ASSEMBLY, No. 597

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

217th LEGISLATURE

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2016 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman† JOSEPH A. LAGANA

District 38 (Bergen and Passaic)

Assemblyman† REED GUSCIORA

District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)

Assemblyman† JAY WEBBER

District 26 (Essex, Morris and Passaic)

Assemblyman† RAJ MUKHERJI

District 33 (Hudson)

Assemblyman† JAMEL C. HOLLEY

District 20 (Union)

Assemblyman† DANIEL R. BENSON

District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)

Assemblyman† JOE DANIELSEN

District 17 (Middlesex and Somerset)

Assemblyman† BENJIE E. WIMBERLY

District 35 (Bergen and Passaic)

Assemblywoman† JOANN DOWNEY

District 11 (Monmouth)

Senator† SHIRLEY K. TURNER

District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblymen Singleton, Caputo, Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Caride

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Establishes crimes of operating school bus with suspended or revoked driving privileges and being involved in accident causing bodily injury; permanently prohibits passenger and school bus CDL endorsements for persons convicted of those crimes.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† As reported by the Assembly Education Committee with technical review.

††


An Act concerning school bus operators, supplementing Title 2C and Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes, and amending P.L.1989, c.104.

 

†††† Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

†††† 1.††† (New Section)† a.† For the purposes of this section, ďschool busĒ shall have the meaning set forth in R.S.39:1-1.

†††† b.††† A person, knowingly operating a school bus transporting one or more students, while that personís driving privileges have been suspended or revoked shall be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

†††† c.†††† A person, knowingly operating a school bus while that personís driving privileges have been suspended or revoked, who is involved in an accident resulting in bodily injury to another person shall be guilty of a crime of the third degree.

 

†††† 2.††† (New Section)† a.† The Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission shall revoke for life the passenger endorsement on the commercial driverís license of a person convicted of a violation of subsection b. or subsection c. of section 1 of P.L.††† , c.††† (C.† ††††††) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

†††† b.††† The chief administrator shall revoke for life the special license issued pursuant to R.S.39:3-10.1 to a person convicted of a violation of subsection b. or subsection c. of section 1 of P.L.††† , c.    (C††††††† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

 

†††† 3.††† Section 6 of P.L.1989, c.104 (C.18A:39-19.1) is amended to read as follows:

†††† 6.††† a. †Prior to employment as a school bus driver, and upon application for renewal of a school bus driver's license, a bus driver shall submit to the Commissioner of Education [his or her] the driverís name, address, and fingerprints in accordance with procedures established by the commissioner. No criminal history record check or check for alcohol and drug-related motor vehicle violations shall be furnished without [his or her] the driverís written consent to such a check.† The applicant shall bear the cost for the checks, including all costs for administering and processing the checks.

†††† Upon receipt of the criminal history record information for an applicant from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Division of State Police, and information on the check for alcohol and drug-related motor vehicle violations from the [Division of Motor Vehicle Services] New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, the Commissioner of Education shall notify the applicant, in writing, of the applicant's qualification or disqualification as a school bus driver.† If the applicant is disqualified, the convictions which constitute the basis for the disqualification shall be identified in the written notice to the applicant.† A school bus driver, except as provided in subsection e. of this section, shall be permanently disqualified from employment or service if the individual's criminal history record reveals a record of conviction for which public school employment candidates are disqualified pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1986, c.116 (C.18A:6-7.1) or if the driver has been convicted at least two times within the last 10 years for a violation of R.S.39:4-50, section 2 of P.L.1981, c.512 (C.39:4-50.4a), section 5 of P.L.1990, c.103 (C.39:3-10.13), or section 16 of P.L.1990, c.103 (C.39:3-10.24); [or] once for a violation of section 5 of P.L.1990, c.103 (C.39:3-10.13) or section 16 of P.L.1990, c.103 (C.39:3-10.24) while transporting school children; or once for a violation of subsection b. or subsection c. of section 1 of P.L.††† , c.††† (C.††††††† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

†††† Following qualification for employment as a school bus driver pursuant to this section, the State Bureau of Identification shall immediately forward to the Commissioner of Education any information which the bureau receives on a charge pending against the school bus driver.† If the charge is for one of the crimes or offenses enumerated in section 1 of P.L.1986, c.116 (C.18A:6-7.1), the commissioner shall notify the employing board of education or contractor, and the board or contractor shall take appropriate action.† If the pending charge results in conviction, the school bus driver shall not be eligible for continued employment.

