Montana bill allows split-weighing

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Montana bill would authorize split-weighing of commodities, such as log trucks, in transit.

State law now requires that trucks hauling loads that include logs, rocks or grain be weighed on scales that are long enough to fit the truck and trailer.

The Senate Highways and Transportation Committee could soon vote on a bill that would allow for affected loads to be weighed on short scales. House lawmakers already approved HB157 on a 92-4 vote.

Opponents say that split weighing is “bad practice.” The National Conference on Weights and Measures provided testimony on the bill that claims the scales “tend to weigh light when split weighing.”

NCWM Executive Director Don Onwiler wrote that “by making the practice lawful, the state of Montana would mislead the public to believe the practice is appropriate.”

Rep. Pat Connell, R-Hamilton, assured lawmakers during recent consideration on the bill that the change would not affect weight limits already in place on the state’s roadways.

“It is a free market bill that allows a transaction between a willing seller and a willing buyer. ... At this point in time, if you are unable to fit your truck on a scale, it is not legal,” Connell said.

Supporters say the rule change would save time and money by cutting down on trips they otherwise wouldn’t take to get trucks weighed on full scales.

Rep. Mike Cuffe, R-Eureka, told lawmakers during recent discussion on the bill about his experience in the trucking industry with split weighing. He said that the changes sought are common sense.

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

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