We have been discussing states approving laws for having seat belts including in school buses. This blog covers a story about one state taking retrofitting off the table.
A school bus seat belt proposal has passed a Tennessee Senate committee, after shedding a clause that would have required retrofitting of existing school buses. The original proposal would have required school buses bought after July 1, 2018, to be equipped with a “restraint system” for passengers. Then, as of July 1, 2023, all school buses in the state would have had to be equipped with the restraints. Now, an amendment has removed the retrofit requirement and has added a year to the effective date for restraints in new school buses, pushing it to July 1, 2019. The bill does not specify a type of restraint, such as lap belts or lap-shoulder belts.
A few days ago, the amended bill passed the Tennessee Senate Education Committee in a 7-0 vote. It now moves to the Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee.
The main reason for the amendment, according to a fiscal analysis of the legislation, is that the requirement for restraints on new buses in TN would increase local government expenditures by $12.9 million in fiscal year 2019-2020 and subsequent years.
We have talked about the expense of retrofitting school buses with restraints in previous blogs. Some states do not have money in the budget to meet the requirements and are still trying to figure out how to find the funds.