Editor’s Page – November 2019

Regulators mount up

November 2019

Jami Jones

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OK, maybe Collin Long of our OOIDA D.C. office isn’t Billy the Kid in “Young Guns,” but he does know how to whip up one heck of a posse.

It’s no big secret that OOIDA’s advocacy efforts are as much about playing defense as it is about playing offense. That’s even more true when it comes to pet project issues, like speed limiters, efforts to raise insurance minimums, mandatory underrides and mandatory emergency braking systems. We defeat legislation in one Congress only to see it introduced again.

Collin wasn’t playing around this time when the “four bad bills,” as we call them, were introduced in Congress again. He tapped into the vast network of associations and organizations that OOIDA has relationships with. That evolved into a coalition of more than 30 groups united in opposition of four troubling pieces of legislation.

It’s one thing when an organization representing 160,000 truckers is in opposition. It’s another thing when they bring along 30 other organizations, or “regulators,” and all of their members to the fight.

Associate Editor Mark Schremmer and Digital Content Editor Greg Grisolano double team the coverage on the coalition and the legislation they are fighting back against starting on Page 18.

On a side note related to efforts to increase insurance minimums, we have another story you should be sure to read. Rep. Matthew Cartwright, D-Pa. – who is a former attorney who specialized in truck crash litigation – is the lead lawmaker behind this bill. It is a bill he has introduced multiple times. Finally, a group other than OOIDA is stepping up and saying that Cartwright’s efforts stink of ethics violations to high heavens. Turn to Page 29 and enjoy.

Of course, we have coverage on the hours-of-service reform effort in this issue. Check out Page 26. A lot of the credit for that effort goes to Administrator Ray Martinez.

Sadly, we share the news of Martinez departing the agency. He leaned in the day he took office and wanted to connect with truckers. He listened. He led the agency toward the first meaningful reform of the hours-of-service regulation since the agency was founded in 2000. We wish him well, but sure are going to miss that connection. Schremmer covers the details on Page 30.

Speaking of regulators, and not the posse, kind. The timing couldn’t have been better when the news broke about President Donald Trump taking a big swing at the California Air Resources Board back in September.

The day I read the news, I immediately reached out to former Land Line staffer Charlie Morasch. For those of you who don’t know Charlie, man, did he take CARB to task on the regular. That agency could not make a move that he didn’t investigate and challenge. He was fierce and loyal to the plight of the truckers being targeted.

Charlie left Land Line a few years ago to go back to college and get a law degree. I made a deal with him when he left that after he graduated and passed the bar, the very next CARB scandal was his to write about. It was a turn-the-lawyer-loose-on-CARB kind of deal.

The day the news broke, Charlie also learned that he had passed the bar. Perfect timing. So, turn to Page 42 and check out the handiwork of Charles Morasch, Esq.

Veterans and active-duty military personnel are a big deal around here and in trucking in general year-round. In addition to truckers being stand-up people who respect those who defend our freedoms, many truckers, somewhere around a third of OOIDA members alone, are vets.

With Veterans Day in November, we celebrate our veterans along with active-duty personnel. We will hold our annual Truckers for Troops campaign on Nov. 11-15. Check out the details on Page 47. And, you’ll also want to check out a feature we have on a couple of military tribute trucks on Page 52.

Finally, an invitation. If you ever get the chance to stop by OOIDA HQ on Exit 24 off of I-70 in Missouri, you have to check out our tribute wall here. Many units have sent the Association flags in thanks for the Truckersfor Troops care packages. Our maintenance staff has put together a beautiful display of those flags. Be sure to check it out. It’s heartwarming. LL

 

Jami Jones

Jami Jones has been in journalism since 1991 – focused on the trucking industry since 2000. Whether judging Shell SuperRigs or writing hard-hitting analyses, she covers trucking from lug nuts to legislation – always with the trucker in mind.