Senators reject Colorado school bus seat-belt requirement |

Senators reject Colorado school bus seat-belt requirement

Tim Hoover
The Denver Post

A proposal to require seat belts on school buses was trounced in the Senate on Friday.

The debate came as the Senate considered House Bill 1232, which would clarify the definition of “school vehicles” in state law. Senate President Brandon Shaffer, D-Longmont, who has sponsored legislation in the past to require school buses to have safety belts, offered an amendment to the bill.

The amendment would have required all buses purchased after June 30 to have three-point shoulder and lap belts and for all passengers to wear them.

“There are compelling reasons to do this,” said Shaffer, who said schools are increasingly purchasing buses with three-point harnesses.

The idea was shot to pieces by Republicans and Democrats, who said the proposal would be too costly and that school buses are already safe .

Sen. Keith King, R-Colorado Springs, a former high school teacher and basketball coach, said the requirement would add $30,000 to the cost of every school bus.

“This is a bad amendment,” said Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Westminster, a former teacher and member of the Colorado State Board of Education.

Hudak and others said school bus seats, with their reinforced, padded, high backs, keep kids safe. She said children are more likely to be injured walking in front of a bus than while riding on it.

The amendment failed on a 5-29 vote, while the underlying school vehicle bill won approval on a 34-0 vote. It must go back to the House for consideration of Senate amendments.

Another tussle Friday came as the Senate debated a bill requiring police to get a person’s written approval before conducting a consensual search of their vehicle, home or person.

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