House DOT bill further delays ELDs for livestockers, blocks state-mandated driver breaks

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The House’s Appropriations Committee on Tuesday unveiled a bill that would exempt livestock haulers from compliance with the electronic logging device mandate at least through September 2019. The bill is also being used as yet another avenue to pass the so-called Denham Amendment, a provision from Congress that would block states from enforcing laws requiring carriers to provide drivers with paid breaks.

The House just passed a bill in late April that included the Denham Amendment — a version identical to what’s included in the House bill released Tuesday.The bill passed last month, legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration for five years, has yet to pass the Senate.

The appropriations bill released Tuesday in the House would fund the Department of Transportation through the 2019 fiscal year. The Appropriations Committee’s transportation subcommittee is slated to begin consideration of the bill Wednesday.

Congress has already exempted livestock and bee haulers from compliance with the ELD mandate through September 2018. The House’s DOT funding bill, if passed as-is, would extend that waiver to the end of the 2019 fiscal year — through Sept. 30, 2019.

The Denham Amendment language, officially dubbed the Federal Authority provision, seeks to protect trucking companies from court-ordered payouts to drivers for not providing them with state-mandate meal breaks and paid rest breaks. Currently, the issue is mostly isolated to California. As detailed in-depth by Overdrive last week, a 2014 ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has created a wave of lawsuits against carriers — a consequence of the 9th Circuit ruling that proponents of the Denham Amendment seek to end.

The Federal Authority provision would prevent states from requiring carriers to provide drivers with breaks mandated at the state-level, though carriers would still be free to provide such breaks if they choose. Read more on the Denham Amendment, from prior Overdrive coverage, at this link.

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