House approves Kadyn’s Amendment

Published 2:14 pm Thursday, June 28, 2012

Amendment part of federal transportation bill

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved an amendment named after the 7-year-old rural Kensett, Iowa, girl who was fatally struck by a pickup last year while attempting to board her school bus.

Kadyn’s Amendment, passed unanimously Tuesday in honor of the late Kadyn Halverson, requires the federal government to devote at least $10 million to helping states enforce traffic laws that punish drivers for illegally passing stopped school buses.

U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Waterloo, who authored the amendment, said the amendment is budget-neutral because it simply redirects operations funding for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to school bus traffic law enforcement.

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It is part of a larger transportation funding bill.

“Today, Kadyn’s memory has brought together an often divided Congress to make our streets safer for our kids as they head off to school,” Braley said.

Braley worked with U.S. Rep. Tom Latham, a Republican from Alexander, Iowa, who authored the transportation bill, to gain support from the full House.

The amendment is separate from the federal Kadyn’s Act that Braley introduced in March. Kadyn’s Act has not yet been passed by the House or Senate.

If approved, Kadyn’s Act would require states to strengthen their penalties for drivers who pass stopped buses to the new Iowa standard at a minimum — or face losing 10 percent of federal highway funding each year.

Kadyn’s Act is crafted after what is called Kadyn’s Law in Iowa, under which a person who fails to slow for a bus with flashing lights or stop when the arm is extended can be fined up to $675 and spend up to 30 days in jail. For a second offense of passing a stopped school bus within five years, a person could pay as much as $1,875 with up to one year of jail time.

The man who struck and killed Kadyn, 32-year-old Aaron Gunderson, was sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.