Under a bill passed by the state legislature and signed by Gov. Beverly E. Perdue earlier this week, North Carolina will no longer allow commercial drivers who are required to register as a sex offender to possess a “passenger” or “school bus” endorsement.
“UMA congratulates the North Carolina Motorcoach Association for introducing and piloting this landmark legislation,” stated Ken Presley, vice president of industry relations for United Motorcoach Association.
Effective December 1, 2009, persons required to register under the sex offender and public protection registration plans will be denied a “Passenger” or “School Bus” endorsement. At Commercial Drivers License (CDL) renewal, sex offenders will be denied renewal of these endorsements. Also, any CDL holder with these endorsements who commits an offense requiring sex offender registration will see their CDL revoked.
“We are very proud that we have been able to get this important legislation introduced and passed,” noted Jim Harris, president of the North Carolina Motorcoach Association and owner of Warsaw, N.C.-based Cardinal Coach. “The safety and protection of our passengers is paramount, and keeping convicted sex offenders from operating buses that transport children just makes sense.”
Faced with the expense of running criminal background checks in multiple jurisdictions at the request of school districts, the legislation shifts the responsibility and expense to the state.