Trucking Policy Update

Congressional Roundtable
 
Representatives from the trucking industry as well as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) engaged in a "roundtable" discussion April 13 with the House Transportation Committee to discuss the trucking-related provisions in the long-term Highway Bill that Congress recently passed (known as the FAST Act).  Although all parties applauded Congress for passing the long-term measure, there was disagreement over the role of data in regulating and rating U.S. trucking companies.

Some Members of Congress raised questions about a proposed rule that FMCSA released in January, suggesting that the agency had not resolved the trucking industry's concerns about unfair percentile ratings before moving ahead on a new system.  The American Trucking Associations (ATA) argued that the data may be useful in helping regulators identify problematic trucking companies, but that the data should not be open to the public. FMCSA countered that the data is good data.

Industry advocates also used the occasion to implore lawmakers to resolve problems that arose after changes to the truck driver Hours-of-Service rule were inserted into the fiscal year 2016 spending package enacted in late 2015.  Because of what many believe to be a drafting error in the bill's language, the HOS rule could revert to an arcane, undesirable regime that was in place years ago. Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Schuster (R-PA) agreed that this was "a great concern." 
 
Senate to Consider State-Level Truck Driver Rest Break Requirements
 
As the Senate prepares to vote on legislation reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration, Calif. Senator Barbara Boxer, the highest Ranking Democrat on the Senate Committee with jurisdiction over transportation policy, sent a letter to congressional appropriators urging them to oppose a federal spending rider that would effectively undo laws in 20 states that ban employers from docking truck drivers' pay for rest and meal breaks. Sen. Boxer said the measure also would block other states from passing similar protections.  

"This provision is a poison pill and I will use every tool at my disposal to oppose any legislation that includes it," Sen. Boxer wrote in a letter to appropriators. 
 
The Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee with jurisdiction over this issue is expected to consider this legislation in the near future. It remains a longshot that  legislation undoing state rest break provisions will be enacted.
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David Fialkov

David Fialkov is the Vice President of Government Relations, as well as the Legislative and Regulatory Counsel, at NATSO. In this capacity, Mr. Fialkov direct's NATSO's legislative, regulatory, and legal strategy on a range of issues, including transportation, energy and fuels, labor, data security, and taxes. Mr. Fialkov also oversees NATSO's political engagement program, including individualized legal and political counsel to member companies. Prior to joining NATSO, Mr. Fialkov was the senior associate in the Government Affairs and Public Policy practice at the law firm of Steptoe and Johnson in Washington, D.C. At Steptoe, Mr. Fialkov advised clients on legislative, regulatory, and political issues, as well as legal concerns. His primary clients included trade associations representing the motor fuel wholesale and retail industries, including the National Association of Convenience Stores and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America. Mr. Fialkov's focus was not only on the motor fuels business, but also the litany of other issues that retailers confront, including labor matters, foodservice issues, healthcare and employment issues, tax matters and data security. Prior to joining Steptoe, Mr. Fialkov graduated with honors from George Washington University Law School. He received his B.S. Summa cum laude with highest honors from Clark University in Worcester, MA. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife Allison and daughter Lilah. More
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