State Watch – October 2020
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 early fall roundup of what governors signed into law in recent weeks and of other items still active.
Visit our Daily News by State page for a complete rundown of state legislation.
A resolution now law 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. Charlie Baker has signed into law a bill to authorize the state to borrow $200 million for improvements to municipally owned roads and bridges. The funds authorized via H4803 will be dispersed through Chapter 90 grants.
The grants are sent to towns and cities in Massachusetts to receive reimbursements on approved projects. It is a 100% reimbursable program.
A separate bill, H2592, would authorize a local option gas and diesel excise tax. Specifically, any city or town could choose to collect up to a 5-cent excise tax on fuel sales.
A related bill, S1672, singles out authorization for a local option tax in the town of Charlton. The locale along Interstate 90 in Worcester County would be allowed to collect up to an additional 3 cents in excise tax on gas and diesel.
One more bill would provide local communities with an avenue to raise funds for regional transportation projects. Specifically, S1694 would allow local ballot measures to ask regional voters to raise revenue for transportation work.
Multiple bills halfway through the statehouse are touted to help maximize local road funds.
SB518 would require all federal transportation funds received by the state to be spent by MDOT. An exception would be made for funds specifically allocated by the feds for local jurisdictions or funds allocated to local jurisdictions through a competitive process.
SB519 would use state funds to replace the federal dollars directed to MDOT through SB518. Funds would be directed from the state to counties, cities, and villages.
HB4965 would amend the state’s road funding formula to give counties more say on how state fuel tax and vehicle registration revenue is spent locally.
Michigan’s current road spending formula stipulates that 75% of funding be spent on primary roads. Local roads receive 25%.
The bill also would provide local governments with more flexibility when deciding how to spend road repair money, and when determining which roads get repaired.
HB4966 covers the use of funds available for cities and villages. All state transportation funds distributed to a city or village would be required to be used for municipal streets.
One Senate bill is intended to limit the effect of red-light and speed camera enforcement systems in locales that include New York City and Philadelphia.
S486 would prohibit the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission from providing identifying information for New Jersey-licensed drivers to camera enforcement entities in other states.
A bill in the Senate would reverse a decision made by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to permanently let go of 492 employees, most of whom were fare collectors.
SB1220 would mandate the turnpike to reinstate the same number of toll collectors with the same pay and benefits that were in place on June 1. The requirement would remain in place through October 2021.
A new law 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.
Effective Oct. 1, SB2458 adds a consequence for officials who implement ticket quotas. Specifically, public officials directing law enforcement to issue a certain number of tickets would be subject to a fine up to $500.
The Legislature’s Transportation Interim Committee is reviewing the pros and cons of borrowing to help cover transportation costs. Specifically, the panel is looking into the possibility of borrowing $500 million to aid projects that include widening northbound Interstate 15 in southern Salt Lake County. LL