State Watch
OOIDA’s state watch

By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

Since the first of the year lawmakers throughout the country have been working at breakneck speed to advance their agendas. A portion of those efforts are included on the following pages. For a rundown of state legislation, visit and click on “Legislative Watch” under the “Important Info” tab.

A Senate bill would regulate use of automated license plate readers by the public and private sector. SB34 would require entities using the devices to post privacy policies online. Entities would also be required to set time limits for how long data can be kept. In addition, logs must be kept to track each instance the license data is accessed.

The Senate Homeland Security and Transportation Committee voted to advance a bill, SB437, to authorize $500 fines for the use of modified compression release engine brakes unless the vehicle includes a muffler in good working condition to prevent excessive noise.

One House bill would authorize the counties of Elkhart, LaGrange, LaPorte, Porter and Steuben to adopt a food and beverage tax. Specifically, HB1543 could result in the attachment of a 1 percent tax on all food and beverage sales at the Indiana Toll Road’s 10 travel plazas.

At press time, a bill awaiting consideration on the House floor would establish cargo theft as a specific offense and impose escalating fines up to $1 million and punishment of up to 30 years behind bars based on the value of goods or controlled substances stolen. HB1263 includes another provision that covers fifth wheels, and any antitheft locking device attached to the fifth wheel. Any attempt to alter, move or sell a fifth wheel could result in 10-year prison terms and/or $100,000 fines.

Multiple bills cover the use of automated cameras to ticket drivers. HB207 would put a question to voters during the August primary to decide whether red-light and speed cameras should be against the law.

HB234 would simply prohibit any local governments or state agencies from setting up ticket programs starting Aug. 28. Communities with programs already in place would have until Sept. 1, 2016, to shut down the cameras.

HB421 would prohibit the Missouri Department of Revenue from working with other states that try to impose or collect fines resulting from red-light or speed cameras.

HB452 and HB453 require signage to be posted at intersections posted with photo enforcement cameras and a requirement that photos snapped of drivers must be from the front.

In addition to forbidding red-light and speed cameras, SB196 would outlaw the use of automated license plate scanners.

An Assembly bill would require the state’s transportation commissioner to determine the number and location of additional parking spaces necessary to reduce the number of trucks parked on the shoulders of highways in the state by 75 percent. A3918 would also require a list to be put together of projects that will make additional parking available for trucks or publicize the availability of existing parking along state highways. Standards would also be changed for how a vehicle should be parked or left standing on a roadway.

The full Senate could soon vote on a bill that would direct the Turnpike Authority and the South Jersey Transportation Authority to study and report on additional opportunities to make money along the state’s three toll highways by providing new and better services at rest areas and welcome centers. Services could include business, commercial or retail along the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway and Atlantic City Expressway.

One Senate bill would extend the overweight zone at the three ports of entry on the state’s border with Mexico. SB52 would extend the zone from six miles to 12 miles for loads with a gross weight up to 96,000 pounds.

Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-Northampton, has offered two bills to permit police to ticket drivers between $25 and $75 for failure to clear snow or ice from atop vehicles. SB94 focuses solely on trucks weighing in excess of 48,000 pounds. The second bill, SB93, would apply the ice and snow removal mandate to all vehicles. Both bills would excuse drivers for snow or ice that accumulates on a vehicle while out on the road.

A Senate bill targets highway protests that block traffic. S129 would make “unlawful interference with traffic” a felony. Violators would face anywhere from 60 days to three years behind bars. Highway blockages that factor into the death to any person could result in prison sentences between three and five years.

Multiple Senate bills are of interest. S2 would use about $60 million annually from vehicle sales taxes to finance constructing new lanes on existing interstates. Funds could not be used to construct new interstates.

S90 would regulate the use of military-grade surveillance devices that mimic cellphone towers and allow law enforcement to track the movements of anyone nearby with a cellphone. S90 would require law enforcement in the state to obtain a specific warrant before capturing data.

Two House bills cover the state’s observance of time changes. HB363 would set up a task force to study the usefulness of continuing to observe daylight saving time. HB150 would keep the state on standard time year round.

A separate House bill, HB594, would offer a discounted rate for truckers to travel along segments 1 through 4 of state Highway 130.

House lawmakers voted to advance a bill to the Senate that would create new standards for towing and recovery companies. HB106 includes a provision to authorize the Wyoming DOT to oversee a rotation list for nonconsensual towing. Procedures would also be set for operations that want to be included on a wrecker rotation list. LL