State Watch – December 2019/January 2020
As the New Year approaches, OOIDA is focused on providing truckers with information on important legislation during the coming year.
In the next few months, state lawmakers from all corners of the country will rapidly add to the list by offering new bills. Not all of them will be covered on these pages, but readers will be able to find many bills of significance to their trucking business.
Here’s our roundup of noteworthy issues addressed by governors in recent weeks and the latest activity on other notable efforts.
For a complete rundown of state legislation, visit LandLine.media.
An Assembly bill would like to make it more difficult for the San Diego Association of Governments to divert taxpayer funds away from roads. In 2004, voters approved the extension of a half-cent sales tax to benefit highway and transit projects across the county. The tax is scheduled to be collected for 40 years. AB1398 would require SANDAG to hold four public hearings and to get two-thirds support from voters before changes in spending plans can move forward.
One Senate bill would revise the state’s left lane use rule. State law now specifies that vehicles traveling below the posted speed limit must stay to the right. Violators could face fines starting at $25. SB185 would include a requirement that all traffic stay to the right. Exceptions would be made for using the left lane to pass, turn or exit a highway. One provision in the bill singles out large trucks along a 50-mile stretch of state Route 1 between Interstate 95 and the area south of Dover.
Multiple new laws are of note.
SB47 brings the state into full compliance with the Performance Registration Information Systems Management, or PRISM. Passage allows the state to deny or suspend registration for motor carriers under a federal out-of-service order. Adoption of the rule is expected to affect five to six carriers annually. Failure to adopt the rule would have put Louisiana in jeopardy to lose out on about $5 million yearly of federal grants.
SB212 is intended to help reduce the cost of commercial vehicle insurance. The new rule adds a requirement that insurers of commercial vehicles annually disclose their rates. Data will be used to compile information to provide to the state’s insurance commissioner and the state Legislature. The information will be collected starting Jan. 1.
SB163 is intended to benefit loads that include manufactured housing. It allows the state’s transportation secretary to allow vehicles wider than 16 feet to access interstates. State law has prohibited affected vehicles from using interstates. The rule change allows the secretary to determine when affected vehicles can use interstates and which route can be taken. Private escorts or state police escorts still are required for affected vehicles.
SB84 permits the state to add high-occupancy vehicle lanes along a 15-mile stretch of Interstate 12 from the I-10/I-12 split in Baton Rouge to the city of Walker. The additional capacity each way would be reserved for multiple-passenger vehicles. The new rule excludes single-passenger vehicles, as well as commercial vehicles. In addition to the stretch of I-12, the state DOT now can designate lanes for high occupancy vehicles around the state.
An Assembly bill would require six public hearings on any Port Authority of New York and New Jersey toll increase between 30 and 90 days before the board votes on the toll increase. A5713 would apply the same rule for proposed fare increases for the use of the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corp. rail system.
The Senate has voted to advance a bill to authorize law enforcement to issue tickets solely for failure to clear vehicles of snow and ice. Drivers would be required to make “reasonable efforts” to remove snow or ice from all parts of their vehicles within 24 hours of a weather event. SB114 would excuse truck operators if they are on their way to a facility to remove accumulated snow or ice. In addition, violations would not be issued if compliance would cause the trucker to violate any federal or state law or regulation regarding workplace safety, or if it would be a health or safety threat. LL