School bus driver permit repeal advanced

A bill intended to simplify licensing requirements for Nebraska school bus drivers advanced from the first round of debate Jan. 11.

Introduced by Lincoln Sen. Suzanne Geist, LB347 would eliminate the requirement for a special $5 school bus driver permit, which must be renewed annually with the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

Nebraska is the only state to require such a permit, Geist said, and the state’s adoption of federal requirements for commercial driver licenses in the 1980s made it obsolete. Under current law, school bus drivers must present a medical certificate to the DMV each year to renew the permit.

“The Nebraska Department of Education requires all bus drivers to provide the medical certificate to the school,” Geist said, “which makes the requirements of the school bus permit a duplicate effort and an unnecessary cost to the drivers.”

She said the department will retain authority to regulate school buses and school bus drivers except for the issuance of the federally required CDL and endorsements, which the DMV will handle.

School bus drivers still would be required to undergo a physician’s examination to determine whether they meet physical and mental standards set by the department. Additionally, Geist said, school bus drivers still would be required to take special training classes, and schools would continue to check drivers’ driving records and criminal histories.

After adopting two technical amendments, senators voted 37-0 to advance LB347 to select file.

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