22nd Alaska State Legislature
News from Representative Lesil McGuire



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HB 99 Passes Last Committee Hurdle on Second Anniversary of Columbine Tragedy

Released: April 20, 2001
Contact: Jim Pound, Legislative Staff to Representative Lesil McGuire, at (907) 465-2995

(Juneau) In a unanimous bipartisan vote, the Senate Health, Education and Social-Services (HESS) committee passed House Bill 99 on to the Rules Committee for scheduling on the Senate Floor. The vote that proposes alternatives to violence in our schools came as about 350 people gathered outside of Littleton, Colorado's Columbine High School to remember the 13 students gunned down on the campus two years ago.

Earlier this week, the bills sponsor, Representative Lesil McGuire attended the Alaska Emergency Management Conference in Anchorage where the Mayor of Littleton and teachers from Bethel discussed the issue of school violence. That conference was a combination of how to prevent future incidents and how to respond to them if they should happen.

HB 99 is aimed at prevention. McGuire says she sponsored the bill, in part because of what happened at Columbine and also because a similar incident happened much closer to home, referencing the shootings at Bethel High School also two years ago. "I have seen an increase in violence in Alaska's schools. We need to look for ways to address school violence and HB 99 takes a positive approach by offering students an alternative to violence when dealing with conflicts. The policies that HB 99 will create are aimed at establishing a safer environment in schools by implementing non-violent conflict resolution alternatives."

McGuire's commitment to HB 99 goes beyond just words. She is currently working on a funding source to get pilot programs started. Initial funding will use capitol re-appropriations originally designated for her home, District 17. Grants and other sources of income are also expected to be available.

If today's vote by HESS is any indication the bill should pass the Senate with little or no opposition. From there it heads to the Governor for his signature.

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