A Tennessee bill now aims to require that school buses bought after July 1, 2019, be equipped with restraints for passengers.

A Tennessee bill now aims to require that school buses bought after July 1, 2019, be equipped with restraints for passengers.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A school bus seat belt proposal has passed a Tennessee Senate committee after shedding a clause that would have required retrofitting of existing school buses.

The legislation was introduced by state Rep. JoAnne Favors, a Democrat from Chattanooga, in the wake of the crash that killed six students in her city in November.

Favors’ proposal originally would have required school buses bought after July 1, 2018, to be equipped with “a restraint system” for passengers. Then, as of July 1, 2023, all school buses in the state would have had to be equipped with the restraints.

Now, an amendment has removed the retrofit requirement and has added a year to the effective date for restraints on new school buses, pushing it to July 1, 2019. The bill still does not specify a type of restraint, such as lap belts or lap-shoulder belts.

On Wednesday, the amended bill passed the Tennessee Senate Education Committee in a 7-0 vote. It now moves to the Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee.

According to a fiscal analysis of the legislation, the requirement for restraints on new school buses in Tennessee would increase local government expenditures by $12.9 million in fiscal year 2019-20 and subsequent years.

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