STATE WATCH – July 2019
We know you don’t have time to keep up with all the legislative action. That’s why your Association keeps a close watch on the action for you.
Here you will find a midsummer roundup of some significant happenings from around the country.
For a complete rundown of state legislation, visit LandLineMag.com.
A new law lowers the age requirement to possess a commercial driver’s license from 21 to 18. HB479 affects intrastate driving only. Drivers under 21 still are prohibited from transporting hazardous materials or oversized loads. The rule change takes effect in February 2020.
One bill headed to the governor’s desk would lower the legal age to possess an intrastate CDL from 19 years to 18 years. SB75 includes a provision to lower the minimum age requirement to drive truck interstate from 21 years to 18 years. The change is contingent on federal law being modified from the current 21 years of age requirement to operate a commercial vehicle interstate.
A bill halfway through the statehouse is intended to codify the state Supreme Court’s Dynamex decision. AB5 would “provide that the factors of the ABC test be applied in order to determine the status of a worker as an employee or independent contractor for all provisions of the Labor Code and the Unemployment Code, unless another definition or specification of ‘employee’ is provided.” For more information on this case, see page 38.
State lawmakers have approved legislation to delay a public vote on whether to tap $2.3 billion in bonds to pay for transportation work. Most of the bond money – 85% – would be allotted for state highway projects. Transit would claim 15%. Concerns about a growing list of state spending questions on the upcoming fall ballot spurred legislators to approve delay. The passage of SB263 delays the transportation question from appearing on the ballot until the November 2020 election.
The General Assembly has approved two transportation-related tax questions for this fall’s ballot.
HB1257 authorizes inclusion of a question asking voters whether to permit excess revenues that now are refunded to taxpayers to instead be kept by the state.
HB1258 states that upon voter approval the excess revenue would be applied for education and transportation. Public education and higher education would receive two-thirds of the revenue and transportation would receive the rest.
A bill on the governor’s desk would allot $700 million for infrastructure work around the state. Specifically, HB578 would use proceeds secured in the settlement for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill to pay for 10 key infrastructure projects that include Lafayette’s Interstate 49 South and Shreveport’s I-49 North connector. The state receives $53 million in the settlement. Money for the projects could be bonded to get work underway sooner rather than later.
A new law raises truck speeds. HB393 increases the speed limit for trucks on interstate highways from 65 to 70 mph throughout the day. Truck speeds on all other highways will be set at 65 mph for all hours of the day. Posted speed on rural interstate highways will be increased from 70 to 75 mph.
One new law is intended to simplify one of the burdens of proof commercial drivers are required to provide law enforcement upon request. State law has required most commercial drivers to provide a hard copy of their certificate of vehicle registration. The same requirement is in place for proof of vehicle insurance.
SB71 permits truck drivers to show proof of registration via their smartphone. In addition, affected drivers are authorized to provide proof of their user’s license via an electronic device. Law enforcement will be relieved from any liability for damage to an electronic device when it’s presented as proof of registration.
A bill that has the backing of Gov. Kate Brown would abolish time changes to maintain daylight saving time throughout the year. The portion of the state in the Mountain Time Zone (Malheur County) would be exempted from permanent daylight saving time. In addition to the necessary approval from Congress for the change to take effect in Oregon, SB320 states that both Washington and California would also need to agree to the switch.
Gov. Bill Lee has signed into law a bill that calls for year-round observance of daylight saving time. HB247 states the change is reliant on the federal government permitting states to take action.
The use of automated enforcement cameras now is outlawed. The new law allows for cities to continue current contracts with camera companies until they run out, except if the contract has a clause that terminates it based on adverse state legislation.
Previously HB1631, the new law prohibits cities from using photo systems to fine drivers for speeding or running red lights.
A new law already in effect permits so-called lane splitting, or lane filtering, with motorcycles. HB149 authorizes motorcyclists to travel between lanes only on roads posted at 50 mph or less. Traffic on roadways with two adjacent lanes must be stopped and the motorcycle must travel at less than 15 mph. The new rule includes a sunset date of July 1, 2022.
One new law removes a requirement that people with unpaid court costs have their driving privileges suspended. As long as the affected person’s license has not already expired, they can pay any underlying court costs and fines and get back on the road legally.
Gov. Jay Inslee has signed into law two bills of note. SB5825 authorizes the state to bond up to $1.5 billion. The borrowing will help get work done on Interstate 405 and state Route 167. Additionally, the new law permits the state to expand express toll lanes on I-405 and SR 167. New toll lanes are designated for state Route 509.
HB1196 calls for Congress to authorize the state’s observance of year-round Pacific Daylight Time. LL