HOUSE PASSES DOT BILL WITH FULL AGRICULTURAL EXEMPTION
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- The House of Representatives Thursday approved a full exemption for agriculture from intrastate Department of Transportation (DOT) registration by a vote of 101-2.
HB 432, sponsored by Rep. Richard Lindsey, D-Centre, would exempt all commercial vehicles up to 26,001 pounds from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations and all agricultural vehicles, regardless of weight.
Alabama Farmers Federation Executive Director Mike Kilgore credited strong grassroots support for the overwhelmingly positive vote.
"For almost a year, our members have voiced their concerns over the implementation of these regulations to the governor and their legislators. They made this issue a priority for the legislative session," Kilgore said. "Their phone calls, letters, emails and visits with legislators helped build a groundswell of support in the House."
Kilgore also praised the strong support from a coalition of agricultural groups including the Alabama Cattlemen's Association, Alabama Poultry and Egg Association and Alabama Forestry Association, as well as the commissioner of agriculture.
"This was a total team effort, which resulted in one of the strongest votes in this legislative session," Kilgore said.
The bill passed this week is consistent with exemptions allowed in the federal regulations and would ensure farmers are not subjected to the same restrictions as interstate commercial carriers.
Kilgore emphasized that the exemptions would not relax safety regulations or road weight limits.
"Our members and organization are committed to keeping our roads safe. Under this legislation, safety regulations would still be enforced, but farmers would be exempt from costly and time-consuming paperwork," he said.
The companion bill, SB 258, is sponsored by Sen. Parker Griffith, D-Huntsville. It has passed the Senate Commerce, Transportation and Utilities Committee and is on the Senate calendar. Nineteen senators are listed as co-sponsors of the bill.