UPDATE: House panel OKs changed version of bus safety bill

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — A school bus safety bill is still alive, but some of its supporters complain it’s now in a weakened form.

The bill, known as Nathan’s Law, passed the House Judiciary A Committee ahead of a Tuesday legislative deadline.

Judiciary A Chairman Ed Blackmon says the committee stripped the bill of many provisions, including a requirement that other motorists stop at least 30 feet from a stopped school bus and a requirement that only handsfree cell phones be used by motorists in school zones.

Sen. Chris McDaniel filed the bill in response to last year’s death of 5-year-old Nathan Key, who was hit by a car after he got off a bus near Laurel. McDaniel criticized the House changes.

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The bill is Senate Bill 2505.