DENVER — All members of the House Education Committee in the Colorado General Assembly have rejected a bill that would have required school buses purchased statewide after June 30, 2010, to be equipped with lap-shoulder seat belts, postponing the legislation indefinitely.
Students would have been required to wear the belts while a bus is in operation, and bus drivers would have had to make an effort to ensure that the belts were being used.
Rose Swenby, the mother of the last child to die in a school bus accident in Colorado, said House Education Committee members appeared to have “made up their minds in advance” against the bill before voting on it, the Longmont Times-Call reported.
Swenby testified for Sen. Brandon Shaffer’s bill in a February Senate committee meeting and again at the House Education hearing last week. The Senate had approved the bill in late February.
Swenby said much of the opposition at last week’s hearing came from school officials who complained about the bill’s unfunded state mandate on local school districts and who questioned its necessity since only one student has been killed on a Colorado school bus in the past 20 years — Swenby’s son.
According to the Longmont Times-Call, Shaffer could reintroduce his bill in 2010. “We’ll circle back and see if the timing is better next year,” he said. “I still feel it’s an important consideration and the best thing we can do for our kids.”