Attempt to change school bus law makes it to Gov. Deal's desk - CBS46 News

Attempt to change school bus law makes it to Gov. Deal's desk

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -

Georgia Governor Deal could sign House Bill 978 into law any day now. CBS46 is learning there is a serious debate about the wording of one paragraph that references stopping for school buses. Depending on who you ask, people seeing the same words are reading two different meanings.

Some educators believe the bill will allow drivers to keep moving if they encounter a school bus stopped on the other side of a center turning lane, commonly referred to as the "suicide lane" or the "chicken lane."

After asking the opinion of Capitol attorneys, at least one sponsor of the bill told CBS46 they've come to the conclusion that the words in lines 32 through 37 reinforce an exact opposite interpretation: Drivers are supposed to stop for school buses everywhere, unless they are separated by a median that can't be crossed.

As of Thursday, CBS46 has been unable to identify the author of the school bus paragraph, which was described by a source as a late addition to the bill's original wording.  We have also been unsuccessful in determining the anonymous author's motivation for writing it.

Of the seven lawmakers listed as sponsors of the bill, three did not return calls, one sent an e-mail response that did not answer our questions, and three others returned calls, sincerely attempting to answer our questions, but none admitted to writing the paragraph at issue. 

A state senator we spoke with explained how easy it is for the author of a bill's amendment to disappear into obscurity. In order to successfully track down the person who wrote a specific line, one would either have to be in the room when it is announced, or look through stacks of transcripts after-the-fact, searching for every mention of the bill and connect the names of people mentioned.

CBS46 tracked down Governor Nathan Deal at the Capitol, Thursday. He told our cameras his team is still unclear about how the state will officially interpret the bill's language.

Deal has until Tuesday to sign or veto the bill. 

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