Friday, March 20, 2009

Education Committee Kills Bus Seat Belt Mandate

A bill that would have required school buses in the state to be equipped with school buses died in the House Education Committee Thursday.

SB 29 was killed on a unanimous vote despite an amendment added in the Senate that removed a provision requiring the retro-fitting of existing buses.

Lobbyists for the Colorado Association of School Boards and the Colorado Association of School Executives waged a determined fight against the bill, which they believe would have imposed an unjustified financial burden on the state's school districts.

Under current law the districts are not required to outfit buses with safety restraints. There has been at least one death of a Colorado child due to an absence of seat belts on buses in the last 20 years.

The committee rejected the bill despite pleas from the state's medical community to afford children some protection from the risk of accidents while traveling Colorado roads on school buses.

SB 29 had been sponsored by Sen. Brandon Shaffer, D-Longmont, and Rep. Liane "Buffie" McFadyen, D-Pueblo West.