A new bill has been proposed in Texas that could potentially save lives in case of an emergency.

According to House Bill 204, introduced by Rep. Shawn Thierry, D-Houston, school districts and open-enrollment charter schools would be required to provide a landline telephone or panic button in every classroom.

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The bill was filed on November 9, 2020 and is still in the first stage. The inspiration for the bill comes from legislation passed in New Jersey and Florida, following the Stoneman Douglas School shooting where 17 people were murdered. 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff was killed during the school shooting, and new legislation was created to help others get the aid they need in an emergency situation.

According to Make Our Schools Safe:

"Alyssa’s Law is critical legislation addressing the issue of law enforcement response time when a life-threatening emergency occurs because time equals life."

By installing a secure communications system that connects directly with emergency personnel, more lives could be saved.

The bill was referred to the Public Education Committee and a public hearing took place at 8:00 AM, April 13. After considering a bill, a committee may choose to take no action or may issue a report on the bill to the chamber at large. In a favorable report, the committee may recommend passage of the bill without amendments, recommend amendments to the bill, or substitute a new bill for the original bill. An unfavorable report generally kills the bill.

If the proposed bill passes, all Texas school districts and open-enrollment charter schools would need to be in compliance by the 2023-2024 school year.

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