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May 16, 2018 6:15 PM, EDT

House Panel Advances Meal, Rest Break Provision in Funding Bill

truck driver taking a break Getty Images

Legislation that would aim to ensure nationwide uniformity for meal-and-rest-break laws for truckers easily advanced through a House funding subcommittee May 16.

The fiscal 2019 transportation bill includes a provision designed to prohibit states from enacting meal-and-rest-break laws in an effort to clarify a requirement in a 1994 aviation law.

The provision is similar to one in a recent House-passed aviation reauthorization measure. Both aim to block a 2011 law in California pertaining to meal and rest breaks.

A Senate companion aviation bill, not yet approved, includes the truck-centric meal-and-rest-break provision as well.

“We’re pleased that this critical issue is once again being addressed by Congress and its inclusion in this bill is yet another example of the strong support for addressing the issue in a uniform and national way,” Sean McNally, spokesman for American Trucking Associations, said May 17.

Additionally, the House transportation funding bill would deny funding through fiscal 2019 for the enforcement of an electronic logging device rule on livestock haulers. Industry pushback prompted lawmakers to share their concerns with top Trump administration officials. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will not enforce the ELD rule for agriculture-related transportation through Sept. 30 under a recently signed fiscal 2018 funding law.

At the hearing, Rep. David Price (D-N.C.), ranking member of the Appropriations Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, pledged to try to remove the truck-centric policy provisions when the legislation is considered in full committee.

Mario Diaz-Balart

Diaz-Balart

Overall, the funding measure would include $27.8 billion in discretionary spending for the U.S. Department of Transportation for fiscal 2019, according to the House Appropriations Committee’s summary of the legislation.

Subcommittee Chairman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) said the measure would help rebuild the country’s freight and passenger corridors.

“This bill is an infrastructure bill,” Diaz-Balart said. “I would actually say, this bill is the infrastructure bill.”