A bill removing a duplicate permit for school bus drivers is expected to reach the floor of the Legislature any day.
The bill would remove a requirement that school bus drivers get a special school bus driver permit from the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles, in addition to a Commercial Driver’s License.
In order to drive a school bus, the driver’s CDL must have endorsements for passenger and school bus. Drivers must complete a medical exam that is verified by the state board of education, said Adam Weinberg of the Platte Institute, a conservative advocacy group.
The DMV permit is outdated, Weinberg said. Similar requirements have been repealed across the country as federal transportation laws related to CDLs have been modernized. Only Nebraska and Illinois still require special school bus driver permits, Weinberg said.
“The tests bus drivers are required to take are the same ones that over-the-road truckers are required to have. I think it’s ironic you don’t need a special license to drive a large motor home, while towing a boat, and have no experience driving something that large, but you have to have one for driving a bus,” said Luke French, a small business owner who drives a school bus part-time.
The Platte Institute supports the bill, LB 347. It is sponsored by Sen. Suzanne Geist at the request of Gov. Pete Ricketts, as part of Ricketts’ job licensing reform package.
It also received support from the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles and General Drivers and Helpers Local #554, Weinberg said.