OOIDA State Watch

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor

CALIFORNIA

An Assembly bill addresses concern about the theft of truck, rail and container cargo. AB2805 would “enhance crime prevention efforts” by establishing a pilot program to strengthen law enforcement agencies’ ability to detect and monitor cargo theft crimes, and to authorize a cargo theft prevention program. Specifically, the program would create statewide standards and methods of detecting and tracking cargo theft crime.

Citing concerns about additional fuel costs resulting from the state’s Cap and Trade Program, Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, is behind a bill to require fuel stations to post the estimated cost per gallon of the program. The state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office has estimated the program has increased gas prices by 11 cents per gallon while raising diesel prices by 13 cents per gallon.

CONNECTICUT

Multiple bills in committee are of interest. HB5318 would put idling rules into state statute. State regulations already prohibit vehicle idling for more than three minutes. Exceptions are made for situations that include when it is necessary to defrost, heat or cool equipment, and when the temperature is below 20 degrees. Another exception would be added for instances when a truck is in a queue waiting for weighing, loading or unloading of freight.

HB5489 would provide additional resources for local law enforcement issuing traffic citations by increasing the fee amount collected by local departments from $15 to $25, or an amount equal to 25 percent of the fine, whichever is greater.

ILLINOIS

A House resolution, HJR125, would allow the Illinois DOT to partner with a private investor to add managed lanes to a 25-mile segment of Interstate 55, or the Stevenson Expressway. The I-55 managed lanes project would add at least one lane in each direction between Interstate 355, also known as the Veterans Memorial Tollway, and Interstate 90/94, also known as the Dan Ryan Expressway.

One Senate bill would require the removal of ice and snow from the top of trucks in excess of 8,000 pounds. As introduced, SB2838 does not specify fine amounts.

Another bill, SB2319, 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 fee.

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.

In the House, one bill 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. HB5531 specifies that the weight of affected trucks could not exceed 20 percent above the permissible limit.

Also of interest is a bill to revise the state’s Move Over law to cover any vehicle, including large trucks, parked along shoulders of roadways with at least two lanes in the same direction. SB3177 includes $100 fines for violators.

INDIANA

One new law increases the penalties for repeat offenders of the state’s speed limit laws in work zones. In addition, SB248 suspends a person’s driving privileges for 60 days.

Another new law requires people involved in minor wrecks to move their vehicles out of traffic. HB1048 includes fines of up to $500 for failure to act.

LOUISIANA

A House bill would authorize local governments to levy a sales tax on motor fuels. Local voters would make the final decision on proposed tax increases of up to 3 percent. HB578 specifies that all revenue raised be used for road work.

MICHIGAN

A House bill could increase speeds for motorists on rural interstates to

75 mph, and as much as 80 mph, while trucks would be authorized to drive up to 10 mph below the posted speed limit for cars. HB4423 would also permit urban interstates to be posted at 70 mph for motorists and 60 mph for trucks. State trunk lines could have speeds boosted from

55 mph to 60 mph for all users. Changes in posted speeds could only be made following traffic studies done by the Michigan DOT and Michigan State Police.

A related speed bill would reform how the state sets speed limits. In addition to relying on engineering and safety studies, HB4425 would use the 85th percentile rule to set speeds on roadways throughout the state.

MISSOURI

An amended House bill makes the Highway Patrol responsible for setting up rotations to tow or remove disabled vehicles at accident scenes. HB2320 would also permit carriers to call a tow company in lieu of using a listed company.

Another House measure covers the observance of daylight saving time. HJR60 proposes a constitutional amendment that would establish DST as the new standard time in 2018 and then eliminate the DST practice. If approved by state lawmakers, the state would delay adoption of the rule until two states adjacent to Missouri also act to do away with the DST recognition.

NEW JERSEY

The Assembly voted to send a bill to the governor that would subject the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to legislative oversight. S708 includes requirements for agency officials to appear before legislators twice annually, independent monitoring of projects exceeding $500 million, and labor protection provisions.

NEW YORK

The Senate voted to advance a bill to the Assembly that is intended to simplify movement of truck loads between upstate New York and Long Island. S1522 would authorize a nondivisible load permit issued by the state DOT, instead of a New York City DOT permit and a state DOT permit. The state-issued permits would be valid along one specific route through New York City connecting Westchester County to Nassau County.

OKLAHOMA

One Senate bill nearing passage would authorize the use of automated license plate readers to flag uninsured drivers. SB359 would enable police to compare license plate numbers with an Oklahoma Insurance Department list to see whether the vehicle owner has coverage.

A related bill, SB1144, would make misuse of license data subject to legal action. The bill would clarify that captured data is not public record.

PENNSYLVANIA

Two bills nearing passage are of note. HB1087 would give the Pennsylvania governor veto power over actions of the Delaware River Port Authority board. To change DRPA’s federal charter, identical legislation must be enacted in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and be approved by the federal government. The New Jersey governor already has this authority.

HB1335 would remove the requirement that the Turnpike Commission must provide for the installation and maintenance of emergency telephones every two miles on both sides of the highway. The bill would not mandate that the program end, but it would allow the Turnpike Commission to move forward with call box removal at their discretion.

A House bill would boost penalties for “rogue” commercial HHG movers operating in the state. HB1769 calls for operations that fail to register and obtain a permit with the Public Utility Commission, maintain workers comp coverage, pay wages subject to taxation, and have adequate insurance coverage for goods moved to face $5,000 fines, a third-degree misdemeanor, suspension of registration and/or confiscation and impoundment of the motor vehicle used in the illegal move. Subsequent offenses could result in $10,000 fines. LL