During the Legislative Special Session on Wednesday, Dec.19, State Rep. John Frey (R-Ridgefield) moved to include language that will allow capital grant funds given to municipalities to be used for enhancing school security systems into the Deficit Mitigation Bill, which was passed by the Legislature late last night.
After discussing the proposal with legislative leadership, Mr Frey’s proposal was adapted into the Deficit Mitigation Bill, the bi-partisan agreement created to close Connecticut’s $252 million budget deficit.
The funds for these security enhancements will be provided by Connecticut’s Local Capital Improvement Fund Program. This year, $30 million will be available to municipalities under this program.
Typically towns will use this money for local projects, Mr. Frey’s legislation will allow towns the option to use these funds to update the security in their school buildings.
Rep. Frey’s proposal comes in the wake of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. Rep. Frey has two nieces and a nephew who attend Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“For years, Ridgefield used funds from the Local Capital Improvement Program to expand our town’s sidewalks,” he said. “Given the horrible tragedy which fell upon Sandy Hook, this measure will allow towns, like Ridgefield, to put these state funds towards updating and improving security in our schools.”
“This legislation will help any town, who may not ordinarily have the funds available, ensure that our children have what they need to be safe in their schools.”
“Sadly, this legislation comes at a time of great sorrow in our state,” said Minority Leader Cafero. “The senseless act of violence that happened at Sandy Hook Elementary is horrific, and immediate measures need to be taken to enhance the safety of our schools. Making these state funds available for security purposes will ensure that every town in Connecticut will be able to take the necessary steps they need to improve the safety of our children. I’d like to thank John for his proposal, and for the great work he continues to do for Ridgefield, and our state.”
“The idea for expanding the area these funds would be authorized came to me only last night, after the bill we acted upon today was in its final draft form. I thank the leaders of the four caucuses who recognized the importance of making this change immediately and agreeing to add the necessary language to the bill,” Mr. Frey said.
The Deficit Mitigation Plan passed both the House of Representatives and Senate, and will now move to the Governor for his signature.