(KCPW News) A bill that would have allowed school districts to sell advertisement space on school buses was voted down this morning in the Utah House of Representatives. Its sponsor said it would have brought in several million dollars for schools during tough budget times. But Representative Mel Brown, a substitute school bus driver, opposed it for safety reasons. He said ads might distract drivers from recognizing school buses.
“That yellow and black school bus is a symbol of safety. When people see that bus they recognize it,” he said. “They’ll give you deference. They’ll give you space. They’ll even slow down and in most cases allow you to pass.”
Other lawmakers worried schools could face legal action if an advertisement were controversial. But Representative Jim Byrd, who sponsored the bill, held fast to his argument that advertising on school buses is safe.
“I just want to reiterate that we’re not painting the bus. It’s still yellow. The safety issues are of utmost importance,” Byrd argued. “As far as respect for the school buses, when that comment was made the thought that went across my mind was if we don’t have respect for school buses, doesn’t that begin in the home with the family and teaching children respect for all things?”
The bill would have barred ads for tobacco or alcohol, sexual material, or anything political. This is the second time Byrd’s proposal has been rejected by the legislature. Last year, the House Education Committee voted it down.