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Catherine Treadwell Perry, J.D., Director for Government Relations
|FMSCA's Proposed Rulemaking for Hours of Service Released This Week
Tuesday afternoon the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reached out to ASA Advocacy pertaining to the Hours-of-Service Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Soon, the Office of Management and Budget will be releasing the Notice of Prosed Rulemaking to the public and this phone call was to let our advocacy team and ASA member the results as soon as possible.
Transportation has been a growing issue over the last few years. The lack of drivers available coupled with the regulations and demands that the current drivers are facing causes a huge problem in the trucking and transportation world. A report from the American Trucking Associations says more than 70 percent of goods consumed in the U.S. are moved by truck, but the industry needs to hire almost 900,000 more drivers to meet rising demand.
FMSCA has realized that Hours of Service regulations needed to be reviewed. ASA Advocacy submitted comments on the issue in October. The phone call with FMSCA was pertaining to the Advanced Proposed Rulemaking regulations and giving our membership a “first look,” so to speak.
The changes stayed within the scope of the advanced notice. The major changed include an extension on the new short haul exception. Currently, the short haul exception is 12 hours and within 100 mile air radius. However, it would be changed to 14 hours and within 150 mile air radius.
FMSCA also adjusted the regulation to the thirty minute rest break. Currently, drivers have to take a thirty minute mandatory rest break on an eight hour on duty driving schedule. The proposed change would still mandate the thirty minute break, but it is discretionary for the driver as to if it is on duty or off duty driving time.
The adverse driving condition regulation was extremely burdensome. Currently, there is no extension of driving time for adverse driving conditions, such as, rain, snow, traffic etc, The proposed rule would allow up to two additional on duty driving hours for adverse driving conditions.
The sleeper berth regulation also was addressed. Currently, the driver is they can split the 10 hours into two shifts. According to FMCSA drivers “must take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two.” The proposed rule would change the split from 8/2 to 7/3. However, FMSCA is looking at a 6/4 split, but will need more data before they can make a decision.
Finally, FMSCA also touched on a three hour consecutive pause of clock for break, in which the driver would have the liberty of pausing the on duty time for the break and then start the clock again after he returns from break. So for example, a driver hits traffic and decides he would rather stop and take a break, instead of sit in the traffic, he would have the liberty to stop the on duty time.
Ray Martinez, administrator of FMCSA, says he expects the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to be published this week in the Federal Register. Please stay tuned for updates!
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper ended his run for the Democratic presidential nomination after roughly six months. While the two-term governor did not commit to challenging Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) in 2020, he said he would "give that some serious thought."
- Stacey Abrams, who drew national attention during her unsuccessful run for governor of Georgia last year, decided not to seek the Democratic presidential nomination, but she said in an interview that she was open to be considered as a vice presidential nominee by any Democratic presidential candidate. Abrams said she would instead focus her efforts on monitoring voter protections throughout the country ahead of the 2020 election.
- An analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law found that 12 percent of voters could vote on paperless machines in the 2020 general election, leaving their ballots more exposed to hackers. The states that still use paperless balloting are Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, Mississippi, Texas and Tennessee, while Georgia, South Carolina and Pennsylvania have committed to replacing equipment by the 2020 election.
- A federal judge delayed the trial for Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), who faces corruption charges, from Sept. 10 to Jan. 14, which means that it could end weeks before the March 2020 primary, in which five Republicans and one Democrat are competing for his seat. Hunter and his wife were indicted last year after prosecutors accused them of using more than $250,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses.
- The U.S. EPA placed a public notice in the August 15, 2019 Federal Register asking for public comment on proposed list of 20 chemicals being considered for classification as “low-priority substances”. ASA staff have reviewed the list and do not see any direct impact on the PHCP or PVF industries but encourage members to review the list and let Catherine Treadwell Perry (email@example.com) know if there is any reason for submittal of comments. Comments are due no later than November 13, 2019.
