A bill that would allow the registered owners of a car to be ticketed for passing a parked school bus cleared the Wyoming Senate Tuesday on a 22-8 vote on third and final reading. The proposal now heads to the Wyoming House of Representatives.

Senate File 80, sponsored by Sen. Affie Ellis [ R-Laramie County]. would, for the first time in Wyoming, allow a traffic ticket to be issued based on a photo of the license plate number of a vehicle as taken by a bus camera when the vehicle illegally passes a parked school bus with it's flashing red lights on. While the ticket would carry a fine of up to $195, it would not count as a moving violation towards a potential drivers license suspension.

Current state law allows such a ticket to be issued only if the photo of the driver is clear enough to make an identification. But many law enforcement agencies say that is a problem because the photo of the driver is often not clear. A photo of a license plate is usually more identifiable. Registered car owners could argue that they weren't driving the vehicle and hadn't given the person behind the wheel permission. The bill would make a milestone in Wyoming traffic laws, which currently do not allow the issuance of citations based license plate photos.

Opponents of the bill say it puts the burden of proof on the vehicle owner and may set a bad precedent for other traffic laws in the state.

Supporters say the safety of children should be the paramount issue and that too many people are violating the current laws on passing parked school buses and getting away with it.

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