OOIDA State Watch

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor

Georgia

A House bill would expand the state's "super speeder" law to include drivers of commercial motor vehicles. State law already tacks $200 fines onto traffic tickets for motorists caught driving more than 85 mph on interstates and four-lane roads, or more than

75 mph on two-lane roads. HB732 would apply the same fine for truck drivers found exceeding the posted speed limit by at least 10 mph.

Indiana

Two Senate bills would benefit transportation work. SB333 would reroute more than $240 million from the state's reserve fund for transportation as long as the amount available at the end of the state fiscal year is more than 11.5 percent. The surplus state revenue now is earmarked for automatic taxpayer refunds. The bill also calls for $240 million in borrowing and $450 million in budget appropriations for roads and bridges through 2021.

SB67 would provide a one-time allotment of $430 million to aid counties, cities and towns via a reserve balance from local income tax revenues. Localities would be required to direct at least 75 percent of the funds allotted toward local road and bridge needs or a rainy day fund. The remaining 25 percent could be used at the localities' discretion.

Kansas

An effort underway in the House would increase speeds for all vehicles on certain stretches of highway posted at 75 mph. Specifically, HB2450 would boost speeds for all vehicles by 5 mph to 80 mph on divided, multilane highways.

New Jersey

Gov. Chris Christie has signed into law a bill that could soon result in the state making available electronic driver's licenses. S2695 mandates the state Motor Vehicle Commission to prepare and submit to Christie and to the Legislature a report on the feasibility of the e-licenses. In addition, the report would make recommendations about the development and publication of an app for the issuance and use of e-licenses.

New Mexico

The problem of cargo theft is drawing attention at the statehouse. HB182 would authorize felony charges for offenders of up to nine years in prison and fines up to the value of the property stolen and the cost of recovering the property.

Ohio

Gov. John Kasich signed into law a bill to outlaw provisions in trucking contracts that provide for shippers to be indemnified for losses caused by their own negligence and make them "void and unenforceable." HB71 defines affected contracts as "a contract, agreement, or understanding" between a motor carrier and a shipper covering the transportation of property for compensation or hire by the motor carrier, entry on property to load, unload, or transport property. The new rule takes effect March 23.

Pennsylvania

A Senate-approved bill, SB927, would give the Senate the authority to confirm commissioners for the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission. Currently, Pennsylvania members of the bi-state agency with New Jersey are appointed by the governor without legislative confirmation.

SB286 would prohibit the Delaware River Port Authority from engaging in economic development activity. Other changes include forcing the bi-state agency with New Jersey to comply with ethics and public records laws. In addition, a two-thirds majority of commissioners would need to sign off on any toll increase.

Two bills moving through the statehouse are of interest. HB950 would delay plans to rid the state of red-light cameras as of Jan. 1, 2017. The sunset provision would be extended by one decade to 2027.

One House bill, HB1413, would switch from semiannual inspections to annual inspections for trucks with a registered gross weight in excess of 17,000 pounds.

A separate House bill would boost penalties for "rogue" commercial household goods movers operating in the state. HB1769 calls for HHG movers that fail to meet state requirements for operation 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.

Rhode Island

One bill would outlaw provisions in truck contracts that provide for shippers to be indemnified for losses caused by their own negligence and make them "void and unenforceable." H7166 would affect "a contract, agreement or understanding" between a motor carrier and a shipper covering the transportation of property by motor carriers, entrance on property to load, unload or transport property.

South Carolina

Two bills from Rep. Justin Bamberg, D-Bamberg, target the use of ticket quotas by law enforcement. The first bill, H4387, would prohibit departments from using officers' ticket numbers as part of evaluations. Employees who file reports that allege a violation of the proposed protection would also be protected.

H4385 would prohibit local governments from approving budgets that depend on ticket revenue.

Virginia

Two House bills cover the use of left lanes by large trucks. HB201 would authorize communities throughout the state to enact left-lane restrictions for commercial trucks on highways. Virginia law already requires any vehicle moving at less than the normal speed of traffic to stay to the right. Authorities are also able to restrict trucks from the left lane on interstates with three or more lanes in one direction. Truck lane restrictions are also in place along all of Interstate 81.

HB178 would prohibit trucks from accessing the left lane on Interstate 64 in the area of Afton Mountain. Mandatory $500 fines would be imposed for violators and occurrences would be classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Wisconsin

Sen. Duey Stroebel and Rep. Bob Brooks are behind an effort to "swap" a portion of federal funds within local transportation programs from existing state transportation dollars. Brooks has said the change would remove burdensome, expensive and inefficient federal regulations from local highway projects. As a result, certain projects would have less federal money attached while other projects would have less local and state money assigned. LL