- WSTA Letter of Support for AB 1569 (Steinorth) (02/02/2016)
- WSTA Letter of Support for H.R. 4012 – Secret Science Act (06/17/14)
The WSTA has a proven track record of promoting and protecting the business interests of owner-operators and fleet owners through our Legislative and Governmental Affairs program.
Each year WSTA’s legislative team closely analyzes each of the thousands of bills introduced each session to determine the bill’s true impact upon our industry. This year alone 2,547 bills have been introduced, which marks an 11 percent increase over the number of bills introduced just last year.
After identifying the key bills of interest to the WSTA membership, we initiate the process of voicing the industry’s concerns or support on these bills, which involves meeting with authors and Capitol staff behind the scenes and testifying at the policy and fiscal committees when each of the bills are heard. For those bills that manage to make it through the legislature, we then communicate our concerns or support to the governor’s office prior to him deciding whether to sign or veto the legislation.
OUR TOP ISSUES
TRANSPORTATION FUNDING PROPOSALS – WSTA CLOSELY MONITORING. WSTA is working on this matter with two goals in mind:
1) to ensure that any changes to existing transportation fees and taxes are not executed in a manner that unfairly and negatively impacts trucking companies, and
2) to ensure that any fix to California’s highway system is supported by a stable funding source that will provide plentiful, long-term work to California’s construction industry.
In his January 5th State of the State address, the Governor addressed the deterioration of California’s once-world-class highway system, urging action on “$59 billion in needed upkeep and maintenance.” While the California State Transportation Agency is working on long-term funding options, most notably a “road usage charge,” which would be an alternative to the gas tax, both the Assembly and Senate have been working on short-term proposals. Most notably, SB 16 (Beal) has received widespread support from the construction, local government, and labor communities. SB 16 would create the Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Program to address deferred maintenance on the state highway system and the local street and road system. SB 16 would provide funding for the Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Account from the following sources:
- $0.10 per gallon increase in the motor vehicle fuel (gasoline) tax
- $0.10 of the $0.12 per gallon increase in the diesel fuel excise tax
- an increase of $35 in the annual vehicle registration fee
- a new $100 annual vehicle registration fee applicable to zero-emission motor vehicles
The bill also redirects commercial vehicle weight fees over a five-year period from debt service on general obligation transportation bonds and includes the repayment, over a three-year period, of outstanding loans made in previous years from certain transportation funds to the General Fund.
The new funds raised by this bill are formulaically allocated to both state and local projects. Five percent is set aside for counties which pass local sales and use taxes for transportation purposes, and which have not previously passed such taxes. Two cents of the diesel fuel excise tax increase would be deposited in the Trade Corridors Improvement Fund to be allocated by the California Transportation Commission for infrastructure improvements on corridors that have a high volume of freight movement. The remainder of new funding would be split evenly, with 50 percent going to Caltrans for maintenance of the state highway system or for purposes of the state highway operation and protection program and the remaining 50 percent going to cities and counties to support critical safety, basic road maintenance and road rehabilitation projects.
It is anticipated that the Governor will include his thoughts on the proposals introduced thus far in his Revised Budget (the “May Revise”), to be released in mid-May. It is believed that the final proposal would be included in the 2015-16 state budget, which is must be signed by July 1st under law.
WSTA is actively working on the following:
AB 219 (DALY) – WSTA STRONGLY OPPOSED. AB 219 would expand the definition of public works to include the delivery of ready-mix concrete to a public works site. It is being authored by Assembly Member Tom Daly, a Democrat from Anaheim, and is being sponsored by the Teamsters, State Building Trades, and CA Labor Federation. WSTA is strongly opposed as it would usurp the materialman exemption long steeped in federal and state prevailing wage law. Caltrans has opined that if AB 219 were passed, the state could incur an additional $35 million in project costs (this is based on its assumption that the provisions of the bill would increase costs on public works jobs by 10 percent), plus an additional $1 million due to the inspection of the hauling activities and enforcement of prevailing wage requirements under Caltrans’ labor compliance programs operations. Due to these costs, the bill is sitting on the Assembly Appropriations Committee’s suspense file, where it must be passed by May 29th.
AB 323 (OLSEN) – WSTA STRONGLY SUPPORTIVE. AB 323 by the Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen would extend an exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for projects to repair, maintain, and make minor alterations to existing roadways until January 1, 2020. Thus far the bill has been unanimously passed by two policy committees as well as off the Assembly Floor, 79-0.
AB 23 (PATTERSON) – WSTA SUPPORTIVE. AB 23 would exempt distributors of fuels, including gasoline, diesel and natural gas, and any other entities that were not covered on January 1, 2013, from the cap-and-trade regulation adopted by the Air Resources Board (CARB). Unfortunately due to opposition from environmentalists, the bill failed to be passed by the Assembly Natural Resources Committee.
