More Hours of Service Fixes for Livestock Haulers Offered by Congress

The Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act has been introduced in the House of Representatives and is yet another legislative proposal that offers fixes for livestock haulers regarding hours of service rules. ( Wyatt Bechtel )

Another bill has been proposed in Congress that seeks to address concerns for livestock haulers regarding hours of service regulations, adding to a growing list of legislative fixes.

The Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act was put forward in the U.S. House of Representatives on May 2 by Representatives Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Greg Pence (R-IN). The legislation was Pence’s first bill that he has introduced since being elected into office in November and in a tweet the freshman congressman says the bill “reduces the regulatory burden and provides flexibility for truckers, farmers, and producers–America's backbone.”

A similar version of the bill was reintroduced in the Senate during March by Senators John Hoeven (R-ND) and Michael Bennet (D-CO). There are currently 14 cosponsors of the Senate bill, while the House bill has just two cosponsors listed currently. The original Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act was introduced in the Senate on June 12, 2018, but never made it out of committee and there was no House version of the bill.

The text for the House and Senate bill appear to have the same language with the goal of establishing “a working group to study regulatory and legislative improvements for the livestock, insect, and agricultural commodities transport industries, and for other purposes.”

The Senate version of the Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act is supported by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA), Livestock Marketing Association, National Pork Producers Council, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Honey Producers Association and Rocky Mountain Farmer’s Union.

Both NCBA and USCA released statements applauding Peterson – who is also the Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee – and Pence for moving ahead with the hours of service reform.

“We applaud Congress for working every angle to come up with solutions that would allow for the safe and efficient movement of cattle throughout the country. New regulations, imposed in 2017, do not work for the livestock transportation industry. We’ve been working strategically with Members of Congress and the Administration to find regulations that enhance highway safety, while also allowing transporters to deliver their live cargo as humanely as possible,” says USCA Transportation Committee Chairman Steve Hilker.

“Cattle producers are glad to see another bipartisan effort designed to provide much-needed relief for livestock haulers. This legislation demonstrates that U.S. Representatives Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Greg Pence (R-IN) are serious about addressing the implementation of electronic logging devices and the overly-restrictive hours of service rules that livestock haulers face today. We thank them and all the original co-sponsors for their support. NCBA will continue to work with members of Congress, industry groups, and the Department of Transportation on long-term solutions to our current transportation concerns,” says Jennifer Houston, president of NCBA.

Other ELD and Hours of Service Fixes

This bill is just the latest in a series of legislative proposals that have been made during the past few years. Just last week the Senate reintroduced a bill that would also reform hours of service regulations for livestock haulers called the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act.

Here is a list of articles referring to other ELD and hours of service solutions: