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Thousands of people support students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in a rally for gun control at the Florida capitol (2/21/18).The Florida legislature is poised to pass some of the most sweeping gun control and mental health reforms in more than 20 years. The moves come as lawmakers face pressure from students affected by the Valentine's Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.On Valentine's Day, a 19-year-old in Parkland opened fire on his former classmates at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He killed 14 students, three adults, and injured 14 others. There were warning signs, yet, all, including a tip to the FBI, were missed.That day, school safety measures in place, like school resource officers, restricted access and fencing--all failed.In the wake of the shooting, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas have mobilized, calling on the legislature to take greater action to prevent school and mass shootings. Lawmakers, it seems, are finally listening.https://youtu.be/6PRPEfu7WPg

Incoming Senate President: 'I Stand By' The Decision To Keep Funds In The Guardian Program

Florida Senate

Incoming Senate President Bill Galvano stands by his decision to keep funds in the so-called Guardian program.

This comes after Governor Rick Scott asked the Legislature to move the remaining funds to school districts so they can hire more officers.

Fifty eight million of the $67 million Guardian Program sits unused.

A key part of the Legislature’s response to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School, it allows certain employees to receive training and carry guns on school campuses. But many school districts chose to opt out.

That’s why Governor Rick Scott asked the Legislature to move the money. He wanted local officials to use the funds to hire additional officers. But lawmakers rejected that idea. 

“I stand by that decision," says Senate President Designate Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton). "I think it’s the appropriate non-action to take at this time.”

Despite only using a fraction of the total funds, the Florida Board of Education again requested $67 million in the 2019 budget proposal. 

Galvano argues that proves “there is value to the program." 

"And that they’re recognizing that there is a methodology that can be accomplished in providing school safety utilizing, as one of the components, the Guardian Program," Galvano continues." So we’ll have to consider it.”

Galvano says though the program didn’t play out like lawmakers had intended, the Board sees merit in it.

So, he says, he will evaluate it along with the Board’s other proposals during session next March. 

Shawn Mulcahy is a reporter and All Things Considered host for WFSU. He graduated from Florida State University in 2019 with majors in public relations and political science. He was previously an intern at WFSU, and worked as an Account Coordinator at RB Oppenheim Associates.