†††† A school bus driver shall not be eligible to operate a school bus if the individual's bus driver's license is currently revoked or suspended by the [Division of Motor Vehicle Services] New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission in accordance with R.S.39:3-10.1 or if the individualís passenger endorsement or special license issued pursuant to R.S.39:3-10.1 is revoked by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission for life in accordance with section 2 of P.L.††† , c.††† (C.††††††† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

†††† Following qualification for employment as a school bus driver, the [Division of Motor Vehicle Services] New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission shall immediately forward to the Commissioner of Education any information which the division receives on a conviction for an alcohol or drug-related motor vehicle violation that would disqualify the driver from employment pursuant to the provisions of this subsection. The commissioner shall notify the employing board of education or contractor that the driver is no longer eligible for employment.

†††† b.††† Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, an individual shall not be disqualified from employment or service under this act on the basis of any conviction disclosed by a criminal history record check or a check for alcohol and drug-related motor vehicle violations performed pursuant to this section without an opportunity to challenge the accuracy of the disqualifying records.

†††† c.†††† When charges are pending for a crime or any other offense enumerated in section 1 of P.L.1986, c.116 (C.18A:6-7.1), the employing board of education or contractor shall be notified that the candidate shall not be eligible for employment until the commissioner has made a determination regarding qualification or disqualification upon adjudication of the pending charges.

†††† d.††† The applicant shall have 30 days from the date of the written notice of disqualification to challenge the accuracy of the criminal history record information or the record of convictions for an alcohol or drug-related motor vehicle violation.† If no challenge is filed or if the determination of the accuracy of the criminal history record information or the record of convictions for an alcohol or drug-related motor vehicle violation upholds the disqualification, notification of the applicant's disqualification for employment shall be forwarded to the [Division of Motor Vehicle Services] New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.† The local board of education or the school bus contractor and the County Superintendent of Schools shall also be notified of the disqualification. Notwithstanding the provisions of any law to the contrary, the [Director] Chief Administrator of the [Division of Motor Vehicle Services] New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission shall, upon notice of disqualification from the Commissioner of Education, immediately revoke the applicant's special license issued pursuant to R.S.39:3-10.1 without necessity of a further hearing.† Candidates' records shall be maintained in accordance with the provisions of section 4 of P.L.1986, c.116 (C.18A:6-7.4).

†††† e.†††† This section shall first apply to criminal history record checks conducted on or after the effective date of P.L.1998, c.31 (C.18A:6-7.1c et al.); except that in the case of a school bus driver employed by a board of education or a contracted service provider who is required to undergo a check upon application for renewal of a school bus driver's license, the individual shall be disqualified only for the following offenses:

†††† (1)†† any offense enumerated in this section prior to the effective date of P.L.1998, c.31 (C.18A:6-7.1c et al.); and

†††† (2)†† any offense enumerated in this section which had not been enumerated in this section prior to the effective date of P.L.1998, c.31 (C.18A:6-7.1c et al.), if the person was convicted of that offense on or after the effective date of that act.

†††† f.†††† (1) Notwithstanding any provision of this section to the contrary, the check for alcohol and drug-related motor vehicle violations shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of this section prior to initial employment as a school bus driver and upon application for renewal of a school bus driver's license until such time as the provisions of the "Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999," Pub. L. 106-159, are effective and implemented by the State.

†††† (2)†† Notwithstanding any provision of this section to the contrary, upon the implementation by the State of the "Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999," Pub. L. 106-159, a check for alcohol and drug-related motor vehicle violations shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of this section prior to initial employment as a school bus driver.† A check for alcohol and drug-related motor vehicle violations conducted for any subsequent renewal of a school bus driver's license shall be subject to the provisions of the "Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999," Pub. L.106-159.

†††† (3)†† Upon the implementation by the State of the "Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999," Pub. L. 106-159, following qualification for employment as a school bus driver, the [Division of Motor Vehicle Services] New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission shall immediately notify the Commissioner of Education of the suspension or revocation of a school bus driver's commercial driver's license.† The commissioner shall notify the employing board of education or contractor of the suspension or revocation, and the employment of the school bus driver shall be immediately terminated.† In the case of a school bus driver whose commercial driver's license has been suspended, the driver may apply for re-employment at the end of the period of suspension.

(cf: P.L.2003, c.66, s.4)

 

†††† 4.††† This act shall take effect on the first day of the seventh month after the date of enactment.