The 2012 Legislative Session ended on May 18th this year and it was a very active day for the trucking industry. While many industries considered this session a “wasted session” the trucking industry was not among the disappointed.
By far the most critical trucking industry issue this year was the rebuilding of I-70 using tolls as the funding mechanism through a Public Private Partnership and tolls. MoTA and a few allies were able to make a convincing case that, while the needs of the Department (MoDOT) are great, tolls are not the most effective way to satisfy those needs. The highway funding debate is not going away. The trucking industry and transportation partners must find a solution that is efficient as well as large enough in scope in the use of the funds that the citizens of Missouri will support. That is the challenge and there are several committees and panels currently looking into these issues.
>Also a hot issue this year, The Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR) had been challenging the common carrier status of some small business around the state. Over the course of the past two years, MoTA met and negotiated with the DOR but could not agree on an amendable solution so one had to be sought legislatively. Originally language was crafted that drew a distinct line between for hire and private carriers. According to the language if you were for hire the company received the exemption. During the course of session several exchanges were made back and forth and finally DOR came to us with language that exempted all vehicles over 54,000 lbs. Not common carriers with vehicles over54,000 lbs, but any vehicle over 54,000 lbs including those of private carriers. This change in policy could have a dramatic impact on the industry especially for private carriers. It is important to note that if you are a common carrier and currently getting the exemption on all your commercial motor vehicles, this bill will not change that.
Two of the bills that ended up being transportation omnibus bills started out as bills to deregulate the Household Goods Movers. For those moving companies who are members this should be a welcome step forward to join the rest of the trucking industry. A couple of Federally mandated provisions passed including the joining of a driver’s CDL and their medical card. From now on those who fail a physical wi
ll officially have their driving privileges revoked until such time they pass the examination. In an effort to increase highway safety in work zones, MoDOT vehicles were included in the list that requires travelers to “Move Over” when they are present on the side of the road. House bill 1402 and Senate bills 470 and 480 were the flagship bills for most of the transportation issues that were addressed this session. These bills, which all just so happened to pass on the last day of session, included almost all of MoTA’s legislative agenda. The Governor has until July 14th to sign or veto them. It was a successful session for trucking this time around.