By Chris Burroughs – TIA –
Yesterday, May 24, 2016, the Full Appropriations Committee marked up and approved the Fiscal Year 2017 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) bill.
Of interest to TIA members, the new language would specifically prohibit the use of funds to implement, administer, and enforce the 34-hour restart restrictions (1:00 AM – 5:00 AM & 168-hour provision) and requires funds to be used to implement, administer, and enforce the “simple” 34-hour restart.
Additionally, the appropriations bill includes F4A provisions, which prohibit states from imposing labor laws or regulations on companies whose employees are subject to federal DOT HOS rules. States may not enact or enforce laws that require a motor carrier that pays employees on a piece-rate basis to pay those employees separate or additional compensation, provided the compensation is equal to or greater than the applicable hourly minimum wage of the state.
Finally, the appropriations bill includes, a delay to the FMCSA’s much anticipated Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) rulemaking until the CSA reform actions included in the FAST Act are completed.
TIA opposes any effort to delay or stall the SFD rulemaking. Our industry that is made up of thousands of businesses needs a single, clear-cut safety standard from the FMCSA, which was established to reduce the number of accidents, and is responsible for the overall safety of motor carriers. FMCSA, through this proposed rule, has provided the users of motor carriers (3PLs and shippers) with a clearer determination of which carriers are safe and which are not by eliminating the four-tiered structure and moving towards a single “unfit” designation. This important change goes a long way towards giving industry stakeholders further assurance from the Agency that the carriers they are hiring are safe to operate, which will reduce liability and frivolous lawsuits.
The bill now must be considered by the full House of Representatives, where TIA will work with Members of Congress to have an amendment considered that would strike the language from the Bill. After the House approved the Bill, it must be conferenced with the Senate, which does not have SFD delay language, and sent to the President’s desk. President Obama has vocally threatened to veto the spending package if “certain transportation anti-safety provisions remain in the bill.”
Please contact your elected officials today, to oppose any attempt to delay this rulemaking.