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Florida's Republican legislative leaders promise funding for mental health programs, school officers

Legislators promise 'sweeping' bill in response to school shooting protests

TALLAHASSEE, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Activists and students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School attend a rally at the Florida State Capitol building to address gun control on February 21, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida. In the wake of last week's deadly mass shooting that left 17 people dead, thousands of supporters joined the Parkland students to call for gun reform. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida’s Republican legislative leaders said Wednesday that they are going to move ahead with a “sweeping” bill that will respond to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead in Parkland.

The legislation will include substantial increases in money spent on mental health programs and school resource officers. Lawmakers are considering a program promoted by one Florida sheriff that calls for law-enforcement training and deputizing someone who is allowed to carry a weapon on campus.

Legislators may also enact a waiting period for rifle purchases and raise the legal limit from 18 to 21. Florida now has a three-day waiting period for handguns.

Students from Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School visited the Capitol on Wednesday to talk to lawmakers.

Rep. Jose Oliva, a Miami Republican who met with some of the students, said he understands “there is a tremendous amount of emotion around this subject.”