BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Gov. Larry Hogan is one of eight governors on a bipartisan work group that will study state-level solutions to gun violence and safety at schools, the National Governors Association said.

Three other Republican governors, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, Spencer Cox of Utah and Henry McMaster, are on the group with four Democratic governors, Phil Murphy of New Jersey, Kathy Hochul of New York, Ned Lamont of Connecticut, and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, the organization said.

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In a June 9 letter to President Joe Biden, Hutchinson and Murphy, the association’s chair and vice chair, respectively, said they were forming the work group in response to the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where 21 people were killed, including 19 children and two adult teachers.

“Schools should be among the safest places for our children and educators, and there should be no doubt that they will return home at the end of the day,” Hutchinson and Murphy wrote, saying they plan to provide recommendations for how states can use $1.7 billion in federal funding to enhance school safety and children’s mental health.

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In a statement Thursday, Hutchinson and Murphy said: “Every state is unique, but we can all agree that there are commonsense ways to keep our schools and communities safe in a manner consistent with the demands of the American people. The nation’s Governors are committed to working together on solutions that reflect the characteristics of our states – doing everything in our collective power to protect our communities.”

The announcement comes as a gun control bill, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, advanced in the Senate on a 65-to-34 vote.

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The legislation provides billions to increase mental health services and includes several reforms, such as enhanced background checks for prospective gun buyers younger than 21 years old and criminal penalties for straw purchases and gun trafficking.

CBS Baltimore Staff