As the regular legislative session in Nevada nears the home stretch, several bills of interest to the trucking industry continue to draw discussion.
A bill in the Assembly Ways and Means Committee would establish four ports of entry in the state. Sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, the bill – AB374 – would allow the state Department of Transportation or private companies to build and operate ports of entry along Interstate 15 in southern Nevada and Interstate 80 in northern Nevada.
Supporters say the facilities are needed on the state’s eastern and western borders to reduce vulnerability to drug smuggling, people smuggling, explosives and terrorists. They also say high-tech equipment would be used at the locations for scanning up to 20,000 trucks a day.
“It’s imperative to know what these trucks are bringing in,” Oceguera told The Associated Press.
Others advocates say the facilities would make it easier to spot truckers with unsafe trucks or with criminal records.
Opponents say ports of entry would cause significant delays to the trucking industry. They also question the legality of the bill because in-state truckers wouldn’t have to pay fees for inspections.
Other critics say the entry points would give only “an illusion of security” because there are 37 highways that enter the state. A spokesman for NDOT said the new entry ports would be “just diverting the problem” to other highways, The AP reported.
Another bill that is nearing passage in the Senate would allow Nevada-based motor carriers to register their trucks at various times throughout the year. The Assembly already approved it by unanimous consent.
Sponsored by Assemblyman Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City, the bill – AB5 – would allow carriers to register their trucks weighing more than 26,000 pounds on either March 31 or Sept. 30.
Supporters say it would spread out the burden on the Nevada Department of Transportation. It also would help trucking operations better manage their finances.
A separate bill has died that sought to require certain loose loads to be covered while being driven on highways in the state. The bill – SB236 – remained in committee at the deadline to advance to the Senate floor, effectively killing it for the year.
State law now prohibits people from driving on highways with loads unless the load and any covering on it is securely fastened to prevent items from creating a hazard to other highway users.
The bill would have required a motor vehicle or trailer with an open bed and transporting sand, aggregate, gravel or rock on highways to secure such loads with a cover such as a tarp.
Opponents cited the cost of purchasing tarps as reason for their opposition.
– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor