State Watch
OOIDA’s state watch

By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

Each February, we’ve brought you the state legislative guide. We’ve now upgraded that directory to be a more complete guide for being active in legislative issues important to you. In this issue’s State Watch you will find the first Grassroots Guide, beginning on Page 52. On this page, Land Line rounds up some recent actions at statehouses. For a complete rundown of state legislation, visit and click on “Legislative Watch” under the “Important Info” tab.

An Assembly bill would void a practice in place since 2010 to pay bond debt. Instead, AB4 would end transfers of vehicle weight fees paid by commercial vehicles from the state’s highway account.

The General Assembly overturned a veto from Gov. Pat Quinn for a bill to permit trucks on rural interstate highways in Cook and the “collar” counties surrounding Chicago to drive 60 mph – up from 55 mph. SB930 took effect on Jan. 1. Another veto override alters speeds for all vehicles on the Illinois Tollway System. SB2015 raises the speed limit from 65 to 70 mph on the 286-mile network.

Gov. Rick Snyder approved an 11-bill, two-resolution road and bridge package to raise $1.2 billion annually for roads and bridges. The main part of the package calls for increasing the state sales tax rate from 6 to 7 percent. Another change calls for ending collection of the 6 percent sales tax added to fuel purchases. The state’s excise tax rates would also be converted to a percentage rate that would gradually increase over time. Also approved is a change that would charge more for oversize/overweight truck permit fees. Registration fees for commercial trucks would also be increased. Voters will get the final say on the proposed changes in a May 2015 election.

Rep. Glen Kolkmeyer, R-Odessa, introduced a bill to open up to large trucks the far left lane of “urbanized” roadways with at least three lanes of traffic in each direction. HB164 would allow large trucks to merge left for passing only. Two more bills are aimed at further curtailing communities that pad their budgets with speed trap revenue. SB5 would lower the amount of traffic fine revenue municipalities can keep from 30 percent to 10 percent. The rest is required to be turned over to the state. SB50 would keep the cap at 30 percent. However, municipalities would sacrifice their portion of the St. Louis County sales tax pool if they collect more than 50 percent of their revenue from traffic tickets.

A Senate bill would do away with indemnification clauses in trucking contracts. S1380 would outlaw provisions in affected contracts that provide for shippers to be indemnified for losses caused by their own negligence and make them “void and unenforceable.”

One House bill would raise revenue for road work via a nickel increase in the state’s 17-cent-per-gallon gas tax and 21-cent-per-gallon diesel tax. HB58 would increase the tax rates by one penny per gallon annually over five years until the excise rates reach 22 cents and 26 cents, respectively.

A new law requires police officers to be present at red-light and speed camera sites to witness violations. However, tickets could still be mailed to violators as long as an officer was at the scene to witness the violation. SB342 includes a provision that preserves the right for public votes on whether to prohibit the use of red-light and speed cameras. Another bill headed to Gov. John Kasich’s desk includes a provision that permits truck drivers to choose a tow company to remove a commercial vehicle following a wreck. SB274 would also require tow truck drivers to provide an estimate at the scene of a wreck.

Rep. Allen Fletcher, R-Cypress, introduced a bill that would establish cargo theft as a specific offense. HB102 would impose escalating fines and punishment based on the value of goods. Another House bill would double vehicle registration fees. HB401 would raise registration fees for an 80,000-pound truck from $840 to $1,680. LL