AB 543 (QUIRK) – WSTA SUPPORTIVE. AB 543 would prudently restore the scientific integrity into Proposition 65 (“The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986”) by promoting (but not requiring) the use of a scientific exposure assessment to support a business’ decision to warn or not to warn and ensuring that such an assessment is conducted by or under the supervision of a qualified scientist. Despite opposition from unions and environmentalists, the business community rallied in support of the bill and it advanced out of the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee on April 28th.
AB 742 (GALLAGHER) – WSTA SUPPORTIVE. AB 742 would prohibit CARB from enforcing the Truck and Bus Rule until CARB completes a review of the safety of any particulate-matter filters required to be installed on affected vehicles. Despite this common sense approach to regulation, the bill has never been granted a hearing by the Assembly Transportation Committee.
AB 797 (STEINORTH) – WSTA SUPPORTIVE. AB 797 would require the Office of Administrative Law to submit to the appropriate policy committees of each house of the Legislature for review a copy of each major regulation that it submits to the Secretary of State. Thus far the bill has been unanimously passed by two committees as well as off the Assembly Floor, 77-0.
AB 1075 (ALEJO) – WSTA OPPOSED. This bill would potentially shut down certain hazardous waste facilities by giving the Department of Toxic Substances Control “compelling cause” to suspend, revoke, or deny a hazardous waste permit for minor or paperwork violations no endangerment to the public health, safety, or the environment. Due to support from environmentalists, this bill advanced out of the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee along party lines.
AB 1160 (HARPER) – WSTA SUPPORTIVE. AB 1160 which would have prohibited new red light cameras from being installed, but failed to pass out of the Assembly Transportation Committee, 4-9 (party lines) due to opposition from the law enforcement and local government community. WSTA’s support was prominently featured in the committee’s analysis, which read: “Some, including the California Construction Trucking Association (CCTA), believe that red light cameras have resulted in an increase, rather than a decrease in intersection collisions and claim that the cameras endanger, rather than protect the motoring public. Specifically, they cite studies showing that red light camera installation is associated with a 27 percent increase in rear-end crashes and a 12 percent increase in total intersection crashes, which they believe occurs when drivers slam on their brakes in an effort to avoid a costly citation when confronted with a yellow light.” (The California Construction Trucking Association is now knows as the Western States Trucking Association).
SB 32 (PAVLEY) – WSTA OPPOSED. This CalChamber “Job Killer” bill would adopt further greenhouse gas emission reductions for 2030 and 2050 without regard to the impact on individuals, jobs and the economy, thus further increasing costs for California businesses. Despite opposition from the business community, the bill advanced out of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee along party lines.
SB 185 (DE LEON) – WSTA OPPOSED. SB 185 would prohibit the boards of the Public Employees’ Retirement System and the State Teachers’ Retirement System from making new investments or renewing existing investments of public employee retirement funds in a thermal coal company. Because this bill unfairly targets one type of business in which to divest from state retirement funds, starting down a slippery slope for divestiture from other businesses based on principles unrelated to fiduciary responsibility to the retirees, WSTA opposed SB 185. The bill is currently sitting on the Senate Appropriations Committee’s suspense file.
SB 206 (GAINES) – WSTA SUPPORTIVE. SB 206 would prohibit CARB from obtaining locational data or vehicle speed data from a vehicle information system. SB 206 aligns with WSTA’s goals of protecting the privacy of its members by ensuring that information gathered by the current and future on-board diagnostic systems, such as location and speed of the vehicle, remain private and are not needlessly obtained and retained by CARB. The bill has been successfully passed by two policy committees thus far.
SB 218 (HUFF) – WSTA SUPPORTIVE. SB 218 would prohibit local agencies from using automated traffic enforcement systems at stop signs. The bill was successfully passed by the Senate Transportation & Housing Committee on April 21st.
SB 350 (DE LEON) – WSTA OPPOSED. This CalChamber “Job Killer” potentially increases costs and burdens on all Californians by mandating an arbitrary and unrealistic reduction of petroleum use by 50 percent, increasing the current Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50 percent and increasing energy efficiency in buildings by 50 percent — all by 2030 without regard to the impact on individuals, jobs and the economy. Despite opposition from the business community, the bill has been passed thus far by two policy committees.
SB 576 (LENO) – WSTA OPPOSED. A CalChamber “Job Killer” SB 576 would stifle mobile application technology development by mandating unnecessary, redundant and impractical requirements. The bill has not yet received a policy committee hearing.
SB 632 (CANNELLA) – WSTA OPPOSED. SB 632 would allow school zone speed limits of 15 – 25 mph to be placed in effect 24 hours per day/7 days per week and allow school zones to be expanded to virtually any size/distance. Because there is no safety justification for expanding the scope of school zones in this manner, WSTA opposed SB 632. Furthermore, research suggests that increasing the size of the reduced speed school zone to incorporate a larger area is likely to be ineffective and could reduce safety for school children. The bill has not yet received a policy committee hearing.
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