BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    





          SENATE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                             Senator Ricardo Lara, Chair
                            2015 - 2016  Regular  Session

          SB 1072 (Mendoza) - Schoolbus safety:  child safety alarm system
          
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          |Version: April 7, 2016          |Policy Vote: T. & H. 10 - 0,    |
          |                                |          ED. 9 - 0             |
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          |Urgency: No                     |Mandate: Yes                    |
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          |Hearing Date: May 2, 2016       |Consultant: Jillian Kissee      |
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          This bill does not meet the criteria for referral to the  
          Suspense File.



          Bill  
          Summary:  SB 1072 would require schoolbuses, school pupil  
          activity buses (SPABs), and youth buses to be equipped with a  
          child safety alarm system by the beginning of the 2018-19 school  
          year, as specified.  The bill would also enhance procedures and  
          training regarding pupil transportation to ensure a child is not  
          left unattended on a schoolbus.


          Fiscal  
          Impact:  
           Unknown, likely significant local costs to implement the  
            requirements of this bill.  These costs are not state  








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            reimbursable.  See staff comments.

           Minor costs to the California Department of Education (CDE) to  
            modify bus driver training programs to include instruction on  
            inspection procedures that ensure a student is not left  
            unattended. (General Fund)

           Minor and absorbable costs for the California Highway Patrol  
            (CHP) to adopt regulations regarding child safety alarm  
            systems, and to incorporate requirements into school bus  
            inspections.  (Motor Vehicle Account)

           Minor and absorbable costs for the Department of Motor  
            Vehicles (DMV) to account for an additional circumstance that  
            would result in the refusal to issue or renew a bus driver  
            certificate, or the revocation or suspension of that  
            certificate.  (Motor Vehicle Account)


          Background:  Existing law requires 40 hours of initial training before a  
          person may be eligible to take the written and behind-the-wheel  
          exams for recommendation by the CHP for a certificate issued by  
          DMV to drive a school bus (35 hours for a SPAB), and requires 10  
          hours of training annually to be eligible to renew a  
          certificate.  Certificates may be valid for up to five years.   
          Existing law requires the training within the last 12 months of  
          the validity of the certificate to include specific topics,  
          including current laws and regulations, defensive driving,  
          accident prevention, emergency procedures, and passenger loading  
          and unloading. 
          The certificate is revocable if the bus driver misbehaves.  The  
          DMV must revoke the certificate if the driver has been convicted  
          of a sex offense, as specified, or a violent felony.  In  
          addition, the DMV may revoke the certificate if the driver has  
          been convicted of other less serious crimes.



          Existing law also requires the California Department of  
          Education (CDE) to develop or approve courses for training SPAB,  
          transit bus, school bus, and farm labor vehicle drivers that  
          will provide them with the skills and knowledge necessary to  
          prepare them for certification by the DMV.  (Education Code   
          40070)  The curriculum for this training currently includes  
          procedures for loading and unloading students and includes some  







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          information specific to ensuring that a student is not left  
          behind on a bus.

          Existing law requires the county superintendent of schools, the  
          superintendent of a school district, or the owner or operator of  
          a private school that provides transportation to or from a  
          school or school activity to prepare a transportation safety  
          plan containing procedures for school personnel to follow to  
          ensure the safe transport of students. The plan must address  
          several specified topics.


          Proposed Law:  
            SB 1072 would require schoolbuses, school pupil activity buses  
          (SPABs), and youth buses to be equipped with a specified child  
          safety alarm system by the beginning of the 2018-19 school year.  
           CHP must adopt regulations governing the specifications,  
          installation, and use of the alarm systems by January 1, 2018.
          This bill expands the required contents of a transportation  
          safety plan to include procedures to ensure that a student is  
          not left unattended on a school bus, school student activity  
          bus, or youth bus.  This bill also requires a school district to  
          include this requirement in a contract for the transportation of  
          students.

          This bill requires the county superintendent of schools, the  
          superintendent of a school district, or the owner or operator of  
          a private school that provides transportation to or from a  
          school or school activity to notify the DMV within five calendar  
          days of discovery that a driver of a school bus, school student  
          activity bus, or youth bus has left the immediate vicinity of  
          the vehicle to which the driver has been assigned with an  
          unsupervised student onboard.  DMV would be authorized to refuse  
          to issue or renew, or to suspend or revoke, a bus driver  
          certificate upon the report of an incident.

          This bill expands the training required during the last 12  
          months for which the special driver certificate is valid, in  
          which the 10 hours required must include instruction on the  
          inspection procedures included in the transportation plan.


          Related  
          Legislation:  SB 247 (Lara) places new safety requirements on  
          charter buses (none specific to child safety alarms).  SB 247 is  







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          pending in the Assembly Transportation Committee.


          Staff  
          Comments:  Staff notes that the additional requirements related  
          to expanding the required transportation plan, reporting to the  
          DMV, providing related training, and installation of the child  
          alarm systems are unlikely to result in a determination of the  
          Commission on State Mandates (Commission) that these activities  
          impose a reimbursable state mandate.  Test claims submitted for  
          related school bus safety requirements in statute, including the  
          development of a transportation plan and requiring seatbelts in  
          buses, have been determined by the Commission to not constitute  
          a reimbursable state mandate because those activities are  
          triggered by a decision to provide transportation services to  
          students.  Education Code Section 39800 authorizes, but does not  
          require this activity for school districts.
          
          This bill also allows the DMV to refuse to issue or revoke a bus  
          driver certificate for a vehicle used for the transportation of  
          developmentally disabled persons if the DMV receives a report  
          that a student was left unattended on a bus.  Federal law, under  
          the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), requires  
          local educational agencies to provide special education and  
          related services specified in a student's individualized  
          education program, which may include transportation, at no cost  
          to parents to meet the unique needs of a child with a  
          disability.   According to the Commission, "although school  
          districts may provide school bus or school pupil activity bus  
          transportation, along with a variety of other possible options,  
          to fulfill the possible transportation requirements under the  
          IDEA, neither state law nor the IDEA require school districts to  
          provide school bus or school pupil activity bus transportation."  
            Therefore the provisions in this bill affecting  
          developmentally disabled students are unlikely to result in a  
          reimbursable state mandate. 

          This bill would impose new requirements upon school districts  
          and county offices of education that opt to provide a  
          transportation program to students.  According to a Legislative  
          Analyst's Office report, most school districts in the state  
          operate school bus programs to transport a portion of their  
          students to and from school.  According to the author's office,  
          the Los Angeles Unified School District installed child safety  
          alarms, consistent with this bill, at a cost of $194,000 for its  







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          1,300 buses.  Other costs would include staff time to update  
          transportation plans and report incidences to the DMV.  School  
          districts are likely to use local discretionary funds or if they  
          received Home-to-School Transportation funding in 2012-13, they  
          have this amount available to them through an add-on of the  
          Local Control Funding Formula.  Statewide, the Home-to-School  
          Transportation funding is about $461 million.



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