New school buses purchased after January 1, 2016 would be required to have seat belts, if lawmakers sign off on a new proposal at the Statehouse.


"This is not a retrofit law," said Rep. Tom Letson, a Warren Democrat.


The bill would also require any bus getting new seats to include seat belts.


Letson believes that while today's school buses are very safe, seat belts would make them even safer. Six other states: California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York and Texas, require seat belts, but the upgrades aren't cheap.


The bill is modeled after a similar measure introduced in 2010. It stalled before getting a vote. Letson believes timing could be against them again this time. Lawmakers will break for the summer before returning for a short time before the November election. It could come up during the so-called "lame duck session." Letson says if they run out of time they'll bring it back in the next General Assembly.


"Democrats and Republicans care about our school children and this isn't something I think we're going to let go or lose sight of in the near future," he said.