Indiana House Democratic Caucus

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Bartlett continues fight for school bus safety law

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For immediate release:
March 13, 2013


INDIANAPOLIS - Although the Indiana House of Representatives ignored legislation authored by Rep. John Bartlett (D-Indianapolis) to require seatbelts on school buses, the state lawmaker today expressed his intent to keep fighting for child safety by amending his proposal into Senate Bill 421.

Senate Bill 421, authored by Sen. Earline Rogers (D-Gary), would require bus drivers with seatbelts to instruct students on the proper fastening of the seatbelt.

Most school buses in Indiana, however, are not equipped with safety belts.

Bartlett’s amendment would change that.

Bartlett’s fight for school bus safety spurred from an incident in Indianapolis last year in which the bus driver suffered a heart attack, causing a wreck and the death of five-year-old student Donasty Smith. Ten other students were injured in the accident, and the bus was not equipped with seatbelts for all passengers.

“It is extremely frustrating to know that a baby died, that babies are being injured on school buses,” he said. “We need to start looking at protecting our children.

“I was told that the bill probably wouldn’t get a hearing because of the fiscal, but when we in the great state of Indiana think that it’s more important to save dollars and cents than to protect our babies, we’re in a sad state,” he concluded.

Senate Bill 421 passed through the Senate 39-11 and has been assigned to the House Committee on Education.

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