Senate omits ELD reprieve for livestock haulers, driver breaks provision in DOT spending bill

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Semi-truck hauling livestock

The Senate’s Appropriations Committee on Thursday voted to send the chamber’s 2019 U.S. DOT appropriations bill to the full Senate for consideration. Unlike its House counterpart, the bill is void of trucking policy reforms, chiefly an extension of the ELD waiver granted to livestock haulers and the so-called Denham Amendment, a provision to block states from enforcing meal and rest break laws for truck operators.

Senate appropriators did adopt an amendment to direct the DOT to further evaluate the needs of livestock haulers relative to the federal electronic logging device mandate. That directive stops short of the House’s plan to exempt livestock and insect haulers from compliance with the logging device mandate through September 2019. Instead, the Senate calls on the DOT to “consult with stakeholders, the Department of Agriculture and [Congress] on legislative solutions for drivers with unique working conditions,” referring specifically to livestock haulers.

Once consideration of the amendment begins by the full Senate, lawmakers could opt to add trucking reforms via the amendment process. The Senate has not set a date to consider the bill. Current DOT funding expires at the end of the September.

The House has not yet brought its DOT appropriations bill to the floor for consideration yet either.

Should the two chambers pass different versions of their respective bills, lawmakers will enter into a conference committee to produce a unified bill that will then need to be passed by both chambers again. Any trucking policy riders attached to the bill would be subjected to review during the conference committee process.

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