What it does: The bill would require 2007 and older diesel engines to be replaced or retrofitted with new emission-reducing parts. The retrofit rules include school buses. (For more details, see ”Clean diesel bill keeps on chugging”.) OSBA has been involved in the discussions. Although industry and the environmental community agree that spending money on school buses should come first, they have differences on how to address urban emissions and how to spend the Volkswagen settlement fund to address Oregon air quality.
What’s new: SB 1008-A was amended again Wednesday, narrowing the scope of the emission policy. First, it authorizes Oregon to accept the Volkswagen funds and allow the Department of Environmental Quality to handle the settlement money and any allocations based on decisions by the Legislature. Second, it applies some of those dollars to deal with old school buses. School districts will continue to provide a portion of the retrofit or bus replacement costs. DEQ will work with the Oregon Department of Education as money becomes available and notify school districts of the process.
What’s next: The bill moves to the Ways and Means Committee and awaits further action.
What it does: The bill would expand the 2007 distracted driving law by prohibiting any person from operating a motor vehicle while using a mobile communication device. The definition of mobile hand-held device was also expanded. A court challenge led to the bill, which was drafted to assist law enforcement with enforcing the 2007 law. It includes stiffer penalties for the first, second and third offenses while adding an affirmative defense to the law. However, the expanded definition of hand-held devices captures industries that use radios for dispatching purposes, which includes school buses.
What’s new: The bill has received lots of attention by industries pulled into the expanded law. The bill was heard Thursday and amended to exempt school buses from the rules on two-way radios, which allows schools to continue with district policies for bus drivers.
What’s next: The bill moved out of the committee and is headed to the Senate floor for a full vote. If successful, the bill will return to the House floor for a concurrence vote. A bill that has been changed by the second chamber must return to the chamber of origin to receive a second vote to accept (or concur) additional changes to the bill.