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House panel endorses mandatory seat belts on school buses; chairman absent | Legislature – New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana 2021-05-04 13:00:00 –

School buses operating after January 1, 2023 must wear seat belts under a bill approved by the House Board of Education on Tuesday.

The bill, House Building 130, cleared the panel without objection, despite concerns about the cost of complying with the new rules.

The bill does not require the installation of existing buses without seat belts.

Robbie Carter, the sponsor of the bill at D-Amite, said the change was far behind.

Limiting the number of students on the school bus due to the coronavirus pandemic has helped shape the reopening of public schools …

“Everything we did to mandate seat belts today, this is the last big hole we have to close,” Carter told the committee.

He said Congress enacted a law in 2004 requiring seat belts to be included in school buses, but would include huge loopholes if state funding was included to install them.

“It’s been 17 years and we’ve never used the money to handle it,” Carter said.

The law initially put a price tag of about $ 34 million, including a fee to modify a bus that is currently in operation.

“The question is always’where do you get the money?'” Carter said. “Where can I get $ 34 million to do this?”

Changing the bill so that it only applies to school buses that have been in operation for nearly two years has significantly reduced costs.

“I wish I had done that in 2004,” Carter said of applying that mission in the future. “It wouldn’t have been 17 years without seat belts.”

The morning part of the hearing took place without R-Chalmet, Chairman of the House Board of Education Ray Garafaro, who was involved in the controversy.

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Governor John Bel Edwards argued on Thursday amid heightened tensions that could confuse the legislative assembly in the third week …

It was chaired by Republican Rep. Mark Wright and the Vice-Chairman of the Panel.

Mary-Patricia Wray, who represents the Louisiana School Bus Operators Association, emphasized that her comment was not against the bill, but to provide information.

Ray said the law would increase the cost of school bus owners and operators by at least $ 1,000. This is a common fare for adding seat belts to new buses, Carter said.

She said the state did not comply with the constitutional requirement to fully fund education.

“There is no money there to make this change,” Ray said.

She also said that no one would attend to ensure that the little children would properly buckle unless the school bus carried an assistant to assist the driver.

“This is really what we need to implement this properly,” Ray said.

Rep. Amy Freeman of D-New Orleans supported the bill, saying parents could not be discharged with a newborn without proper placement in a child seat.

Governor John Bel Edwards and Louisiana State Legislative Black Caucus said last week that Garofalo should be chaired after commenting on legislation limiting the way universities teach racism, sexism and other topics. ..

House Speaker Clay Shexnader, R-Gonzalez, who nominates the chair, said Monday that he had a private meeting on the issue and did not provide a timeline for a solution.

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House panel endorses mandatory seat belts on school buses; chairman absent | Legislature Source link House panel endorses mandatory seat belts on school buses; chairman absent | Legislature

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