Illinois high court tosses out law that affects truck weight

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | Friday, February 11, 2011

The Supreme Court of Illinois has upheld that a 2009 state law was unconstitutional because it bundled together a series of unrelated provisions. The decision, if it is carried out, could reset the maximum gross vehicle weight in Illinois back to 73,280 pounds. For now, the Supreme Court has enacted a stay on its decision until some of the chaos gets sorted out.

In July 2009, Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law a multitude of bills bundled together such as $31 billion in capital improvements and a revamping of state gaming and liquor laws.

A plaintiff, Rockwell Wirtz, challenged the constitutionality of the way the General Assembly bundled the bills together, and Wirtz won an appeal on Jan. 26 of this year.

An appellate judge wrote that the bundling of the laws ?violated provisions of the Illinois Constitution, including the single subject rule, the uniformity clause, the requirement that an appropriation bill be confined to the subject of appropriation, the requirement that public funds be used only for public purposes, and the requirements of separation of powers and effective date of laws.?

So what does that have to do with truck weights? One of the provisions in the 2009 law called for gross vehicle weight allowances in Illinois to be raised from 73,280 pounds to 80,000 pounds. The court ruling, if it is carried out, would reset the provision back to 73,280.

After the Illinois Supreme Court upheld the decision at the appellate level, Gov. Quinn and state Attorney General Lisa Madigan requested a stay, and the stay was granted ? meaning that things will proceed at the status quo at least for now.

That puts a lot of eyes on Illinois right now as it was one of the last holdouts to move to 80,000 pounds GVW.

Another provision of the 2009 law pertained to transportation funding. One clause specifically stated that, ?Beginning in fiscal year 2010, no road fund moneys shall be appropriated to the Department of State Police.?

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