The Pennsylvania General Assembly is currently on its summer break, with the Senate reconvening on September 20 and the House on September 27. The spring session leading up to the passage of the 2021-22 budget was a busy one, and PMTA was tracking several bills of interest to the trucking industry. Many of these bills may be considered when the legislature returns in the fall. Below is an overview.
Please note that PMTA is hosting several legislative events in September to give members a chance to meet face-to-face with lawmakers in their area to discuss these and other issues on their mind. Please register and make plans to attend the PMTA Legislative Meet-and-Greet nearest you:
Action to watch out for:
Weight Class Stickers: PMTA has urged repeal of the weight class sticker requirement for several years. It’s expected that PennDOT will publish the final regulation this fall, removing this onerous requirement that no other state in the nation has.
P3 Major Bridge Tolling Initiative: PennDOT is moving forward with tolling of nine interstate bridges across the state through a progressive public-private partnership (P3). SB 382, introduced by Sen. Wayne Langerholc, would halt the project to provide more transparency and public input, as well as require P3s with a user fee to be approved by the legislature. PMTA has strongly supported SB 382, which passed the state Senate 28-19 and is now in the House Transportation Committee.
Transportation Funding: Discussions continue over how to address the infrastructure funding gap. Sen. Langerholc has proposed the Drive Smart Act, which addresses funding in many areas, including the issuance of a federal GARVEE bond. The Governor’s Transportation Revenue Options Commission issued a report that, among other items, recommended moving to a Miles-Based User Fee. PMTA issued a statement on this report. Several legislative funding bills are moving, including HB 948, Rep. Mike Carroll’s bill to charge a road use fee for electric and hybrid vehicles. Sen. Joe Pittman’s SB 242 would speed up the reduction in funding transfers to the State Police from the Motor License Fund, ensuring more money is available for roads and bridges sooner.
Snow and Ice Removal: Sen. Boscola’s bill requiring snow and ice removal from motor vehicles (SB 114), passed the state Senate 47-0. PMTA advocated for providing flexibility for motor carriers and discretion for law enforcement in this bill. The current language requires drivers to “make reasonable efforts” to remove snow and ice within 24 hours. There are exceptions for motor carriers that are enroute to a removal facility and for when removal would cause a safety risk to the driver. If stopped by law enforcement, the driver could face a fine of not less than $25 and not more than $75. If snow or ice falls from a moving vehicle and causes harm to a person, the fine would be not less than $200 or more than $1500. The bill could be considered by the House this fall and would take effect in 60 days.
COVID Liability Protection: SB 273, sponsored by Senate Judiciary Chairman Lisa Baker, would provide protection for businesses from lawsuits arising from exposure to COVID-19 absent any finding of negligence. A similar measure passed in 2020 but was vetoed by Governor Wolf. PMTA supports the bill, which is still in the Senate Judiciary Committee. HB 605, sponsored by Rep. Torren Ecker, would require compulsory arbitration for COVID-19 liability actions. This bill has passed the House 107-94 and is also in the Senate Judiciary Committee. PMTA supports these measures.
Registration Plate Stickers: HB 334, sponsored by Rep. Barry Jozwiak, would reinstate the issuance of validating registration stickers on license plates in Pennsylvania. PMTA opposes this measure, which could be considered finally in the House this fall.
Electronic Weigh Station Bypass:A hearing was recently held in the House Transportation Committee about Rep. Mindy Fee’s HB 1410, which would allow a weigh station preclearance systems and devices to be used in Pennsylvania, including Drivewyze and PrePass. The bill could be considered by the full House this fall, and a similar bill, Sen. Judy Ward’s SB 827 is currently in the Senate Transportation Committee.
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