Haslam funding for school safety fails to dissuade House panel from approving bill to arm teachers

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam

NASHVILLE - A controversial bill that would let designated Tennessee educators go armed in schools cleared another House hurdle Tuesday, despite concerns raised by law enforcement officials and others.

Civil Justice Committee members approved the bill on an 8-3 vote, just hours after Gov. Bill Haslam announced he was providing $25 million in one-time money and $5.2 million more in annual state dollars to address some school-safety issues.

The issue of school safety has accelerated nationally in response to recent school shooting incidents.

During debate on legislation to arm teachers, sponsor Rep. David Byrd, R-Waynesboro, a retired educator, who had delayed the measure to see what money Gov. Bill Haslam would recommend, told the panel "I could tell we probably wouldn't get that money. That's why I started to bring this back."