President Office — Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 16, 2018
President Negron Comments on Visit with Floridians Impacted by Stoneman Douglas Shooting
Senate President visited Broward Health and Stoneman Douglas High School with members of the Senate’s Broward County Delegation
Tallahassee–Florida Senate President Joe Negron (R-Stuart) traveled to Broward County today to meet with Floridians impacted by the Wednesday afternoon shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
The Senate President was joined by Senate Democratic Leader Oscar Braynon (D-Miami Gardens) and Senators Lauren Book (D-Plantation) and Gary Farmer (D-Ft. Lauderdale). The Senators visited Broward Health where they met with medical personnel responsible for treating victims of Thursday’s shooting as well as family members and victims who are still hospitalized with grievous injuries. The Senators also met with Broward County School Superintendent Robert Runcie and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and viewed portions of Stoneman Douglas High School.
“I cannot imagine the fear our students and teachers were facing on Wednesday afternoon. The pictures and video I viewed previously did not prepare us for the horrendous sight we viewed today at Stoneman Douglas. That horrific scene of one person’s destruction was a stark contrast to the heroism and hope we encountered during our meeting with the doctors and other medical personnel at Broward Health who are working diligently to treat those with serious injuries who are still fighting for their lives. The resilience of this community was inspiring and provides even further motivation to continue our efforts to ensure every community across the state has the resources needed to identify and treat those suffering from mental illness, to improve the safety and security of local schools, and to ensure those suffering from mental illness do not have access to firearms.
“I have had the opportunity to talk to Governor Scott and Speaker Corcoran and I shared with them the Senate’s commitment to a swift legislative response to this tragedy. I am personally focused on three key elements:
“Identification and treatment of those suffering from mental health challenges.
The proposal by Senator Kathleen Passidomo, which passed last week as part of the Senate budget, to create a new category of K-12 school funding specifically to assess and treat mental health. The policy component of this proposal, Senate Bill 1434, unanimously passed its second committee earlier this week. The Senate is committed to implementing this new category and providing $100 million in funding.
“Improving the safety and security of Florida Schools.
The Senate budget also includes a $13 million increase in the safe schools category of K-12 funding, which would bring the total funding to $78.1 million. We are committed to working with Governor Scott and the House to increase this level even further.
“Making certain those suffering from mental illness do not have access to firearms.
The Governor has indicated that he would like a thorough review of state laws and meetings with stakeholders to determine what changes may be necessary to improve reporting and communication between entities to ensure that when a person is identified as having a challenge with mental health, they do not have the ability to purchase a firearm. My Senate colleagues and I look forward to participating in that critically important process.
“I am extremely grateful to Sheriff Israel, Superintendent Runcie and all of their staff members for their hard work, their courage and their dedication to this community during an extremely difficult time. I look forward to visiting Parkland again to share with the community the progress we have made towards preventing a tragedy like this from ever happening again.”