Senate Poised To Take Up School Safety, Toll Roads

Apr 16, 2019

In two of the highest-profile issues of the 2019 legislative session, the Senate on Wednesday is slated to take up proposals designed to bolster school safety and build or expand three toll roads. 

During a floor session, senators are expected to consider a wide-ranging bill (SB 7030), sponsored by Education Chairman Manny Diaz Jr., R-Hialeah, that is a follow-up to school-safety legislation passed last year after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

The bill has drawn controversy because it would expand a school “guardian” program to allow trained classroom teachers to be armed.

Also during the floor session, the Senate will consider a bill (SB 7068), sponsored by Infrastructure and Security Chairman Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, that would lead to three major toll-road projects.

The bill, a priority of Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, seeks to extend the Suncoast Parkway from the Tampa Bay area to the Georgia border; extend the Florida Turnpike west to connect with the Suncoast Parkway; and build a new toll road that would go from Polk County to Collier County.

Galvano contends, in part, that the projects could help boost the economies of rural areas of the state, but environmentalists have raised concerns about urban sprawl.