News
State Watch
OOIDA’s state watch

By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

As the new legislative year approaches, OOIDA is focused on providing truckers with information on important legislation during the coming year. In the next few months, state lawmakers from all corners of the country will rapidly add to the list by offering new bills.

Not all of them will be covered on these pages, but readers will be able to find many bills of significance to their trucking business. Here’s our roundup of noteworthy issues signed into law in recent weeks and the latest activity on other notable efforts.

NEW JERSEY
Effective Dec. 24, a new law will clarify that large vehicles are required to stop at railroad tracks. S1147 also requires truckers to ensure that enough clearance exists to clear the grade crossing.

A bill still at the statehouse would deter truck thieves with stiffer penalties. A3003 specifies that anyone who steals a truck would face second-degree criminal charges. Any attempts to threaten or injure the truck driver could result in first-degree criminal charges.

PENNSYLVANIA
A new law entitles military veterans to a special designation on their driver’s licenses, or identification cards, at no extra charge. HB2428 requires PennDOT to make the special designation available to persons who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces or National Guard and who have been honorably discharged.

TEXAS
Among the early prefiled bills for the upcoming session is a measure to rein in diversions from fuel tax revenue for purposes not related to construction and maintenance of roads and bridges in the state. HJR22 calls for an amendment to the state constitution to limit uses of revenue from vehicle registration fees, fuel taxes and certain federal funds to roadway improvements.

A related effort would also protect transportation revenue. HB106 would no longer distribute any state highway funds to the Department of Public Safety for patrols.