HAULS Act gaining steam in U.S. Senate

April 15, 2021

Mark Schremmer

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Support for the HAULS Act is starting to pick up steam in the Senate.

The Haulers of Agriculture and Livestock Safety Act, which would expand hours-of-service exemptions for ag haulers, is up to 16 co-sponsors after being reintroduced last month. Sens. James Risch, R-Idaho; Shelley Moore Capito, R-W. Va.; and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, all signed on as co-sponsors this week.

The bipartisan legislation was originally introduced by Sens. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., in March.

The HAULS Act would:

  • Eliminate the requirement that ag and livestock hours-of-service exemptions only apply during state-designated planting and harvesting seasons.
  • Amend and clarify the definition of “agricultural commodities” based on feedback provided by agriculture and livestock organizations.
  • Authorize a 150 air-mile exemption from hours-of-service requirements on the destination side of a haul for ag and livestock haulers.

“Ranchers and livestock haulers face unique challenges when transporting perishable crops and live animals, and the rules should reflect that,” Tester said in a news release. “This commonsense bill cuts the burdensome red tape that can prevent ag and livestock haulers from doing their jobs safely and gives them the flexibility to ensure more of Montana’s world-class products can make it to market.”

According to the news release, the HAULS Act is supported by more than 100 agriculture and livestock organizations.

Fischer and Tester were both vocal about their support of the HAULS Act during Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s confirmation hearing in January.

Both lawmakers stressed to Buttigieg that livestock haulers can’t just stop with a load of cattle just because their time ran out.

The lawmakers hope to get the HAULS Act passed after falling short of that goal in the previous congressional session.

“Nebraska’s ag and livestock haulers provide a critical service transporting food and fuel across the nation,” Fischer said in a news release. “However, certain federal regulations fail to account for the unique circumstances involved in moving their products. The HAULS Act builds on my previous work to help our haulers transport their critical goods safely and efficiently.” LL

TBS

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.