By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor
A bill on its way to the governor’s desk would end Florida’s distinction as the only state with a state-mandated credentialing law. The change is intended to eliminate burdensome and duplicative regulations at the state’s seaports.
Sponsored by Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa, the bill would remove state regulations at Florida’s 14 seaports, which mirror federal security rules that are used across the country.
The House and Senate approved the bill in the final days of the recently completed session. HB283 now moves to Gov. Rick Scott’s desk for his signature.
The statewide security requirements include duplicative background checks and access cards.
About two years ago the federal Transportation Worker Identification Credential was fully implemented at all Florida seaports. However, many ports in the state continue to issue local port access cards that are good only for the specific port. Truckers must also purchase a TWIC card.
The bill would prohibit a port from charging a fee for local access cards that require a fingerprint-based background check, in addition to the federal TWIC. Exceptions would be made for new hires or for lost or misplaced TWIC cards.
Supporters say federal laws already cover port security. They say that including requirements at the state level are overkill and put Florida’s ports at a competitive disadvantage with neighboring states and countries. In addition, it is costly to port users and workers.
Joe Rajkovacz, OOIDA’s director of regulatory affairs, said truckers visiting Florida ports favor the change.
“Redundant and expensive credentialing requirements don’t increase port security. They simply lighten the wallets of truckers,” Rajkovacz said.
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