OOIDA State Watch

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor

ALABAMA

Gov. Robert Bentley has signed into law a bill to designate revenues from a fuel tax increase for “maintenance, improvement, replacement and construction” of state, county and municipal roadways. The first $32 million in transportation revenue collected from a new tax or revenue measure will be divided equally among the state’s 67 counties. Formerly SB180, the law will send another $500,000 each year to county commissions for road and bridge work.

CALIFORNIA

One Assembly bill would give consumers a heads-up about the additional fee on fuel purchases associated with the state’s cap and trade program. The program has added 11 cents per gallon on gas and 13 cents on diesel. AB2066 would add a requirement for cap-and-trade costs to be displayed on fuel pumps.

A separate bill would permit Caltrans to sell commercial advertising on changeable message signs located on or near state highways. However, the state DOT would first be required to conduct a pilot project to see how drivers respond. SB1397 specifies that revenue raised could be used solely for road maintenance and repair.

COLORADO

Senators voted to advance to the House a $3.5 billion highway funding bill that would rely on bonds to get needed bridge and road work done over the next 20 years. If SB210 makes it through the statehouse and gets the governor’s signature, it would be placed on a ballot in November 2016, 2017 or 2018.

ILLINOIS

Voters will decide this November whether to amend the Illinois Constitution to prevent raids of the state’s road fund. State lawmakers approved adding a question to the fall ballot to protect fuel tax revenue.

MARYLAND

The General Assembly voted to override a veto from Gov. Larry Hogan for a bill to require the state to assign scores to transportation projects. HB1013 creates a nine-point process for the state government to rank projects.

MISSOURI

At press time, a bill nearing passage calls for increasing Missouri’s fuel tax by 5.9 cents per gallon to 22.9 cents. The state now collects a 17-cent-per-gallon tax on gas and diesel. If approved by the governor, SB623 would be added to the state’s fall ballot for voters to make the final decision.

NEBRASKA

Gov. Pete Ricketts signed into law a bill to raise $500 million to be spent over 17 years by the state Department of Roads. The additional revenue would be routed to roads using transfers from the state’s rainy day fund and from state fuel taxes. Previously LB960, the new law provides a one-time transfer of $50 million from the state’s cash reserve account to help get work completed on roads, bridges, and the state’s expressway system.

NEW YORK

The Senate voted to send a bill to the Assembly that covers staged wrecks. S3511 would make it a crime to stage a crash with intent to commit insurance fraud. The felony crime would be punishable by up to seven years in prison. If the crime results in serious injury or death, offenders could be locked up for as long as 25 years.

OHIO

One bill halfway through the statehouse would do away with a rule that permits small locales to collect speeding fines via mayor’s courts. HB335 would make county and municipal courts responsible for citations issued in villages with fewer than 200 residents. Fines and fees that exceed local municipal or county courts’ costs would also be capped. In addition, direct payments to villages would be eliminated by handing over local municipal and county courts full jurisdiction on municipal traffic ordinances.

PENNSYLVANIA

In the Senate, SB1089 would cap funding from the motor license fund at $500 million for operations of the State Police. The state budget for 2016 puts the amount from the motor license fund at $757 million. By fiscal year 2019-2020 the amount is expected to reach $1 billion.

A separate bill would increase fines for littering. SB973 would set up a tier system for littering violations that would top out at $1,000 – up from $300.

SOUTH CAROLINA

State lawmakers are nearing passage of a funding plan that relies on borrowing about $2 billion over the next 10 years to get bridge and road work done. S1258 uses $200 million annually from the state’s sales tax on vehicles, as well as other fees, to bond about $2.2 billion through the Transportation Infrastructure Bank. The bonded money would be prioritized by the South Carolina DOT over the next decade.

Also included in the road plan is reform of state DOT governance. Appointment power of highway commissioners would be the sole responsibility of the governor’s office. H3579 includes Senate approval of the governor’s appointments.

House lawmakers voted unanimously to advance a bill to the Senate to bar departments from setting quotas for traffic citations. H4387 would prohibit departments from using officers’ ticket numbers as part of evaluations. Employees who file reports that allege a violation of the ticket quota prohibition would be protected.

WISCONSIN

Gov. Scott Walker signed into law a bill that applies certain interstate trucking rules to intrastate operations. Specifically, AB424 requires intrastate truckers to operate under a motor carrier certificate of authority or license and must meet minimum insurance requirements. In addition, WisDOT is given rulemaking authority relating to intrastate operations.

Another new law covers single-trip permits. Previously SB372, the new law requires the permit for movement of oversize mobile homes, manufactured homes, and factory-built homes in excess of 16 feet in width. Affected loads are to be issued permits by the state DOT, for the use of state trunk highways, and by the local highway authority, for the use of other highways. LL