‘Minibus’ includes ELD, split sleeper berth related provisions

August 2, 2018

Jami Jones


Livestock haulers subject to electronic logging devices and truckers who would like increased flexibility with the split sleeper berth provision will be happy to know changes could be on the way thanks to a “minibus” appropriations bill passed in the Senate on Wednesday, Aug. 1.

Every year Congress is tasked with passing 12 appropriations bills that fund the government for the next fiscal year. The fiscal year ends Sept. 30 each year. It’s rare that all 12 appropriations bills, if any, are passed before that deadline. In fact, the last time they were all passed before the next fiscal year was 1996.

This year looks to be better than a lot of previous years. In fact, The Hill reports Congress is on pace to pass nine of the 12 appropriations bills ahead of the Sept. 30 deadline.

One way Congress gets appropriations bills passed is to roll some of the bills together into a larger package called an “omnibus” bill. If Congress isn’t rolling the vast majority of the 12 appropriations bills together and instead handpicks a few to consider together, they call that a “minibus” bill. That’s what the Senate passed on Wednesday.

HR6147, the Interior, Environment, Financial Services, and General Government Appropriations Act of 2019, passed the Senate on a 92-6 vote. In that minibus were two amendments introduced by Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb.,that tackled two issues in the trucking industry.

The first defunds enforcement on the electronic logging mandate in livestock operations for the next fiscal year.

“Today the Senate passed my amendment to delay electronic logging device requirements for livestock haulers for one year. With this extension, we will have more time to bring common-sense to these rules and provide additional flexibility,” Fischer said in the news release following passage of the bill.

In the news release she also vowed to continue working toward flexibility in the hour of service regulations.

To that end, Fischer had a second amendment to the minibus that passed. This one presses the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for timely completion of the split sleeper berth study. The study was proposed in 2017 and the pilot program was to kick off this summer with data collection anticipated to end during the summer of 2019.

The minibus now waits while the House of Representatives considers its companion piece to minibus bill.