Senate criticizes House school safety bill as weak

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — Mississippi Senate leaders say a House bill proposed to strengthen rules for school bus safety doesn’t go far enough and would even weaken current state law.

The bill passed by the House would increase fines and suspend the driver’s license of a motorist who passes a stopped school bus. It also says a driver who strikes a child while passing a bus can be charged with aggravated assault.

Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant and Sen. Chris McDaniel of Ellisville, both Republicans, say the bill is weak.

McDaniel says it omits language giving a judge discretion to impose jail time for a motorist who passes a stopped bus. He says it also removes a minimum fine.

McDaniel says he’s filing a more comprehensive bill.

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The bill is House Bill 551.