Senator Steve Saland (R,C Poughkeepsie) today announced that his legislation (S.8431) to increase penalties for the criminal sale of a controlled substance on school buses has passed the Senate and Assembly. The legislation was requested by the late John Funk, former Supervisor of the Town of Stockport.
Current law defines "school grounds" to include all school property as well as areas within 1000 feet of the school. As such, the sale of a controlled substance on school grounds is assessed at a higher penalty than when the same offense occurs off school grounds. A loophole in the law does not include school buses in the definition of school grounds. As a result, perpetrators caught with a controlled substance on a school bus can not be assessed a higher penalty comparable to the crime of putting school children at risk. This legislation raises the penalty of sale of a controlled substance on a school bus to a Class B Felony.
"For a number of years, the Senate has passed this commonsense measure to protect children. I am pleased that this year, the Assembly has decided to join our efforts and act favorably towards this important legislation," said Senator Saland. "Children should be afforded the same protection on the school bus as they do on school grounds. Those who victimize students in any school setting should expect to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.