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Efforts to strike CSA, hours language from House bill come up short

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Updated Jun 29, 2019

The U.S. House on Tuesday passed a 2020 government funding package that would bar the U.S. DOT from eliminating the 30-minute break requirement from current hours of service regulations and would require carriers’ ratings within DOT’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program to be returned to public view within six months.

The stipulations within the bill, H.R. 3055, were retained despite attempts in the House’s Rules Committee to strip them.

However, those provisions still face an uphill climb in becoming law. The policy riders must still clear the Senate, which has yet to unveil any appropriations bills, and be signed by President Trump. Likely, the Senate spending bills will differ from the House’s versions, setting up a conference committee to work out the differences. In that scenario, the trucking riders would need to survive that process and then be passed again by both chambers, then signed by Trump.

The hours provision is likely to face pushback from industry groups — especially since the DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is on the verge of proposing an overhaul to federal hours of service regulations.

In addition to the riders on hours and CSA, the House’s funding bill also includes provisions barring the U.S. DOT from issuing any new decisions on petitions to exempt carriers from state-level laws that require rest breaks and meal breaks for drivers. DOT in December issued a decision stating that carriers are exempt from California laws requiring such breaks, with DOT ruling that those laws conflict with federal hours of service regulations. Federal hours regs pre-empt state laws, DOT concluded.

Lastly, the House bill passed Tuesday also includes a continuation of the ELD waiver granted to livestock and insect haulers. Under the bill, such drivers can continue to run on paper logs through September 2020.