School bus camera bill hits speed bump with revenue-sharing change
Stock image via Adobe.

school bus stop sign on side of bus
‘Let’s be consistent.’

A bill meant to fix a new Florida law allowing the use of cameras to penalize motorists who illegally pass public school buses is advancing, despite concerns over a cost-sharing provision some worry might incentivize ticketing.

If passed, the bill (SB 994) would let charter and private schools outfit their buses with cameras and expand the use of collected fees to pay for student transportation safety and bus driver-hiring initiatives.

But an amendment by the bill’s sponsor, Zephyrhills Republican Sen. Danny Burgess, caused consternation Tuesday among members of the Senate Transportation Committee. The change, which the panel approved, would allow the companies that school districts hire to install and operate the bus camera equipment to receive an unspecified portion of the fine revenue collected.

The committee Chair, Nick DiCeglie, criticized the amendment. He said it works counter to what lawmakers agreed to last year when they passed the original law, which Burgess also sponsored.

DiCeglie pointed out that the provision is incongruous with Florida’s similar policy for red light cameras. He also acknowledged revenue-sharing was included in another measure the Legislature also OK’d last year allowing camera enforcement of school safety zones, but noted that arrangement could be undone in the future.

“I think it’s incumbent upon us as a Legislature to, in the future, decide whether we want revenue sharing for that. Let’s be consistent,” he said. “The revenue sharing is important for me because it incentivizes an activity to give more tickets, which creates more revenue, which then gets into an area that I don’t think many of my colleagues would quite frankly agree with. That’s been my concern with this area of policy since day one.”

Sens. Jay Trumbull and Tracie Davis said they had reservations about the provision as well, but only Davis ultimately voted “no” on the measure, which advanced on a 4-1 vote.

Burgess described SB 994 as a “clean-up” of his bill from last year, which in addition to allowing camera enforcement of school bus stop signs required larger and flashier signage on the vehicles.

Six Senators and five Representatives, all Republican, voted against the original bill last year. Detractors, including Spring Hills Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, argued the proposal was too similar to controversial red light cameras.

But surveys of school bus drivers the Florida Department of Education has been conducting for years suggest the need for stronger enforcement. In just one day in 2022, bus drivers reported 7,687 motorists passed them illegally. Last year, that figure rose to 11,224.

SB 994 has two more committee stops before reaching the chamber floor. The bill’s House companion (HB 1045) by Jacksonville Republican Rep. Kiyan Michaels is similarly situated.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Dont Say FLA

    January 31, 2024 at 9:34 pm

    School bus stop arm cameras lead to exactly one thing: MAGA flagged pick’em up trucks shooting at school buses. We don’t really want that, do we? If the occasional stupid kid gets run over, it’s worth it to keep the smarter kids from being shot at.

  • FloridaPatriot

    February 1, 2024 at 10:01 am

    Every bus should have these cameras and the fines for running those signs should be big enough to hit home. Maybe even a suspension of the driver’s license.

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