Nevada has new truck registration law; ports of entry bill still alive

| 5/25/2007

With the end of the regular legislative session in Nevada less than two weeks away, time is winding up for several bills of interest.

One bill that made it through the Legislature and was signed into law by Gov. Jim Gibbons allows Nevada-based motor carriers to register their trucks at various times throughout the year. The new law, previously AB5, allows carriers to register their trucks weighing more than 26,000 pounds on either March 31 or Sept. 30.

Until now, all registrations have expired at the end of the year.

Supporters say the change will spread out the burden on the Nevada Department of Transportation. It also will help trucking operations better manage their finances.

A bill still drawing consideration in the statehouse would establish four ports of entry in the state. Sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, the bill 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 inspection.

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.

The bill – AB374 – is in the Assembly Ways and Means Committee.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor