HATTIESBURG, Miss. — A bill that would have increased penalties for stop-arm running died in the state Legislature on Saturday, but supporters said they will keep pushing for the change.
The legislation was dubbed “Nathan’s Law,” for a 5-year-old who was killed by a passing motorist after getting off his bus in December.
As it was introduced, Nathan’s Law would have hit first-time offenders with raised fines of $500 to $5,000, and their driver’s license would have been suspended for 30 days. For any subsequent offense, the bill would have increased penalties to $800 or imprisonment for up to one year, or both, and license suspension for 90 days.
Among other provisions of the bill, a stop-arm violation resulting in the death or injury of a child would have been a newly defined felony, and the offender could have been sentenced up to five years in prison and fined up to $5,000.
However, supporters of the legislation accused a House committee chair of weakening it, and a final version could not be agreed upon.
Nathan’s parents, Lori and Andy Key, and Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant were among supporters who said the push to pass Nathan’s Law would continue.
"We're not gonna stop fighting for the children of Mississippi," Lori Key told reporters. "They all deserve the respect of drivers, and they depend on us to make sure they're safe."