Illinois bills covering snow and ice removal, truck fees, truck stop gambling

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 4/4/2016

Multiple bills introduced in the Illinois statehouse cover issues of interest to truckers.

One bill that could receive consideration this week in the Senate Transportation Committee would require the removal of ice and snow from atop trucks.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and countless truck drivers are opposed to rules that permit police to pull over drivers whose vehicles were not cleared of snow and ice.

Sen. Ira Silverstein, D-Chicago, is behind a bill that focuses concern on trucks in excess of 8,000 pounds. As introduced, the bill does not specify fine amounts.

Rules covering concerns about accumulations atop vehicles are already in place in states that include Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.

Critics say that snow and ice rules are nearly impossible for truck drivers to comply with. They cite a lack of facilities that are readily available to accommodate removal mandates.

Another criticism is that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration prohibits anyone on the job to climb to such heights without proper safeguards.

The bill, SB2838, is scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday, April 5.

Another bill on the committee’s hearing schedule would revise the state’s Move Over law.

Illinois law already requires drivers to move to an adjacent lane if possible, or reduce speed, when approaching emergency vehicles parked along road shoulders.

SB3177 would revise the rule to cover any vehicle, including large trucks, parked along shoulders of roadways with at least two lanes in the same direction.

Violators would face $100 fines.

A separate issue of interest would allow truckers with Illinois base plates to keep more money in their pockets.

The rule change would repeal collection of the commercial distribution fee for trucks in the state. The amount is a 14.35 percent surcharge of the annual registration fees.

For truck registrations of 80,000 pounds, truckers are required to chip in another $400 to cover the CDF. On top of the nearly $2,800 they already pay for base plates, truckers pay about $3,200 a year to tag their trucks in the state.

Truckers say the fee amounts to a tax on a tax.

The bill, SB2319, is in the Senate Revenue Committee.

Multiple bills would clarify a portion of the state’s concealed carry law. HB4534, HB4953 and SB2334 would make clear that it is not against the law to carry a concealed firearm on the premises of a DOT rest area.

The bills are in the House Rules Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee, respectively.

Another bill covers trucking through the state following damaging storms. Specifically, HB5531 would exempt trucks from a requirement for a special permit for excess size and weight to access the state’s roadways upon declaration by the governor that a disaster resulting from a storm exists.

The weight of affected trucks could not exceed 20 percent of the permissible limit.

The bill is scheduled for a House Transportation: Regulation, Roads and Bridges Committee hearing on Monday, April 4.

One more bill in the House Rules Committee addresses the use of video gaming, or gambling, at truck stops in the state.

Illinois law now permits establishments that include truck stops to have up to five gambling machines.

The state claims 30 percent of the proceeds with the local government receiving 5 percent of that amount. The remaining 70 percent of the proceeds are split between the machine owner and the establishment.

HB4629 would permit truck stops that sell more than 50,000 gallons of diesel or biodiesel each month to operate as many as 10 gaming terminals.

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

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