OOIDA sees hope for regulatory reform in the 115th Congress

By Sandi Soendker, Land Line editor-in-chief | Friday, January 13, 2017

Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association President Jim Johnston said Thursday that the Association will continue to fight the government regarding its new law requiring electronic logging devices on trucks. At the same time, the Association is actively pursuing congressional relief on several fronts.

On Friday, OOIDA Chief Operating Officer Rod Nofziger elaborated on those efforts and spoke of a sense of direction in the Congress that could be beneficial to small trucking businesses, including a list that’s getting plenty of attention on Capitol Hill.

A large group of conservative Republican members of the House have given President-elect Trump a list of 232 regulations it recommends for repeal. The House Freedom Caucus gave the list to Trump during a meeting in late December 2016. Among the regulations on the list are the electronic logging mandate and the proposed speed limiter regulation. 

Nofziger says there’s more notable activity in the 115th Congress that directs attention to the regulatory process, specifically in the U.S. House of Representatives. As the week comes to an end, several bills have been introduced that could spell relief for small businesses burdened with heavy-handed regulatory mandates, such as the electronic logging devices for truckers that the trucker association has fought long and hard.

Nofziger says two bills have already been passed by the House.

“HR26, the REINS Act, has to do with pieces of regulations that have a price tag of a $100 million a year. The REINS Act would require that Congress check off on those very expensive regs,” said Nofziger.

REINS stands for “Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017.”

“Certainly the $1 billion price tag associated with the ELD mandate fits within that frame,” he said.

Another is HR5, the Regulatory Accountability Act – actually a compilation of previously introduced regulatory reform bills. Nofziger explained that HR5 has six reform bills that make up the overall Act, which was passed by the House recently in various pieces.

“The legislative environment seems right for regulatory reform,” he said Friday. “And add to that a person at the top like President-elect Trump, who is someone who has been consistent with wanting to reduce the regulatory burden on U.S. businesses. Put those things together and it seems for these bills that have brought forth in previous congresses now may be the time for them to have a chance to go forward. All this could have a very significant impact on certain mandates and other regulatory actions.”

Two particularly burdensome mandates that OOIDA has battled include the rule for electronic tracking and the proposed rule for speed limiters. OOIDA brought a lawsuit against the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to stop the overall mandate for commercial trucks, but that lawsuit was unsuccessful. OOIDA asked for a rehearing before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. On Jan. 11, that motion was denied.

OOIDA is now meeting with its litigation counsel to begin work on a request to the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the mandate. Johnston said even though the high court only accepts a small number of cases each term, he believes the rights of more than three million truckers will be of interest.

Land Line Now News Anchor Reed Black and Land Line Managing Editor Jami Jones contributed to this article.

Related article:
ELD rehearing appeal denied; OOIDA continues battle on another front

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