Legislative Watch – November 15, 2021

House Bill 99, sponsored by Representative Thomas Hall (R-Madison Township), passed out of the Ohio House Criminal Justice Committee by a party-line vote of 7-5. The bill would exempt a “person authorized to go armed within a school safety zone” from satisfactorily completing an approved basic peace officer training program. This would reverse the 2021 Ohio Supreme Court ruling on Gabbard v. Madison Local School District Board of Education.

Substitute House Bill 99 would prescribe state training requirements at a maximum of 20 hours of initial training and 4 additional hours to be completed annually. OEA believes this level of firearms training remains inadequate and will ultimately jeopardize the safety of students and staff.

Additionally, the measure requires a board of education or governing body of a school to notify the public that they have authorized one or more persons to go armed within a school of the board or governing body. However, the bill does not expressly state how often the governing body should notify the public and if school districts who have already authorized this policy are required to notify the public.

Representative David Leland (D-Columbus) offered two OEA supported amendments that were tabled. These amendments would have enhanced the notification provisions and removed the maximum training hour requirements and instead allow the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission to determine the hours sufficient for training of armed school personnel.

OEA remains opposed to the bill.