WASHINGTON, D.C. — Legislation has been introduced at the federal level that would require Iowa’s new stricter penalties for motorists who pass stopped school buses to apply to all states in the country.
As SBF reported earlier this week, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad signed “Kadyn’s Law,” under which bus-passing violators face a fine of up to $675 and up to 30 days in jail for a first offense. For a second offense within five years, the fine would be up to $1,875 with up to one year of jail time.
Rep. Bruce Braley of Iowa introduced the federal version of the bill on Wednesday.
The legislation would require states to strengthen their penalties for motorists who pass school buses with their red lights flashing and stop arm extended to the new Iowa standard at a minimum, or face losing 10 percent of federal highway funding each year.
“When reckless drivers ignore warnings and pass stopped school buses, children’s lives are put in danger,” Braley said. “Toughening penalties for drivers who violate school bus safety laws will save lives and convince more people to drive responsibly around kids and schools. It’s a common-sense change that rises above petty partisan politics.”
Braley went on to say that thanks to Kadyn Halverson, Iowa has become a national leader in school bus safety. (Halverson was struck and killed by a pickup truck last year as she was walking across a road to board her school bus. The law was named after her.)
“It’s time every state adopt these strict standards so the penalty matches the severity of this crime,” he added.
Kadyn’s Law was championed in Iowa by Kadyn’s mother, Kari Halverson, her family, and Kim Koenigs, a local advocate.
“The fact that Kadyn's Law is being introduced at a federal level today is beyond amazing to us,” Halverson said. “As a mother who has lost a child by someone illegally passing by a stopped school bus, I can only hope and pray our leaders at the national level will embrace this act for our children all over the country. I applaud Congressman Bruce Braley for stepping up and taking on an issue that is extremely near and dear to my heart, as well as others who have lost children in this way."
To read the proposed federal bill in full, go here.