On August 13, 2019, while in Pennsylvania, the President stated, “we are going to continue to expand energy production, and we will also create more jobs in infrastructure, trucking, and manufacturing.” These are key issues we are asking our members and all members of the PHCP and PVF industries to contact their Representatives so please visit the ASA Advocacy page for more information on how to become part of the ASA Voice on the Hill.
- A group of 22 states and seven cities sued the Trump administration for replacing the Clean Power Plan with looser restrictions on coal-fired power plants. Plaintiffs say the new rule abandons the Environmental Protection Agency's responsibility to place limits on emissions.
- The EPA is expected within weeks to issue a proposed rule that bars the federal government from setting limits on methane emissions from oil and gas infrastructure, according to people familiar with the plan.
- President Donald Trump called the EPA to greenlight its recent announcement regarding biofuel blending exemptions and end a weeks-long interagency discussion over the small refiner waiver applications, according to three people familiar with the matter.
- The Chinese government threatened to retaliate against the United States if the Trump administration proceeds with the planned imposition of 10 percent tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods on Sept. 1. The vow comes as talks between the two sides over a trade deal remain bogged down, fueling fears of a global recession.
- As Britain faces the possibility of leaving the European Union without a deal, White House national security adviser John Bolton said Britain would be at the "front of the trade queue" for a new deal with the United States, which could be negotiated on a sector-by-sector basis. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that Congress would not ratify any deal if "Brexit undermines the Good Friday accord" that brought an end to the conflict in Northern Ireland.
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma said the agency is working quickly to release its International Pricing Index model, a proposal to link drug prices for treatments under Medicare Part B to prices abroad. Federal health officials issued an advanced notice of proposed rule-making in October with the intention of implementing a demonstration program by spring 2020, but the proposal, which has garnered staunch opposition from the pharmaceutical industry, remains to be seen, with Verma declining to provide any specifics on a timeline. (FierceHealthcare)
- According to a new survey of employers' health care strategies and plans, large, self-insured employers plan to give workers more choice with their coverage in 2020, with 25 percent of employers offering high-deductible plans with an attached savings account as the sole option next year. That share is down from 30 percent in 2019 and 39 percent in 2018 in the same annual survey, which also found health care costs for employers are rising at a slower pace, with a growth of 3.6 percent in 2018. (Modern Healthcare)
- The House and Senate are in recess.
| || NEWS FROM STATE AND LOCAL |
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Updates on State Activity
Delaware (HB 124) amends title 24 of the Delaware code relating to the board of plumbing, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration examiners by modifying the impact of criminal history on an applicant's eligibility for licensure. It gives the Board discretion to grant waivers for felony convictions for crimes committed against a person where more than 3 years have elapsed, and more than 2 years have elapsed for other felonies. The Board is precluded from considering a conviction where more than 10 years have elapsed since the date of conviction. Bill signed by Governor on 8/12/19.
The New York Times
A coalition of 29 states and cities recently sued to block the Trump administration from easing restrictions on coal-burning power plants, setting up a case that could determine how much leverage the federal government has to fight climate change in the future. The lawsuit is the latest salvo in a long-running battle over the future of coal and how to regulate the nation’s heavily polluting power plants, which are major producers of greenhouse gases that warm the planet.
President Trump’s economic and trade advisers sought to quell fears of a looming recession recently after a week of turmoil in the markets that has historically served a predecessor to economic downturns. "I don't see a recession at all," White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow insisted on "Fox News Sunday," telling guest anchor Dana Parino, “The Trump pro-growth program, which I believe has been succeeding, we’re going to stay with that.”
Support in the U.S. for free trade has hit an all-time high, according to a recent poll. 64% of Americans surveyed in an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll said free trade is good. It is a seven-point uptick since a 2017 poll and an all-time high, according to the NBC/WSJ survey data. 27% of Americans said free trade is bad, a 10-point decrease since 2017.
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