This month, legislative activity picked up significantly at the Capitol, with the General Assembly eyeing a mid-April adjournment. We remained busy at the Cordell Hull Building tracking and crafting legislation on behalf of the TTA. In particular, Rep. Dan Howell and Sen. Becky Massey, the Chairs of the House and Senate Transportation Committees, will sponsor legislation to eliminate an outdated law relative to the drop dead distance from the king pin to the rear of trailers in Tennessee. We have been actively working with the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the Tennessee Department of Safety on the measure, with both agencies poised to support the legislation. Chairman Howell intends to run the legislation next week.
Similarly, we are working with the Department of Revenue on potential legislation to clarify the application of the Tennessee business tax to intrastate revenue generated by common and private carriers. Next week, we will meet with Department of Revenue Commissioner David Gerregano to determine whether we will need to run legislation on the matter, but we have a caption/placeholder bill reserved for such a purpose, if necessary. We will keep you updated on both legislative matters.
Finally, please note that the bill to reverse the hands-free driving law implemented last year failed this week in the Senate Transportation Committee. Sponsor Sen. Jon Lundberg unsuccessfully argued that the new law should be repealed because it actually makes the roads more hazardous with people hiding their phones. While the bill (SB1751) still included provisions against texting while driving and use of phones in an active school and work zones, many committee members claimed to not understand the bill’s purpose. The Department of Safety spoke against the bill, saying distracted driving fatalities are down because of the new law. Ultimately, the measure is dead for the year, a successful outcome for the TTA.
Please pay particular attention to the bill tracking report, especially with an eye toward those bills that are moving. With all signs pointing toward a mid-April adjournment, a majority of the non-finance committee legislative activity will take place in the next 3-4 weeks. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.