(Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include information from other truckers present at the meeting.)
A group of truckers met with Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., recently to discuss their opposition to the upcoming ELD mandate.
OOIDA Life Member Lee Schmitt and his wife, Lisa Schmitt, were instrumental in putting the meeting together. The couple, who live in Prairie Farm, Wis., have also previously met with their Congressman, Rep. Sean Duffy, to discuss their opposition to next month’s ELD mandate.
The meeting occurred Friday, Nov. 10 at Northcentral Technical College, Wausau, Wis.
The Schmitts say that the meeting was a productive dialogue between the senator and his trucking constituents. The couple say they are opposed to an ELD mandate for many reasons, including because they believe the devices are an intrusion on their right to privacy.
“We need to get everybody on board,” Lisa Schmitt said in a phone interview with Land Line. “The more people in government who are on our side, the easier it will be to get legislation that’s on our side.
“We need to educate not only our legislators but the public too,” Lee said. “The public needs to understand why this isn’t a good idea. It won’t stop the cheating, and it doesn’t make us safer.”
Another trucker present at the meeting was Dick Pingel, an OOIDA life member from Plover, Wis., and member of the OOIDA Board of Directors.
Pingel said he gave the senator a copy of the letter sent by Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, who has asked President Donald Trump to issue an executive order providing an immediate waiver for all truckers until April 1.
“His main take was what we all know – that (ELDs) are a management tool that are set up to hurt the small carriers and help the big carriers,” Pingel said in an interview with Land Line Now. “The big carriers are the ones that are pushing it and he realized that right away.”
Johnson is no stranger to trucking, serving on the Senate’s Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, including a subcommittee on surface transportation, safety and security. In 2016, he also participated in a brief ride-along event with a commercial trucker, sponsored by Women in Trucking.
Babin’s letter to the White House was sent on Nov. 9. The congressman has filed a bill – HR3282 – that would delay the ELD mandate from taking effect on Dec. 18. The bill has 65 cosponsors in the House and is supported by OOIDA.
Land Line Now Correspondent Mary McKenna contributed to this report.
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