BROWARD (CBSMiami) – Alyssa’s Law is one step closer to reality.
The law, named after Alyssa Alhadeff, a victim in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, passed a Florida House subcommittee Tuesday following an impassioned plea from her mother, Lori. The law that would put a panic alarm, most likely through a cellphone app, in the hands of teachers and school administrators across the state.
“Alyssa is the heartbeat of this vital legislation,” Alhadeff told the subcommittee. “Time equals life. The faster we can get law enforcement and emergency medical services on campus the more likely we will save lives.”
After the hearing, Alhadeff told CBS 4 News that she is optimistic the bill will also pass through several upcoming subcommittee hearings before consideration by the full State House and Senate.
“We’re so excited that Alyssa’s Law is moving through committees on the House and Senate side,” she said.
Alhadeff, a Broward School Board member, has advocated for Alyssa’s Law for months. She said the price tag of the bill is expected to be around $8 million dollars statewide.
“In a life threatening emergency situation we need to have the ability to empower our teachers to be able to push a button and that button would be a direct link to law enforcement to get on them on the scene on as quickly as possible to take down the threat,” she said.
Ryan Petty, father of Parkland victim Alaina Petty, said safety is paramount.
“Anything we can do to reduce the response time for those first responders that care coming to either stop the assailant or stop the attack, is a good thing,” he said.
Petty is becoming a leading voice on education in Florida. He serves on the MSD Commission examining all aspects of the Parkland shooting. On Tuesday, Governor Ron Desantis appointed Petty to the State Board of Education.
The Senate will need to confirm him but Petty said he believes his background in technology combined with his passion for education and school safety will make him a good fit for the Board.
“We have some big problems that we need to solve and I’m looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and digging in to figure out how I can contribute to that,” Petty told CBS 4 News.
Alhadeff knows nothing can bring back her daughter. But she believes panic alarms could save lives in the future and could have saved lives at MSD on that tragic day by alerting people on the 3rd floor of the Freshman Building of the active threat.
“The people on the 3rd floor would have been able to hide in their classroom and it would have saved lives,” she said.
Alyssa’s Law is already on the books in New Jersey, is pending in New York and there is pending federal legislation as well.