Bill regulating school buses heads to Rauner’s desk
House Bill 3293, which would force any person or group that is not a school district, religious organization or transportation company, but that possesses a school bus, to change the appearance of the school bus, passed the Illinois General Assembly on the last day of spring session.
A proposal to regulate school buses has passed both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly and now heads to the governor’s desk. The measure passed the Illinois Senate May 31, the last session day before the General Assembly’s scheduled recess. The vote was 38-10.
House Bill 3293 would force any person or group that is not a school district, religious organization or transportation company, but that possesses a school bus, to change the appearance of the school bus.
HB 3293 provides: “If a school district, religious organization, vendor of school busses, or school bus company … discards through either sale or donation, a school bus to an individual or entity that is not one of the aforementioned entities above, then the recipient of such school bus shall be responsible for immediately removing, covering, or concealing the “SCHOOL BUS” signs and any other insignia or words indicating the vehicle is a school bus, rendering inoperable or removing entirely the stop signal arm and flashing signal system, and painting the school bus a different color from those under Section 12-801 of this Code.”
State Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, blasted the proposal, saying, “Let’s face it … we’ve got a lot of important things to do here, including passing a budget that will eliminate a lot of pain on the people we represent. … This is really bad priorities. And a great example of it.”
Though HB 3293 passed through the General Assembly, lawmakers failed to pass a balanced budget.
McCarter and state Sen. Dan McConchie, R-Hawthorn Woods, proposed their own budget plan in April known as the “Taxpayer Bargain.” The plan called for a balanced budget without tax hikes.
But in May, the Senate passed a $5.4 billion tax hike bill which would increase the state income tax, expand the state sales tax to services such as dry cleaning and storage, and raise $54 million in cable and satellite TV taxes. The tax hikes are part of a $37 billion budget plan hatched by Senate Democratic leadership.
Thankfully for taxpayers, the Senate’s budget and tax increases were not called for a vote in the House before the spring session ended. But the end of spring session means that any proposal will require a three-fifths majority vote to pass, making it even harder for lawmakers to produce a truly balanced budget and pull Illinois back from the brink of a potential credit downgrade to junk status.