The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced the post times for a series of regulations that will affect the way long-haul-trucking firms run their businesses. This week we take a look at some of the leading measures in the gate.
The FMCSA announced that its Drug and Alcohol Data Clearinghouse will become operational on January 6, 2020. All FMCSA-regulated employers must be ready to comply with the Clearinghouse requirements on that date. The FMCSA Clearinghouse is an electronic database that will contain information about commercial motor vehicle drivers' drug and alcohol program violations. Employers and their service agents can log on to the FMCSA Clearinghouse site to become familiar with its functionality. Clearinghouse registration is valid for five years, unless cancelled or revoked. Once operational, employers will be required to query the Clearinghouse annually for each driver they currently employ and state driver licensing agencies will be required to query the Clearinghouse whenever a commercial driver's license is issued, renewed, transferred, or upgraded.
BACK IN THE PADDOCK
Lastly, Senators Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act (TLAAS). The bipartisan measure maintains that HOS and ELD requirements are inapplicable until after livestock haulers travel more than 300-air miles from their source. The bill would exempt loading and unloading times from the HOS calculation of driving time and would extend the HOS on-duty time maximum hour requirement from 11 hours to a minimum of 15 hours and a maximum of 18 hours of on-duty time. This bill was turned away last year, so we'll see if it crosses the finish line in the 116th running of the U.S. Congress.
Statehouse Windows Closing Soon
A NEW YORK TRIFECTA
Lawmakers in New York are advancing legislation on behalf of seasonal and farm-workers to reverse an 80-year-old law that excludes approximately 80,000 to 100,000 seasonal farm workers from the protections afforded to other workers in the Empire State. The measure would grant collective bargaining rights, create an 8-hour work day, and permit at least one full day off each week. Workers also would obtain legal rights to unemployment insurance and workers' compensation benefits. Presently, the bill has 32 co-sponsors in the Senate, the minimum number needed for a measure to pass. It has been approved several times in the State Assembly and Democratic Governor Cuomo says he'll sign the bill if it passes both houses.
The Pennsylvania House Labor and Industry Committee Chairman introduced House Bill 1234, which would allow those affected by exposure to toxic substances to file for workers' compensation after the state's 300-week deadline. Supporters of the measure suggest that symptoms of such exposure often manifest years later and the state workers' compensation system is the appropriate venue to adjudicate such claims. In 2013, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in Tooey vs. AK Steel that workers who are past the 300-week threshold for comp could file a civil lawsuit against their employers.
Bipartisan lawmakers in Connecticut introduced a new legislative framework to permit police, firefighters, and parole officers to seek workers' compensation benefits for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after exposure to certain work related events. The negotiated agreement, which advocates hailed as a national model, limits eligibility for benefits to those personnel who have experienced at least one of six specific traumatic events including, witnessing the death of a minor. Lawmakers are seeking to enact the measure before the state's 2019 legislative session closes on June 5th.
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