N.J. governor to decide on independent status, rest areas, lane use

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 7/29/2013

Multiple bills in New Jersey awaiting action from Gov. Chris Christie cover issues of interest to truck drivers.

The first bill would classify drayage truck operators and parcel drivers as company employees. Port truckers, including owner-operators going onto a port, would be deemed employees.

OOIDA and the New Jersey Motor Truck Association are opposed to the reclassification.

Todd Spencer, OOIDA’s executive vice president, calls the effort misguided and says it could result in a lot of businesses packing up and leaving the state. Instead, he said the state would be better served to look at federal rules to address any problem with misclassification in the state.

“Existing law determines whether someone is an employee or a contractor. It should be New Jersey’s model,” Spencer said. “A broad brush bill that reclassifies all contractors as employees is absolutely nuts.”

Gail Toth, executive director of the New Jersey Motor Truck Association, recently said that supporters of A1578 have told anyone who will listen that owner-operators want to be employees.

OOIDA encourages New Jersey truckers to contact Gov. Christie’s office and let him know how you feel about A1578 by phone at 609-292-6000 or via email.

Another bill, A3461, would authorize corporate sponsorship on rest areas along the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway and other state-owned highways. Deals could also be reached on other “highway-related services or programs.” Revenue raised from sponsorships would be used to help pay for road work. In exchange for footing the bill to help keep facilities up and running, companies would get “acknowledgment signs” thanking them for the money.

A separate bill, A1279, would direct the Turnpike Authority to study and report on additional services that could be offered to make money along highways. Services could include business, commercial or retail at rest areas along the Turnpike and Parkway.

One more bill would increase fines for violators of the state’s left lane rule. S530 would increase fines from a minimum of $50 to as much as $300 for motorists who fail to keep right except when overtaking another vehicle. Another provision specifies that $50 of each fine would be put into a fund to pay for signage reminding motorists entering the state to keep right excepting for passing.

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

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