New Law Puts Expiration Date On Older School Buses; First-Year Taxpayer Savings Put At $56 Million

Monday, April 7, 2014

Tennessee lawmakers approved legislation on Monday that sponsors said will raise the safety standards for school buses in the state and save millions in taxpayer dollars. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Ron Travis, R-Dayton, and Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, and amended by House Transportation Committee Chairman Rep. Vince Dean, R-East Ridge. 

The new law puts an expiration date on school buses that have been in service for longer than 18 years, unless they have logged fewer than 200,000 miles. Buses with over 18 years but under 200,000 miles may receive an annual exemption until they reach the 200,000 mile mark.

Rep. Dean said, "Under current law, before a used bus can be extended beyond 15 years, it must have four annual inspections in Tennessee. In other words, you have to drive it four years before its 15th birthday. That was changed to two annual inspections. Current law was only allowing a used bus that was less than 11 years old to be kept in service. Now they can buy one that's 13, get it inspected at 13 and 14, then it can be kept in service after 15 years old."

He said an estimated first-year taxpayer savings of $56 million "will come from the fact that local LEAs won't have to go through the cost of replacing buses that are still in good safe operating condition, just because they are 17 years old."

Rep. Travis said, “The legislation will save millions of dollars for our local governments over the next several years, ensuring that more money can be spent in our children’s classrooms.”

As chairman of the House Transportation Committee, Rep. Dean said he worked alongside Rep. Travis for the passage of the bill in the House. After holding hearings in the House Transportation Committee with school bus manufacturers, contract school bus drivers, local education agencies, and the Tennessee Department of Safety, Rep. Dean said there was "a glaring need for a compromise."

“Every party has their own priorities and their own needs, but the primary priority of the House from the beginning has been the safety of our children and the efficient use of our taxpayers’ money,” said Rep. Dean. “Rep. Travis and I have worked diligently to come up with a compromise that satisfies all involved parties but does not sacrifice what is truly important.”

The House approved the bill with a 92-0 vote. The bill cleared the Senate with a vote of 28-0 and is now on its way to the governor’s desk to be signed into law. 

“I am truly thankful to both the Department of Safety and my colleagues in the House for their support of this bill,” said Rep. Travis. “I look forward to even more legislation in the future that not only saves money for our local communities, but also helps ensure our children are protected on a daily basis.”


Chattanooga Cocaine Dealer, Who Said He Did It To Support His 7 Kids, Given 10-Year Federal Sentence

A Chattanooga cocaine dealer, who said he did it to support his seven kids, was ordered Monday to serve 10 years in federal prison. Reginald Dewayne McKenzie, who is originally from Atlanta and whose family is there, appeared before Judge Sandy Mattice. His attorney, Anthony Martinez of the Federal Defender's Office, said McKenzie finished high school and some college. ... (click for more)

Manhunt On For Man Wanted For Attempted Murder After Car Chase That Began In Dunlap

Several police agencies on Monday evening were involved in a manhunt for Julian Rollings, who went on foot into the Big Fork area of Signal Mountain after a car chase that began in Dunlap. Julian Paul Rollings, 28, is wanted on attempted murder and aggravated domestic assault in Hamilton County and also faces charges in Sequatchie County. A woman inside the car during the ... (click for more)

Six Commissioners Owe Us An Explanation - And Response (2)

Two-thirds of the Hamilton County Commission owe us an explanation as to why they feel it appropriate to take $900,000 of our money out of savings to spend on whatever suits their fancy, oversight be darned.  Those six commissioners are: Randy Fairbanks (D-1), Jim Fields (D-2), Warren Mackey (D-4), Sabrena Turner-Smedley (D-7), Tim Boyd (D-8), and Chester Bankston (D-9).  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Mr. Murray’s Great Note

In the last several days I have received hundreds of emails after I took a stand for General Nathan Beford Forrest, the South’s rich history, and the indelible fact the War Between The States is still a big part of who were are and what we have become. For the record, as of late yesterday afternoon, I have not heard from one dissenter, although I know there are some who I believe ... (click for more)

Lookouts Break Losing Streak With 9-8 Win Over Montgomery Sunday

 MONTGOMERY, Ala. - The Biscuits did all they could to get another comeback victory against the Chattanooga Lookouts on Sunday night, but fell just short in the bottom of the ninth to lose their first game of the second half in a 9-8 thriller at Riverwalk. The Lookouts' lineup pounded out thirteen hits as a team providing a ton of offense, though it was just enough to escape ... (click for more)

John Shearer: A Look At The Origin Of The Lady Vols’ Name

On Wednesday, the University of Tennessee is scheduled to drop the Lady Vols nickname from all women’s sports teams except the basketball squad.   The change has been a source of much debate, particularly in Knoxville. As evidence, several people wanting to keep the Lady Vols name protested last Thursday along Joe Johnson Drive, near where the UT board of trustees was meeting ... (click for more)