Florida law reforms seaport rule

| 6/1/2011

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor

A new Florida law, which is intended to eliminate burdensome and duplicative regulations at the state’s seaports, takes effect in August.

Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a bill to remove state regulations at Florida’s 14 deepwater seaports that mirror federal security rules used across the country. Specifically, truck drivers and other port workers will no longer be required to get a state criminal records check in addition to a federal check.

The governor said the change will eliminate requirements at the state level that are overkill and allow Florida’s ports to be more competitive on the East Coast.

The state estimates maritime businesses will save about $3 million a year by not having to undergo an additional, and duplicative, criminal history check at the ports.

“In Florida, we are taking a commonsense approach to reducing burdensome and expensive regulation so that business can grow and expand,” Scott said in a statement.

About two years ago the federal Transportation Worker Identification Credential was fully implemented at all Florida seaports. However, many ports in the state have continued to issue local port access cards that are good only for the specific port. Truckers must also purchase a TWIC card.

Previously HB283, the new law prohibits a port from charging a fee for local access cards that require a fingerprint-based background check, in addition to the federal TWIC. Exceptions will be made for new hires or for lost or misplaced TWIC cards.

Joe Rajkovacz, OOIDA’s director of regulatory affairs, said truckers visiting Florida ports welcome the change.

“With the ever-increasing regulatory onslaught being faced by trucking, Florida should be commended for making a sensible decision and reducing the burden on drivers,” Rajkovacz said.

“Redundant and expensive credentialing requirements don’t increase port security. They simply lighten the wallets of truckers.”

To view other legislative activities of interest for Florida, click here.

Editor’s Note: Please share your thoughts with us about the legislation included in this story. Comments may be sent to statelegislativedesk@ooida.com.