Lawmakers, Hope Rivenburg host news conference for Jason’s Law bills

By Clarissa Kell-Holland, Land Line staff writer | 3/15/2010

On Tuesday, March 16, Hope Rivenburg will advocate for more safe truck parking options by garnering support for HR2156, known as Jason’s Law, at a press conference with lawmakers in Washington, DC.

Rivenburg’s husband, Jason, was fatally shot a little more than a year ago on March 5, 2009, while parked in his rig at an abandoned gas station near St. Matthews, SC.

Rivenburg, along with U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-NY, and U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-MN, will speak at the event, as well as the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and other trucking industry advocates, who have been invited to participate in the news conference.

Tonko’s bill, which has 36 co-sponsors, would create a grant program aimed at lessening the parking shortage problem that has plagued certain parts of the country.

According to Tonko’s press release, “The (Rivenburg) case called attention to the nationwide shortage of safe, accessible rest stops for truckers and led Congressman Tonko to introduce HR2156, better known as ‘Jason’s Law.’”

OOIDA’s Melissa Theriault Rohan plans to speak at the event as well, which will be at 1:30 p.m. EST on Tuesday in Room H122 at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

“This press conference is an important step in gaining support for this bill, which has a lot of bipartisan support already,” Rohan told Land Line on Monday, March 15. “Once passed, this bill with go a long way toward ensuring more available safe parking for drivers across America.”

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, has also introduced a companion Jason’s Law bill, S971, in the U.S. Senate.

More than a week ago, OOIDA and Hope Rivenburg urged all truck drivers to call their lawmakers to support Jason’s Law bills on the one-year anniversary of Jason’s death.

Hope and her family – including her son Josh, 2, and her twins Hezekiah and Logan, who will be turning 1 year old in a few days – believe the support for these bills is desperately needed as more states close down rest areas because of budget cuts.

“Jason was just doing his job, and this is what happened to him,” she told Land Line recently. “You don’t want to think that something like this could happen to someone you love, but it does.”