State Sen. Tony Mendoza introduced a new bill that would grant school districts another year to implement electronic child reminder alarms in all of the state’s approximately 30,000 school buses.
The bill read on Tuesday would take effect immediately after passage to allow school districts until the start of the 2019-2020 school year to properly install the alert systems.
Mendoza authored the Paul Lee Law, SB 1072, passed and enacted last year in response to the death of Hun Joon “Paul” Lee, a 19-year-old nonverbal student with autism who was left on his morning bus in 2015. Temperatures that Sept. 11 day were in excess of 90 degrees, and Lee died after being left alone by his bus driver for about eight hours.
At the new year, the California Highway Patrol released approved regulations required by the Paul Lee Law to update Title 13 of the state's pupil transportation code. The new section set the specifications for the technology, even as school districts made plans for meeting a compliance date of the start of the coming 2018-2019 school year for each bus statewide to be equipped with the driver reminder systems.
As technology providers canvassed the state in recent weeks to demonstrate their equipment and train districts, contractors and bus dealers on how to install it, Mendoza introduced SB 1068 on Monday that would delay implementation to the following school year.
Editor’s note: STN will update this article as more information becomes available.