State Watch – November 2019
The majority of state legislatures have wrapped up their work for this year. A special thanks to those of you who followed what took place in your state and who tipped us off on initiatives you cared about. Here’s our roundup of what governors signed into law in recent weeks and the latest activity on other notable efforts.
For a complete rundown of state legislation, visit LandLine.media.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy signed a bill into law to 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.
Gov. John Carney has signed into law a bill that allows state and local governments to install and use vehicle height monitoring systems. Previously SB131, the new law would let first-time offenders off with a warning notice in the mail. Repeat offenders would receive $250 citations. Subsequent offenses would result in $500 fines. An employer would be responsible for bridge strikes that occur in a vehicle they own.
Another new law removes the state from Eastern Standard Time – effectively adopting yearlong DST. SB73 calls for the state to adopt Atlantic Standard Time. The bill specifies that Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland must also adopt the change for Delaware to make the switch.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer tamped down a short-term road and bridge funding deal. The governor trimmed from $400 million to $25 million a plan to route revenue from the state’s general fund to transportation.The governor has called for state legislators to get a long-term deal done. Whitmer wants a 45-cent fuel tax increase.
Legislators in both statehouse chambers are pursuing plans to give local governments more tools to get needed road repairs done. The bill packages cover options that include local fuel taxes, additional fees on vehicle registrations, asset management planning and bridge work collaboration. The House bills are HB4963-HB4973. The Senate versions are SB515-SB524.
Multiple bills are of interest to truckers.
SB114 would 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. Truck operators would be excused 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.
SB467 would make a rule change that applies to towing tractor trailers. Pennsylvania law requires tow truck operators to tow disabled tractor trailers to the nearest place of repairs, or place of safety. The bill specifies that towing affected vehicles would be limited to within 75 miles of the point of disability. Towing length restrictions for affected tows also would be limited to 150 feet.
HB959 would require certain municipalities to help cover expenses for Pennsylvania State Police coverage. Revenue to pay for the service comes from the state’s motor license fund. Municipalities that rely on state police coverage would be required to chip in on the cost of coverage. The legislation calls for charging a per-capita fee in affected municipalities.
A bill in the Senate Transportation and Veterans Affairs Committee covers use of roundabouts in the state. SB280 would prohibit construction of roundabouts by the Department of Transportation unless local governments sign off on the projects.
The Assembly version, AB281, is in the Assembly Transportation Committee. LL