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Gov. DeSantis Signs Bills on School Bus Safety, Bear Poaching

first_imgGov. Ron DeSantis on Saturday signed 21 bills, including measures intended at improving school bus safety and preventing bear poaching.The school bus safety bill (HB 37) will increase penalties for motorists who do not follow traffic rules when buses are stopped to load and unload children.It would increase the minimum penalty from $100 to $200 for drivers who fail to stop for school buses. In addition, the law would double the minimum penalty from $200 to $400 for motorists who pass stopped school buses on the side where children enter and exit.“This bill is a step in the right direction,” Republican House sponsor Ardian Zika, of Land O’ Lakes, said before the House approved the measure last February. “Today, we are sending a loud and clear message that the Florida House of Representatives stands by the safety of our children and our communities.” However, Democratic Rep. Joe Geller, of Aventura, said he was “reluctantly” supporting the bill, as he believes the proposed fines are too high.“We’re fining someone up to $400 because they look away for a second, maybe because their kids are fighting in the backseat, and they don’t see that they’re passing a school bus that’s stopped,” Geller said in February. “That’s just too high. It’s just too much money to be charging for what is likely to be an inadvertent mistake.”Another bill signed by Gov. DeSantis (HB 327) seeks to stop poaching of black bears. It is a practice that stems partially from killing the animals for their gallbladders. Bear bile, which is secreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder, can bring hundreds or thousands of dollars on the black market, where it is promoted as a cure for numerous illnesses.The governor is also in the process of signing the upcoming year’s $93.2 billion budget.last_img read more