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e-News 3/29/2018

The Omnibus Appropriations law makes schools safer

Salute: To Picatinny Arsenal

 

The Omnibus Appropriations law makes schools safer

It is evident that more must be done to help protect children and to promote safe schools and safe communities.  In light of the recent horrific school shootings in Florida and Maryland, we must implement changes on an expedited basis.    

That’s why the Consolidated Appropriations bill (Senate amendment to H.R. 1625), passed by Congress last week and signed by the President on Friday, provides more than $2.3 billion in new funding to the U.S. Departments of Justice, Education and Health and Human Services to promote effective mental health, training, and school safety programs.

Clearly, we need to expand mental health programs, including those that help identify and treat individuals who may be a threat to themselves or others.  While certainly not “THE” solution, the Appropriation Committee fast-tracked $700 million to the Department of Education for Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants. These funds give states flexibility to use money toward counseling and mental health service programs that can work in their schools and communities.

Also part of our bill, Congress also passed both the STOP School Violence Act and the Fix NICS Act — referring to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

The Fix NICS Act strengthens background checks by demanding greater accountability from federal agencies to report relevant information to NICS, helping keep firearms out of the hands of those who should not possess them under the law. This act also incentivizes states to improve their own reporting to the federal system.

The STOP School Violence Act helps protect our nation’s students and educators by providing grants to state and local governments for evidence-based violence prevention training. Administered by the Department of Justice, these grants will provide states with funds for training, technology, and technical assistance to help schools identify potential risks and prevent violent acts.

Of course, we all have a great deal to do in many different areas to make America safer by implementing measures that will help improve mental health, prevent crime, and keep violent behavior out of our schools and our communities. 

It seems to me that the best way to provide support for the communities that have suffered from school violence is to ensure that no other communities suffer in this way. The school safety provisions of the Consolidated Appropriations Act move us closer to this goal.

To learn more about the Consolidated Appropriations Act, please visit.

To learn how the Consolidated Appropriations Act supports New Jersey priorities, please visit.

 

Salute: To Picatinny Arsenal for recently hosting its sixth annual “Introduce A Girl to Engineering” STEM event. 115 aspiring scientists, engineers and technicians participated!  Visitors to the event had the opportunity to test new technologies, interact with representatives from colleges such as Monmouth University, Fairleigh Dickinson University and Stevens Institute of Technology, and network with women who have turned their passions for science and math into lifelong careers!