The Magnolia School District is reminding community members of two updated state legislative acts related to the school systems of Arkansas.

The laws concern the safety of children while coming, going and attending the schools of Arkansas.

Monday is the start of the 2019-2020 school year in Magnolia.

Act 288 amended the law concerning distracted driving. The law states that a driver of a motor vehicle shall not use a handheld wireless telephone while operating a motor vehicle when passing a school building or school zone during school hours when children are present and outside the building.

The law was amended to state that a law enforcement officer may stop or detain a driver of a motor vehicle to determine compliance of this law. This law makes the use of a handheld wireless telephone in a school zone a primary offense.

Exceptions would be operating a motor vehicle for an emergency purpose and for law enforcement officers in the performance of his or her official duties.

Act 166 amended the law concerning the penalties imposed for the unlawful passing of a school bus. The law states that when a school bus stops and displays its alternating red warning lights for the purpose of loading or unloading passengers, every operator of a motor vehicle or motorcycle meeting or overtaking the school bus from any direction shall bring the motor vehicle or motorcycle to a complete stop before reaching the school bus.

The operator of the motor vehicle or motorcycle shall not start up or attempt to pass in any direction until the school bus vehicle has finished receiving or discharging its passengers and is in motion again.

The amendment increases the fine for noncompliance of this law to a minimum of $500 and a maximum of $2,500.

Anyone convicted of not complying with this law shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

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