the package are hopeful drafting will be completed so the proposal can be debated and voted on before the Senate goes into its scheduled Fourth of July recess.
Tune in to the monthly WASB Legal and Legislative Update webinar at noon on Wednesday (6/15) to learn more about this proposed legislation. This webinar is complimentary and no registration is required.