Despite being stalled in committee, state Sen. Rich Alloway said he will reintroduce legislation so students can drive their tractors to school during special annual events.
Alloway, R-Franklin/Adams/York, introduced Senate Bill 1521 after Pennsylvania State Police put the brakes on James Buchanan High School’s annual Drive Your Tractor to School Day last February.
School officials were informed by police, at the time of the event, that the practice of driving tractors on the roadways for nonfarming purposes violated several state driving codes.
Alloway’s legislation would allow students to drive their truck or truck tractor between the farm and a secondary school during an annual event such as Drive Your Tractor to School Day.
In May, the bill was referred to the Transportation Committee, and the bill didn’t move out of that committee, according to Alloway’s office.
Not willing to give up the fight, Alloway said he’ll fight to change the law.
“As a strong proponent of agriculture, I am reintroducing this important legislation,” Alloway said. “This agricultural based program is a way for students to participate in a local Future Farmers of America tradition that encourages them to continue to celebrate history and train for the future.”
For the past five years, driving their tractors to school has been a tradition for some James Buchanan High School students to celebrate agriculture during National Future Farmers of America Week.
School Board President Clifford Smith, Jr. applauded Alloway’s commitment.
“He’s doing the right thing,” Smith said. “I’m glad to see Senator Alloway is reintroducing this bill to help kids all over the commonwealth to celebrate Ag Week with Drive Your Tractor to School Day.”
Next year’s National FFA Week is Feb. 16-23. But Smith said students will break with tradition and not drive their tractors to school.
The district isn’t going to break the law, he said.
“I was disappointed in the state — with the large agricultural area we are in — that they would not recognize the importance of celebrating that heritage with Drive Your Tractor to School Day,” Smith said.
Ultimately, Alloway and Smith want the law changed, but that isn’t going to happen in time to save next year’s Drive Your Tractor to School Day.