General Assembly Activities
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Posted by: Ella Adamson
GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTIVITIES
Senate Judiciary Committee
The committee met this morning to hear SB 2, school bus safety. Senator Randy Head is the author of the bill. This bill is in response to the tragic accident that took the lives of three young children. The original bill would do the following:
- Increase the penalties for a person “who recklessly passes a school bus stopped on a roadway when the arm signal device is extended.” This would in suspension of driving privileges and a fine of not more than $20,000. The bill also increases other penalties regarding school buses.
- The bill adds the following language dealing with loading and unloading operations: “When a school bus is operated on a: (1) U.S. route or state route, the driver may not load or unload a student at a location that requires the student to cross a roadway unless no other safe alternatives are available; and (2) street or highway other than a U.S. route or state route, the driver shall load and unload a student as close to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway as practicable.”
- The bill calls for a review of the school’s school bus routes and school bus safety policies on or before September 1 of each year. Further, it calls for the State School Bus Committee to put on the DOE website school bus safety guidelines or best practices.
The bill was amended in committee with the following provisions:
- School corporations may enter into agreements for camera enforcement for traffic regulations (cameras on stop arms) where the civil penalties for violating school bus laws can be used to pay for the cameras. Up to 25% of the civil penalties will be deposited in the school corporation’s Operation Fund.
- Adds school bus safety to the topics required to be on an driver’s license examination.
- Excepts those locations on a U.S. and state routes inside the boundary of a city or town from the prohibition on a school bus driver loading or unloading a student that requires the student to cross a roadway.
- Provides that a school board may allow the use of a school bus or special purpose bus for the transportation of adults with physical or intellectual disabilities.
Testifying on the bill were the fathers of the children killed in the recent accident and their grandfather. As you can image, this was an emotional time for the committee and those attending the hearing. Testifying in favor of the bill were: IASBO (also testifying for ISBA), DOE, ISTA, and the Prosecuting Attorneys Council. The Indiana Public Defenders Council had concerns about the increased penalties. The amended bill passed 10-0.
Senate Education Committee
The committee did hear SB 55, state tuition support, this afternoon. Senator Aaron Freeman is the author of the bill. Senator Freeman announced that the bill would be amended next week to delete the section of the bill that would require two ADM counts for the school distribution formula. IASBO had asked that this provision be taken out of the bill since this is an issue for the Senate Appropriations Committee. IASBO supports one count for the formula. LSA reported in the fiscal impact statement on the bill that only 22 corporations and charter schools would have more ADM in the February count than in the September count. So, IASBO’s concerns with the bill will be deleted at the next committee hearing.
House Government & Regulatory Reform Committee
HB 1166, redevelopment commission membership, was brought back to the committee for amendment purposes by the author, Representative Tony Cook. The amendment would allow all redevelopment commissions to add one member that would be selected by mayors. A school board member would be added to all of the commissions as a voting member. They are a board member from the corporation with the largest ADM unless that school board passes the membership to another corporation in the county. This amendment would keep the control of redevelopment commissions with mayors. The amended bill passed the committee by a vote of 11-0.