By Keith Goble, state legislative editor
The majority of state legislatures have wrapped up their work for this calendar 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 end-of-summer review of bills you found of interest. It’s a roundup of the items that governors signed into law in recent weeks and others awaiting action.
For a complete rundown of state legislation, visit landlinemag.com and click on "Legislative Watch" under the "Important Info" tab.
A bill on the governor’s desk would require all commercial vehicles in excess of 26,000 pounds to be equipped with an audible reverse warning signal, backup camera or other warning device. HB180 is intended to provide people nearby notice that the truck is either preparing to back up or in the process of backing up.
Gov. Jay Nixon signed into law a bill to offer a second license plate for property-carrying trucks weighing more than 12,000 pounds. The state could charge $15 for the additional plate. Plates will have “distinguishing marks” indicating one is for the front of the truck and the other is for the rear.
Gov. Brian Sandoval signed into law a bill to allow the Clark County Commission to tie local fuel tax rates to inflation each year for the next three years. In fall 2016, Clark County voters would decide whether to continue collecting the tax, which is expected to increase about 3 cents per gallon each year. During the same election, voters throughout the state will decide whether to take the taxing proposal statewide.
A new law already in effect authorizes the weight limits for trucks equipped with auxiliary power units to be increased 550 pounds – up from 400 pounds.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo could soon sign a bill into law, which is supposed to ensure owner-operators doing business in the state maintain their independent status and aren’t labeled as employees. S5867 specifies that independent contractors can either own or lease their own equipment. Owner-operators also could choose to work for one carrier without sacrificing their independent status.
Gov. Pat McCrory signed a 10-year, $16 billion funding model that calls for putting available resources toward the state’s greatest transportation priorities. Specifically, HB817 would set up three tiers of projects for spreading state and federal transportation dollars. Potential projects would be ranked on a scoring system, with the highest-rated projects getting priority.
A new law uses a mix of new revenue, sales taxes and borrowing to raise as much as $1 billion during the next decade to improve roads and bridges. Previously H3360, the new law routes $50 million to the State Transportation Infrastructure Bank to be used to borrow $500 million for major work.
About $40 million a year from the state sales tax on vehicles will be applied for secondary roads, which aren’t eligible for federal money. Another $50 million in one-time funding will be used for bridges. LL