ELD Battle Is Back… Legislation To Exempt Small Carriers And Ag Haulers Re-introduced
Washington D.C. – Legislation that would exempt small carriers and agricultural haulers from the electronic logging devices (ELD) mandate has been re-introduced for consideration by the U.S. House of Representatives.
On Tuesday, Reps. Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Greg Gianforte (R-MT) once again introduced legislation meant to provide relief from the ELD mandate to smaller carriers and ag haulers.
Though the text of H.R. 1697 has not yet been published in the congressional record, Transportation Nation Network (TNN) expects the bill to allow carriers with 10 trucks or fewer the option to record drivers hours-of-service with a “paper record of duty status form” instead of an ELD. Small carriers could still use ELDs should they choose to, but it would no longer be required.
A second bill, H.R. 1698, would exempt those hauling agricultural products (as defined in section 207 of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (7 U.S.C. 1626)) from the ELD mandate. Those transporting farm supplies for agricultural purposes (as defined in section 395.2 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations) would also be exempted.
“This important legislation will eliminate regulations for small trucking companies and will help reduce unnecessary stops and delays which threaten the agricultural products they help to transport,” said Peterson. “These bills are a win for small businesses in rural America and our farmers.”
“Electronic logging devices are more Washington red tape that ties up truckers and puts livestock and Montana livelihoods at risk,” Gianoforte said . “These bills will help reduce the unnecessary burden this federal mandate pushes onto Montana’s small trucking operations, farmers, and ranchers.”
Both bills have been referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure where they will need to win majority support before they could be voted on by the entire U.S. House of Representatives.
TNN first broke the news Rep. Peterson intended to re-introduce this legislation back in January. Since that time, many other trucking media outlets followed suit.
An adviser to Rep. Peterson spoke to TNN in January and said, “We are working out the details and meeting with the White House to push for support.” Support from President Trump will be crucial to the fate of these new legislative efforts.
It is unclear if the legislation will be able to garner enough support in the U.S. House for passage. If it does pass, it would then need to be introduced and considered in the U.S. Senate before it could head to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.
Rep. Peterson along with Reps. Greg Gianforte (R-MT) and Steve King (R-IA), introduced the “Small Carrier Electronic Logging Device Exemption Act” (H.R. 5948) and “Agricultural Business Electronic Logging Device Exemption Act” (H.R. 5949) once before in May of 2018.
However, neither bill was able to win majority of support in committee to advance forward in the legislative process. This time around could be different as the political dynamic in the U.S. House has changed since Democrats reclaimed the majority, and thus, control committee chairmanships and the agenda.
However, one place the dynamic has not changed is in the U.S. Senate. TNN has reported, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), has not supported such legislation in the past.
Further, Republicans have increased their majority in the Senate. No legislation will likely make it to a U.S. Senate vote without the support of Senate Majority Leader McConnell.
The test will be how many concerned truckers get involved and make their voices heard to their representatives. Only time will tell.
Transportation Nation Network will continue to bring you the latest developments.