The U.S. Senate has approved a two-year, $109 billion transportation bill that included an amendment that could ease regulation for Oklahoma farmers and ranchers.
Some lawmakers and farming industry leaders are pushing for exemptions from certain federal trucking regulations.
Basically: Farmers aren’t truckers, they say.
The Senate’s bill was sent to the House, which is working on its own five-year, $260 billion transportation bill. The House is expected to adopt the Senate version.
Agriculture amendments play a small but important role in both bills.
As we reported last week, the federal government heavily regulates the commercial trucking industry. Not surprisingly, commercial motor carriers and truckers aren’t huge fans of these relatively new regulations, which, among other things, restrict the amount of time drivers spend behind the wheel.
The farm industry has an exemption on driver service hours during the spring planting and fall harvesting season, and wants to make sure that exemption is extended.
And the Senate bill includes an amendment that exempts farm drivers operating within a 150-mile radius from federal commercial driver’s licensing, certain commercial vehicle inspections and transportation safety requirements.
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe praised the amendment, which is similar to the version introduced by U.S. Rep. James Lankford.