State Watch – October 2018
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 tipped us off on initiatives you cared about.
Here’s our early fall roundup of what governors signed into law in recent weeks and of other items still active. For a complete rundown of state legislation, visit LandLineMag.com.
A bill headed to the governor’s desk would implement a federal rule that requires people seeking a CDL to complete a certified course of instruction from a commercial driving institution or program offered by an employer before receiving a license. SB1236 also would establish minimum behind-the-wheel training requirements as part of CDL training. Class A or Class B license applicants would need to complete 15 hours of behind-the-wheel training, of which 10 hours must be on a public road.
One bill nearing passage would require joint and several liability for shippers who contract with port drayage carriers who have unsatisfied judgments regarding unpaid wages, damages, expenses, penalties and workers’ compensation liability. SB1402 calls for creation of a list of trucking companies to show who has failed to pay final judgments. Retailers hiring port trucking companies with final judgments would be liable for future state labor and employment law violations by these companies.
Gov. Eric Holcomb has unveiled his $1 billion infrastructure spending plan for 2019. The plan would be funded by higher toll rates for large trucks accessing the Indiana Toll Road.
Specifically, starting in October operators of class 3 vehicles or higher would pay 35 percent more for using the roadway.
About $600 million in new funding would be earmarked for the completion of the final leg of Interstate 69, from Martinsville to Indianapolis. The project’s completion date would also be moved up from 2027 to 2024.
The rest of the revenue would be divided between various other projects around the state.
Gov. Phil Bryant has signed into law two bills to raise $200 million for roads and bridges. HB1 calls for diverting from the state to cities and counties 35 percent of sales taxes collected on internet sales for infrastructure. Passage also permits the state to borrow up to $300 million annually for emergency road work and other specific projects. In addition, as much as $15 million in sports betting revenue will be applied to transportation.
SB2001 establishes a new lottery to pump up to $80 million annually into transportation.
Another new law increases the tandem axle weight for harvest haulers and related loads from 42,000 pounds to 44,000 pounds. The change applies to loads that include farm goods as well as gravel, sand, soil and timber. SB2418 allows 84,000-pound gross weights for harvest-permitted vehicles loading at a point of origin with a scale.
Sen. Declan O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth, has introduced a bill to change the formula for setting speed limits. S2876 would set speed limits on limited access highways that include the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway using the 85th percentile formula. The formula bases speed limits on the rate at or below which 85 percent of drivers are traveling. Also included in the bill is a provision to limit fines for speeding violations. Citations handed out for speeding on a roadway where a traffic study has not been completed would be limited to $20.
A newly introduced bill is intended to limit the effect of red-light cameras.
Titled the “Camera Enforcement Inoculation Act,” S2893 would prohibit the state Motor Vehicle Commission from providing identifying information for New Jersey licensed drivers to camera enforcement entities in other states.
New Jersey does not employ the use of red-light cameras and speed cameras.
Bill sponsors tout that the rule would make it “impossible” to issue tickets for automated enforcement infractions to New Jersey drivers.
One House bill advancing through the chamber is a three-part bill to implement greater state oversight of the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission. HB652 would grant the Pennsylvania governor veto power over actions of the state’s commissioners. A separate provision in the bill would give the governor 10 days to invoke veto power over any actions by an individual commissioner. One more provision in the bill would require an annual financial and management audit of the commission by the Pennsylvania’s auditor general and his New Jersey counterpart.
A bill nearing passage would overhaul how business is done at the Delaware River Port Authority. SB170 includes a provision that gubernatorial appointees to the DRPA be confirmed by the Senate. Other changes sought included would force the bistate agency to provide 30 days public notice before any vote concerning a contract and adhering to open records laws. Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a nearly identical version of the bill in 2016.
A new law already in effect is intended to deter payment card “skimming.” The devices are attached to external fuel pump payment card readers and ATMs. Pennsylvania law has limited prosecutors to levy theft charges against an individual intending to defraud the authorized user, the card issuer, or a merchant. Previously HB1918, the new law criminalizes the act. The possession or sale of affected devices are included in the criminal classification.
Gov. Gina Raimondo has signed into law a bill intended to streamline the process to acquire a CDL. S2763 permits the use of an electronic means of transmission of the medical certificate required for issuance of a CDL by the Division of Motor Vehicles. The medical certification required prior to the issuance of a CDL will be electronically transmitted to the DMV.
One new law renews an existing law to continue for two more years the state’s restriction on the use of automated license plate readers. S150 extends the two-year-old law to specify the scanners cannot be used for parking enforcement or traffic violations. However, information may be collected for ongoing criminal, missing person, or commercial trucking investigations or enforcement. The DMV is authorized to manage a separate database of scanner data in connection with commercial vehicle enforcement activities. LL