Senator Steve Saland (R,C - Poughkeepsie) today announced that two bills he authored, which provide protections for children on school buses, have been signed by the Governor.
Senate Bill 8431 increases the penalties for the sale of a controlled substance on a school bus. Current law designates school grounds to include all school property as well as areas within 1000 feet of the school. Sale of a controlled substance on school grounds is assessed a higher penalty than when the same offense occurs off school grounds. "Those dealing drugs to our children know that if they are caught selling their wares on school grounds, the penalties are higher -- as they should be", said Senator Saland. "There is no logical reason not to provide the same deterrents and protections on a school bus as you would on school grounds. Now the penalty for the sale of controlled substances on a school bus has also been raised", Saland continued. The legislation was introduced at the request of the late John Funk, former Supervisor of the Town of Stockport.
Senate Bill 4164 prohibits possession of a rifle, shotgun or firearm on a school bus. Until now, the Penal Law prohibited the possession of a rifle, shotgun or firearm on the grounds of any school, college or university, but that section of law failed to include school buses within the definition of school grounds. There is an exception in law for those with written authorized possession and they will not be affected by this legislation. "Prohibiting guns in schools is intended to create a more secure and worry-free environment for both students and teachers," said Senator Saland. "It is simply inconceivable that school buses were not included in the law".
"Parents need to know that when they send their children off to school on the bus each morning they will be as safe as possible. I authored these new laws so that drug dealers and those who would bring dangerous weapons on a school bus will think twice before attempting to use a former loophole in the law to avoid harsher punishment for their despicable crimes" said Senator Saland.
The controlled substances on school buses law takes effect September 1st and the guns on school buses law takes effect November 1st.