No skipping kindergartenAll 5-year-olds must attend...

CAPITAL MATTERS

March 16, 1991

No skipping kindergarten

All 5-year-olds must attend kindergarten or an approved alternative program under a Schaefer administration bill passed by the Senate yesterday, 39 to 8.

The mandatory school attendance age currently is 6 years old with attendance for 5-year-olds optional. About 95 percent of the state's 5-year-olds already are enrolled in a kindergarten program.

Besides kindergarten, the bill would allow 5-year-olds to b enrolled in Head Start programs, in licensed full-time child care or in registered full-time family day care.

The bill, which would not take effect until the fall of next year would cost the state about $2.7 million in fiscal year 1993. The measure now goes to the House of Delegates.

Seat belt bill gains

A Senate committee unanimously approved yesterday a Schaefer administration bill extending the state's mandatory seat belt law to include light-duty pickup trucks and pertain to more children.

The bill passed by the Judicial Proceedings Committee would require children under 10 years old to wear a seat belt and children weighing less than 40 pounds to be restrained by a safety seat or approved safety booster seat. Under current law, drivers and front-seat passengers must use seat belts and children under age 5 must use belts or safety seats anywhere in the vehicle.

The same bill was passed last week by the House of Delegates. Like the House, the Senate committee stripped from the bill a provision that would have allowed police officers to stop a car simply because the driver or a passenger was not wearing a seat belt.

Quote of the day

"We saw the instruments that they use -- instruments to pull nails from people, long pipes that were bent so that they could crush the arms and legs of people."

,Gov. William Donald Schaefer, describing eight-hour tour of Kuwait

Today

9:30 a.m.: House convenes, State House.

There are 24 days remaining in the 1991 General Assembly session.

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