Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick sent a letter to Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) on Monday about school safety and mental health issues. Specifically, the letter is about “addressing the needs of the state to work toward a day when senseless acts of violence like those in Uvalde do not happen again.”
Patrick thanked Phelan for acting “immediately” to approve $50 million to supply school law enforcement with ballistic shields, adding the $50 million is “just the first down payment.”
“This is just the beginning of the process of appropriately equipping all law enforcement with another important tool to provide a speedy response to any threat,” wrote Patrick. “As we move forward this will require additional funds to ensure all officers across the state will have immediate access to these shields. This will need to be part of our base budget.”
The letter continued by outlining several items the lieutenant governor believes will also require funds before the school year restarts in August.
To address mental health, Patrick wrote that the state should expand Texas Child Health Access Through Telemedicine (TCHATT) statewide, increase the number of Multisystemic Teams (MST), and expand Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC) teams across the state.
The lieutenant governor called explicitly for two new CSC teams, including one in the San Antonio area with the capacity to serve Uvalde.
Concerning school safety, Patrick wrote that the state needs to provide increased funding for Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT), the Texas School Safety Center, and school districts to allow for the purchase of silent panic alert technology.
“I am prepared to sign off on these items listed below that we can fund now for the upcoming school year,” Patrick wrote.
Lt. Gov. Patrick also opined that there is a need to address money for fusion centers, automatic locking doors that have alarms when opened, and metal detectors.
“These are items that I believe all members in both chambers want and deserve to have their voices heard in upcoming hearings and during the upcoming legislative session,” Patrick said. “I look forward to working on all these matters with you.”