State Watch – August/September 2020
Most state legislatures have wrapped up their work for this calendar year. Here’s our end-of-summer review of bills. It’s a roundup of items that governors signed into law in recent weeks and other actions.
For a complete rundown of state legislation, check out our Daily News By State.
Gov. Jared Polis signed into law a bill to delay by one year a public vote on whether to tap bonds to pay for transportation work. The ballot question will ask voters whether the state should borrow $1.3 billion for infrastructure work. Most of the money, 85%, would be allotted for state highway projects. Transit would claim 15%. Passage of HB1376 postpones putting the question on the ballot until November 2021.
A resolution approved by the Legislature authorizes the continued work of a commission to study freight movement throughout the state. Passage of HR935 allows the Georgia Commission on Freight and Logistics to continue with plans to address methods to reduce traffic congestion and enhance freight movement.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law a bill that calls for setting up a panel to investigate the feasibility of charging tolls.
SB517 calls for state officials to hire an independent consulting firm to study the feasibility of collecting tolls on interstates. Consideration will be given to the economic impact of toll roads, providing discounts to in-state drivers, toll amounts, and how to pay for the toll. The impact of tolls on out-of-state operators expected to use Michigan interstates also will be considered.
Legislation addresses the allocation of ticket revenue from state police-issued citations.
A1538/S1174 would give local governments in the state’s largest cities more motor vehicle fine revenue. Specifically, 25% of fine revenue generated through tickets issued by the state police would stay in the municipality where the violations occurred. The remaining 74% would be routed to the state’s general fund.
Affected locales are defined as municipalities with at least four limited-access highways traveling through their boundaries.
Another effort is intended to limit the effect of red-light and speed cameras. New Jersey does not employ the use of ticket cameras.
A3688/S486 would prohibit the state’s Motor Vehicle Commission from providing identifying information for New Jersey-licensed drivers to camera enforcement entities in other states.
A House-approved bill would tap public-private partnerships to help get projects done to address trucking issues. HB2065 would increase the scope of the state’s public-private partnership program to allow for public-private transportation projects to include truck parking; weigh station bypasses; electronic toll payment; and snow and ice removal for commercial vehicles.
Another House bill covers concern about notification requirements of violations for commercial drivers. HB2296 would increase penalties and shorten the time required for a CDL holder to report nonparking traffic violations to their employer.
The bill would require CDL holders to report to their employers a nonparking traffic violation conviction within 15 days instead of 30. A separate provision specifies that a driver must notify his or her employer within days of being arrested, cited or charged with a nonparking traffic violation. Employers would be forbidden from terminating the employee unless he or she is convicted of the violation.
One bill on the governor’s desk is intended to put an end to police going on ticket-writing sprees. Tennessee already prohibits the practice of ticket quotas, but there is no criminal penalty attached to the rule. SB2458 would specify that public officials who direct law enforcement to issue a certain number of tickets would be subject to a fine up to $500.
A Senate bill would allow police to surveil traffic on interstates. State law now prohibits the use of unmanned traffic enforcement cameras on interstate highways. An exception is made for cameras posted in work zones. SB2090 reads that the cameras would not be used to enforce or monitor state or local traffic violations or issue citations for such violations.
The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Transportation, Highways and Military Affairs is considering multiple ideas to address transportation concerns. Options being considered include a road-use charge, speed cameras on corridors, and a licensing requirement for drivers of commercial vehicles to receive training on winter driving. LL