Nathan's Law at standstill in house - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Nathan's Law at standstill in house

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By Kevin Wheeler - bio | email 

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Most legislators were certain Nathan's Law would swiftly move through both chambers of Congress.

"We know it works, we know the data, and we know this is a good bill," said Sen. Chris McDaniel.

McDaniel introduced the bill after 5-year-old Nathan Key was struck by a driver passing a school bus in December 2009.

The bill would place stricter penalties on those who break driving laws around school buses. It swept through the Senate with no opposition, but it sits still in the house.

"That's what's one of the most disappointing things," said McDaniel. " We have a bill here that is going to help the kids of our state and right now for some reason it's just sitting there in committee without being brought up for a vote."

The bill has to make its way out of committee by next Tuesday if it doesn't it will die this legislative session.

Senator McDaniel said several states are looking to pass a similar law and are watching how Mississippi handles it.

"It's not going to be a good message if the bill dies here in the committee when it should've passed, and chances are the other states won't consider it this year if we can't even get the bill out in Mississippi," McDaniel said.

Representative Percy Watson is a member of the house judiciary committee, but he's not as active because he chairs the house ways and means.  Watson says the bill was pushed more in the senate than the house.

"It's very important in legislature that whenever you have important legislation that you want to pass, that you push in advance the legislation in both chambers," said Watson.

Watson said he will talk with the committee chairman, Ed Blackmon to see what the holdup is.  WDAM went by Blackmon's office twice today and he was not there either time.

Senator McDaniel said he has called Blackmon several times and has not gotten an answer.

"He's been very busy obviously and I'm not upset with him for being busy, but I still don't know the reason that the bill hasn't been brought out," said McDaniel. "I just know that if it's not brought out and considered by next Tuesday we lose our chance to pass Nathan's Law for this year and that's a shame."

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