JACKSON, Miss. — State senators approved a version of Nathan's Law on Friday that was different from the version passed last Wednesday by the House. In all likelihood, the bill will be sent to a House-Senate conference committee and be changed to include elements of the different versions.
The legislation is named after a kindergartner who was killed when a man illegally passed his school bus. As previously reported by SBF, the bill got full support from the state Senate last year, but became tied up in a House committee where certain penalties and requirements were taken out.
The bill passed by the House states that drivers who pass stopped school buses will face fines of $750 for a first offense and $1,500 for a second offense committed within two years of the first, The Commercial Appeal reports. Second offenders will also have their driving privileges revoked for 90 days. Despite increased fines, senators believe the House version of the bill is weaker than the current illegal passing law.
The House bill also subjects violators to an aggravated assault charge, which is punishable by up to 20 years in jail. However, senators say it will be difficult to prosecute violators on this charge.