Senate criticizes House school safety bill as weak - - Jackson, MS

Senate criticizes House school safety bill as weak

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By  David Kenney - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) -  A law designed to improve school bus safety is creating a stir in the capitol this week. Last year, Nathan's Law was first introduced by members of the Senate but the law failed to come up for a vote in the House.

Now, House members have passed their own version, which has upset some of the original bill sponsors.

This bill is named for Nathan Key who was struck and killed by a motorist illegally driving around his stopped school bus last year.

Thursday, Senate leaders held a press conference criticizing House Bill 551. The bill increases fines and suspends the drivers license of a motorist who passes a stopped school bus.

Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant and Senator Chris McDaniel say the bill is weak, even though it contains an aggravated assault provision for anyone who strikes a child while passing a bus.

Senate members say a bill they proposed last year would have also included possible jail time and a minimum fine for offenders. The Key family also attended the press conference. They say the house version of Nathan's Law actually reduces penalties already on the books in Mississippi.

"It's very frustrating one would state that reducing the current law we have on our books in memory of someone anyone that is an insult, an absolute insult to his legacy," said Lori Key, Nathan's mother.

Dominic Gebben, the man arrested for killing Nathan Key ,was sentenced to 22 years in prison last year. He was driving with no insurance and a suspended license.

Today we left a message for Representative Ed Blackmon who helped draft the house version of 'Nathan's Law', but our calls were not returned.

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