State Senate clashes over gun-violence legislation
Brendan J. Lyons is reporting for the Times Union state Senate Republicans introduced 15 bills on March 5, intended to provide more school security to schools in response to the mass shooting last month of at a South Florida high school. The measures proposed by the include increasing punishments for those convicted of mass shootings or violence on school grounds; eliminating income restrictions for retired police officers who are collecting pensions but may work as school guardians; redefining acts of terrorism; creation of a mental health services program coordinator in schools; upgrading school security systems; and issuing special vanity license plates that would be used to help pay for armed school guards. None of the bills introduced called for changes in existing gun laws. Senate Minority Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins lashed out at her Republican counterparts, saying they are "so terrified of dealing with this country’s gun problem that they are willing to bury their heads in the sand." The Democrats have proposed banning the sale or possession of bump stocks, strengthening background checks for gun purchasers, and creating a research institute to study and make policy recommendations on gun violence. All 15 of the GOP measures passed. Read the full story in the Times Union.