Kadyn’s law passes Iowa Senate

Published 10:03 am Friday, March 2, 2012

By Deb Nicklay, Mason City Globe Gazette

DES MOINES, Iowa — Kadyn’s Law unanimously passed the Iowa Senate on Thursday.

The law, advocated by the family of the late 7-year-old Kadyn Halverson of rural Kensett, increases penalties for those violating school bus stop arm law.

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“It was very emotional for all, including legislators,” said Kim Koenigs of Osage, who helped orchestrate the lobbying efforts and researched other state laws in preparation for the bill’s introduction.

Kadyn’s family, led by her mother, Kari, lobbied legislators to pass the law and held fundraisers to help pay for costs of creating notebooks for each legislator. The books contained letters of support and information about school bus safety laws.

The current legislation mandates a fine of at least $250 but not more than $675. A person can be sent to jail for up to 30 days for a first offense.

A second offense within five years is a serious misdemeanor, with fines ranging between $315 and $1,875 and up to a year in jail.

In addition to the enhanced fines and penalties, the bill requires the Department of Transportation, Department of Public Safety and Department of Education to conduct a study on school bus safety.

The study would focus on the feasibility of mounted cameras on buses, bus safety education during driver instruction, and the feasibility of requiring that children be picked up on the side of the road where their home is located.

Similar legislation is pending in the Iowa House.

Aaron Dwayne Gunderson in January was sentenced to 15 years in prison for passing a bus and killing Halverson.