CHAPTER 311

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 292

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 41, TITLE 21, DELAWARE CODE, BY EMPHASIZING THE PROVISION FOR LEGAL COUNSEL AND PROVIDING COMPENSATION TO CERTAIN PERSONS APPEARING AS WITNESSES IN THE CASE OF AN ALLEGED VIOLATION OF THE SCHOOL BUS STOP LAW.

WHEREAS, This General Assembly is concerned with the safety of school children and therefore expects the careful enforcement of the SCHOOL BUS STOP LAW: and

WHEREAS, school bus operators, bus aides, and school crossing guards must frequently appear as witnesses against persons who are alleged to have violated this law; and

WHEREAS, it is the wish of the members of this General Assembly that such a witness, called by the Attorney General, be well prepared for appearance in court and that the witness be shielded by the prosecutor from any courtroom harassment by an overly aggressive defense counsel; and

WHEREAS, members of the General Assembly agree that no witness should suffer loss of wages or leave time in order to testify for the enforcement of this safety law.

NOW, THEREFORE:

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend Delaware Code, Title 21. §4166 by redesignating subsections (h) and (i) to be (i) and U) respectively and by inserting in that section a new subsection (h) as follows:

"(h) Bus operator, bus aide or crossing guard as witness

Whenever a school bus operator, a bus aide or a crossing guard is required to prepare, with legal counsel, for an appearance or to appear in any court as witness against a person who is alleged to have violated subsection (d) of this section, he or she shall be advised by the prosecutor assigned to the case by the Attorney General. If a witness is required to prepare for or to appear in court during his or her working hours, as an operator, aide or guard, in a case as herein described, he or she shall not suffer any loss of wages, salary or leave time as an employee of the school district, bus contractor or other employing agency, because of such appearance, except as provided in this section. If the preparation or appearance occurs at a time other than his or her regular working hours, then the witness shall be paid by his or her employer for the time involved. Payment for such time shall be at the rate regularly paid to that employee, except that such payment shal not exceed $8.00 per hour. Employers shall be reimbursed for wages and employment costs paid upon presentation of appropriate documentation to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction."

Approved July 2, 1984.