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Florida House unanimously passes Alyssa's Law

Posted at 10:25 PM, Mar 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-09 22:27:50-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Alyssa’s Law, or Senate Bill 70, has unanimously passed the Florida House of Representatives.

Named for Alyssa Alhadeff who was tragically killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School requires panic alarms in Florida public schools.

The panic alarm will provide an electronic link between schools and law enforcement and reduce the confusion that can occur during such tragic events.

The Florida Senate and House unanimously approved the measure, which, when activated, will simultaneously alert school staff and first responders to life-threatening campus emergencies.

A commission’s review of the shortcomings at Parkland documented how communications among first responders broke down. At times, antiquated radio systems were rendered useless because some channels became overloaded, or radios could not communicate across different channels and jurisdictions. Video cameras weren’t transmitting footage in real time.

“Radios were like bricks; they weren’t working,” said Lori Alhadeff, who championed the legislation on behalf of her 14-year-old daughter.

“We didn’t have panic buttons," Alahadeff said. "If we had an Alyssa’s Alert, teachers would have seen it on their phones and would have known how to respond properly. They could have locked and barricaded their rooms, and got out of the line of fire."

Without direct communication with authorities, teachers and staff were unsure if the commotion was part of a drill.

Last year, Alhadeff's native-state New Jersey became the first state to put a panic system in place.