JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — State Rep. Donna Baringer, D-St. Louis, expressed her frustration last Wednesday with a portion of House Bill 497 that she believes sees the House surrender to school shootings.
This portion of the bill requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education develop a traumatic blood loss protocol for school personnel by the beginning of 2024 and require bleeding control kits be placed in high traffic areas at K-12 schools. Though Baringer notes that this provision — originally HB 116 — is well-intentioned, it presumes those shootings will continue to occur.
“While I respect and appreciate the many positive changes House Bill 497 will bring to Missouri schools, I am disappointed it includes a provision that mandates bleeding control kits in our public and public charter schools,” Baringer said. “The General Assembly can and should focus on legislation that prevents school shootings from happening instead of passing language that assumes we will see more of these tragedies unfold.”
Baringer, who serves as ranking member of the House Fiscal Review Committee, also noted this portion of the bill comes with a significant financial cost to the state as well. The bill’s fiscal note states this portion of the bill alone will cost approximately $1.5 million in general revenue to supply bleeding control kits, which will become a recurring cost as those kits expire.
“The House will legislate — and even appropriate funds — to deal with the outcome of school shootings, but we will do next to nothing to actually prevent those shootings from taking place,” Baringer said. “I find it frustrating that we are literally more focused on putting band-aids on bullet wounds while refusing to save lives by solving the problem of gun violence.”