Never Again: Local House members take on school bus safety legislation

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INDIANAPOLIS (WNDU) - The Indiana House of Representatives is working on important legislation aimed at improving safety at school bus stops throughout the state.

Inspired to take action after three children died at their bus stop in Fulton County last fall, Republican Sen. Randy Head drafted legislation that passed the Senate last month. Now, Senate Bill No. 2 is working its way through House committees.

Three representatives from NewsCenter 16's viewing area are sponsors of the bill in the House. Freshman Rep. Ethan Manning, R-Denver, is the lead sponsor. Rep. Jim Pressel, R-Rolling Prairie, and Rep. B. Pat Bauer, D-South Bend, also serve as sponsors.

“It’s a very important bill,” Manning said. “We’re going to work on it and see how it moves through the process … improve safety for our school bus students.”

The bill contains language permitting schools to use stop arm cameras with enforcement, something that is getting some pushback by other House members concerned about privacy.

Pressel had stop arm cameras included in a distracted driving/transportation bill that didn’t get a hearing in the House this session. He is thrilled that Head added his language to the senate bill and will fight to keep it in the House.

“I’ve been fighting that fight since we got here,” Pressel said. “We’ve made a lot of progress with it. I’m confident we’re going to get this across the finish line.”

S.B. 2 is getting plenty of bipartisan support in the House.

“I think everybody should be behind it,” Bauer said. “It’s uncalled for that anybody that goes to school gets killed just because they’re trying to catch a bus. This bill, we hope, saves lives of children.”

The bill saw additional language added through amendments Wednesday in the House Courts and Criminal Code Committee, chaired by Rep. Wendy McNamara, R-Evansville.

NewsCenter 16 will follow the progress of this bill in the House as we continue our push for school bus safety solutions in Tricia Sloma's series of reports titled "Never Again: Preventing Bus Stop Tragedies."