Tennessee ‘defunds’ ELD enforcement on ag haulers operating under federal waiver

April 20, 2018

Jami Jones

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With a swipe of the pen, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed a bill into law on April 18 that strips enforcement funding of the electronic logging mandate for in-state agriculture operations – that are currently exempt from enforcement thanks to a federal waiver. The new law does not change the status quo.

The new law, originally bills SB1936 and HB1962, prohibits spending state funds to enforce electronic logging regulations against any motor vehicle transporting nonhazardous materials for farm purposes within the state.

The bills were originally introduced on Jan. 29 by Rep. Dale Carr, R-Sevierville, and Sen. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains. The original bill language would have stripped funding for all electronic logging mandate enforcement in the state.

However, Sen. Paul Bailey, R-Sparta, introduced an amendment on March 28 that unanimously passed the Senate. The amendment narrowed the focus of the original bill to only prohibit using funds to enforce the electronic logging mandate on ag haulers that do not travel outside of the state.

Following a 32-0 vote in the Senate on the amended bill, the House then voted 82-2 to defund ELD enforcement on the ag operations on April 4. Haslam signed the amended bill into law, April 18, immediately enacting the law – which doesn’t change the current enforcement of the ELD mandate in the state.

The law only applies to agriculture operations in the state of Tennessee and only the commodities already under the federal agriculture waiver.

According to the fiscal impact analysis, the amendment ensures the state will continue receiving federal funding for ELD enforcement of more than $4 million. That money would still be used to enforce the ELD mandate on all other operators except those under the FMCSA’s agriculture waiver.

“Continuous enforcement of ELD regulations is required to receive the federal funding and be in compliance with federal regulations,” the analysis states.

“The proposed legislation will prohibit the state from utilizing state funding to enforce ELD regulations against intrastate farmers. Agricultural operations are exempt from federal ELD regulations. As a result, any fiscal impact on the state government is estimated to be not significant.”

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Jami Jones has been in journalism since 1991 – focused on the trucking industry since 2000. Whether judging Shell SuperRigs or writing hard-hitting analyses, she covers trucking from lug nuts to legislation – always with the trucker in mind.