TRENTON, N.J. – Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and Democrats blocked a motion by Republicans to pass school safety legislation two days after a gunman murdered 19 innocent schoolchildren and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The measure would have standardized school emergency response training for police and is based upon recommendations from state task forces formed after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012.
Assemblywoman Kim Eulner, a prime sponsor of the bill (A303), implored Democrats to act now to save the lives of schoolchildren and teachers by requiring every police officer in New Jersey to attend in-service training on school emergencies, including active shooters. “The only thing that stopped the Assembly from taking action after Uvalde today was the speaker moving a bill from first to second reading,” said Eulner (R-Monmouth). “All Republicans were asking for was to pass a bill that would have required training for police so they are prepared if, God forbid, a school shooting happens in New Jersey.”
Assemblyman John McKeon responded as parliamentarian by blocking the floor vote claiming it was out-of-order. Despite having done so in the past for Democrat bills, Speaker Craig Coughlin also refused to move the bill to second reading, which would have permitted an emergency vote. Majority Leader Louis Greenwald defended the inaction today by rattling off bills the Legislature has already passed, but invited Eulner to work with him to possibly move bills forward in the future.