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VOL. 41 | NO. 16 | Friday, April 21, 2017

Tennessee school bus seat belt bill placed in budget limbo

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NASHVILLE (AP) — A Tennessee bill to require seat belts in new school buses bought after July 2019 is in budget limbo while lawmakers examine the cost and whether the state will cover it.

The House Finance, Ways & Means Subcommittee put the legislation on hold Wednesday because it's currently unfunded in the governor's budget plans.

Fiscal estimates say the bill would add $12.9 million in annual costs to school districts and $2.2 million in yearly state costs. The bill was changed to make the state pay the whole cost.

Rep. JoAnne Favors, the Chattanooga Democratic bill sponsor, believes the costs were overstated because the seating capacity would likely drop by at most two seats per bus, not 12.

The bill responds to a November crash that killed six Chattanooga elementary school children.

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