Meal and Rest Break Pre-emption Provision Likely in Fiscal 2017 Funding Bill, Sources Say

Legislation that would avert a federal government shutdown is likely to include a meal and rest break pre-emption provision that is largely supported by the trucking industry, senior Republican aides told Transport Topics this week.

“[Republican leaders] requested it,” said a congressional aide with familiarity of the matter. “It’ll probably be in there.”

Neither the funding nor authorizing transportation committees in the House have indicated if the trucking provision would be attached to a fiscal 2017 funding bill. Either a short-term continuing resolution or longer-term omnibus measure would need to be signed into law to avoid a government shutdown.

Federal funding authority expires April 28, a day before President Donald Trump’s 100th day in office.

Trucking executives led by American Trucking Associations have expressed optimism that a funding bill would include the pre-emption provision.

“Without uniform federal laws and regulations governing motor carriers, multiple layers of rules threaten to impair and impede the movement of freight throughout the country, creating a substantially burdensome and redundant system of rules for operation,” ATA said in a statement issued to its membership earlier this year.

A pre-emption provision would clarify a requirement in a 1994 aviation law to block a California law signed in 2011. The California law requires employers to provide a “duty-free” 30-minute meal break for employees who work more than five hours a day as well as a second “duty-free” 30-minute meal break for people who work more than 10 hours a day.