A New Jersey Assembly bill is intended to reduce credentialing requirements for hazardous materials haulers.
Sponsored by Assemblyman Fred Scalera, D-Bergen/Essex/Passaic, the bill would exempt truckers seeking a hazardous material or tank vehicle endorsement from a secondary background check, provided they have a valid Transportation Worker Identification Credential.
A statement attached to the bill points out that in order for a commercial driver to be given clearance to all ports and other secured areas in the state, the driver is required to have a criminal background check to obtain a TWIC, and then undergo an additional background check to be approved for a hazmat or tank endorsement on his or her license.
Federal law, however, considers a person who has a valid TWIC to have met the background records check that is necessary to receive a hazmat endorsement.
Scalera’s bill is intended to bring New Jersey in line with federal rules and also eliminate duplicative criminal history background checks for commercial drivers.
The effort to simplify the process is supported by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. Joe Rajkovacz, OOIDA’s director of regulatory affairs, said the current requirements in the state are overkill.
“It’s just patently absurd and unjust to have drivers continue to spend money to duplicate a background check and threat assessment they already possess and already bought and paid for,” Rajkovacz said.
Scalera’s bill – A2547 – is in the Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee. It could come up for consideration as early as mid May. OOIDA encourages its New Jersey members to contact their Assembly lawmakers and ask them for their support of this legislation.
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– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor
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