By Christopher King
ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) - A state lawmaker has introduced a bill that would ban anyone on the sex offender registry from getting a new license to drive a school bus or a charter bus.
- Once again, putting all ex-sex offenders into one group, those who harm children, which is not true. If a person commits a crime that did not involve a child, then they should be able to drive a bus.
"It would be a total restriction on any transportation of children," said State Rep. Paul Battles.
Battles has introduced a bill that would bar anyone on the sex offender registry from getting a new commercial driver's license and driving certain types of commercial motor vehicles.
That means a convicted sex offender would not be able to drive a school bus or a charter bus.
Battles said his bill would add another layer of safety for children.
- And more discrimination against those whose crime didn't involve children!
"This just protects them against the possibility of someone committing another crime," Battles said.
Page Pate, a legal and constitutional expert, said the bill takes the current law a step further, but is not needed.
"If the intent is to keep sex offenders away from kids, the current law already does that," Pate said. "Right now, if you're on the sex offender registry, you can't drive a school bus because the conditions of your probation would prohibit you from congregating around minors."
- This is not exactly true. First, not all ex-sex offenders are on probation / parole, and once they are off paper, many can live or do whatever they want, besides, this is just another law that is lumping all ex-sex offenders into one group and treating them all as if they've harmed children.
Pate, however, said the bill stands a good chance of being approved into law and holding up in court.
"They're not trying to prevent someone who's now off the registry from doing their current job. If they already have the ability to drive the school bus, they can continue to do that," Pate said.
- Good, but what if they don't already have a job driving a bus, will they be able to get one? I seriously doubt it.
The bill last year stalled in general assembly because it just ran out of time to be passed, battles said.
Battles believes the measure will be approved into law this year.