Tennessee panel: School bus seat belt bill makes state pay

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A Tennessee House panel has voted to make the state commit to cover the whole cost before a proposed regulations to require seat belts in new school buses can take effect.

Republican Rep. Jeremy Faison of Cosby attached the amendment during a Government Operations Committee meeting Tuesday.

The bill stems from a crash that killed six elementary school children in Chattanooga in November.

Faison said local school districts cannot afford the additional cost.

The proposed seat belt requirement would apply to new school buses purchased after July 2019.

In its recent form, the bill would cost school districts an estimated $12.9 million annually. It would cost the state $2.2 million annually.

Bill sponsor Rep. JoAnne Favors, a Chattanooga Democrat, said there's still time to work on any potential obstacles in the seat belt proposal.