Political Voice




For decades, TXTA has been a powerful voice for the trucking industry representing our members and our industry in Austin and in Washington, D.C.

Lobbying successes are seen on a regular basis as TXTA continually keeps your best interest at the forefront and protects your bottom-line.

With the conclusion of the 84th Legislative Session, we are meticulously rebuilding our lobbying efforts to ensure continued productive legislative success.

Texas State Capitol

 
85th Legislative Session
 

Monday, November 20th was the first day to file bills for the 85th Legislative Session which starts in January. So far, nearly 600 bills have been viewed by the TXTA staff, some of which have been placed on our tracking sheet.

Included on the tracking sheet are several bills banning texting while driving, bills seeking to abolish the driver responsibility (surcharge) program, bills implementing "Truckers Against Traffickers", bills abolishing red light cameras and bills to decrease if not eliminate the Margins Tax.

Last session there were about 6,300 bills filed and we are expecting the same this time.

84th Legislative Session
 

Below is a list of some of the recent changes to Texas laws as a result of the 84th legislative session that effect the trucking industry.

 
HB 1252
Requires the Department of Public Safety of the State of Texas (DPS) to establish by rule uniform weighing procedures to ensure an accurate weight is obtained for a motor vehicle by a weight enforcement officer who has reason to believe that the single axle weight, tandem axle weight, or gross weight of a loaded motor vehicle is unlawful. The bill authorizes DPS to revoke or rescind the authority of a weight enforcement officer who fails to comply with those rules or a weight enforcement officer of a municipal police department, sheriff's department, or constable's office that fails to comply with those rules. This legislation goes into effect September 1, 2015.

HB 1888
The penalty for driving a commercial motor vehicle without a commercial driver's license is now $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for the second offense if it’s within one year of the first. It amends the Commercial Driver’s License Act to make the conforming changes necessary to maintain federal compliance. Finally, it authorizes the Department of Motor Vehicles or the county assessor-collector to register a vehicle that is not in compliance with the applicable inspection requirements if the vehicle is located in another state at the time the applicant applies for registration or registration renewal and the applicant certifies that the vehicle is located in another state and the applicant will comply with the applicable inspection requirements and DPS's administrative rules regarding inspection requirements once the vehicle is operated in Texas. This legislation goes into effect January 1, 2016.

HB 32
Reduces the franchise tax by 25 percent. It specifically provides the rate of the franchise tax is 0.75 percent, rather than one percent, of taxable margin. It also provides that a taxable entity whose total revenue from its entire business is not more than $20 million can apply the E-Z tax rate of 0.331 percent, rather than the current 0.575 percent rate. This legislation goes into effect January 1, 2016.

SJR 5

Will deposit to the credit of the state highway fund $2.5 billion of the net revenue derived from the imposition of the state sales and use tax on the sale, storage, use, or other consumption in this state of taxable items under Chapter 151, Tax Code, or its successor, that exceeds the first $28 billion of that revenue coming into the treasury in that state fiscal year.

Thirty-five percent of the net revenue derived from the tax authorized by Chapter 152, Tax Code, or its successor, and imposed on the sale, use, or rental of a motor vehicle that exceeds the first $5 billion of that revenue coming into the treasury in that state fiscal year. The election date is November 3, 2015.


SB 1820
Adds to the definition of "tow truck," to exclude a car hauler that is used solely to transport motor vehicles as cargo in the course of a prearranged shipping transaction. This legislation goes into effect May 23, 2015.

SB 1828
Creates the offense of cargo theft for a person who knowingly or intentionally conducts, promotes, or facilitates an activity in which the person receives, possesses, conceals, stores, barters, sells, abandons, or disposes of stolen cargo or cargo explicitly represented to the person as being stolen cargo. This legislation goes into effect September 1, 2015.

HB 3225
Restricts a commercial motor vehicle to a specific lane of traffic in a construction or maintenance work zone for certain highways under certain conditions if it is determined to be necessary to improve safety. This legislation goes into effect September 1, 2015.

HB 716 & SB 58
Collin and Denton Counties, as well as the cities of Galveston and Gregory were given authority to enforce commercial vehicle safety after receiving DPS training.



83rd Legislative Session
 

The 83rd Legislative Session provided a backdrop for many regulatory and governmental issues that involved the trucking industry. Those issues set the framework for TXTA’s legislative agenda.  

Topics ranged from truck weight penalty increases to mileage based user fees.  
The Texas Margins Tax was finally adjusted to provide relief for the trucking industry.

Below is a list of changes to Texas laws as a result of the recent session.
These changes directly affect the trucking industry and will become effective no later than September 1, 2013.

2013 Legislative Documents

 
82nd Legislative Session
 

Below is a list of changes to Texas laws as a result of the 82nd session.
These changes directly affect the trucking industry and will become effective no later than September 1, 2012.

SB 493
Will allow “certified clean idle engines” to idle without restrictions in the State. The bill also allows up to a 400 pound weight exemption for trucks with an operational idle reduction system. Effective immediately.

HB 441
Eliminates the higher token trailer fee and rolls it into the 2060 permit base fee. Effective September 1, 2011.

HB1523
Increases penalties of non-registered Household Goods carriers that engaging in or solicits household goods moves for compensation. Effective September 1, 2011.

SB 1420
(TxDOT Sunset Bill) contains language to move the administrative functions of the issuance of oversize/overweight permitting away from TxDOT and to the Department of Motor Vehicles. It also moved the TxDOT size and weight enforcement functions to DMV as well. Effective September 1, 2011.

HB 2694
(TCEQ Sunset Bill) contains an affirmative defense to the imposition of an administrative penalty under certain circumstances such as registration information for the underground storage tank obtained from the commission's Internet website not more than 30 days before the date of delivery. Effective September 1, 2011.

SB 20
Encourages companies with on-road heavy-duty vehicles to either replace the vehicles with natural gas vehicles or repower the vehicles with natural gas engines by creating a natural gas vehicle grant program administered by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The bill also provides grants for the construction of natural gas fueling facilities. Effective September 1, 2011.

SB 385
Allows for monies in the Texas emissions reduction plan fund to be used for infrastructure under an existing alternative fuel program. Effective September 1, 2011.

HB 1330
Requires flaps on the rear tires if the vehicle has super single tires. Effective September 1, 2011.

 
81st Legislative Session
 

The 81st Legislative Session provided a backdrop for many regulatory and governmental issues that involved the trucking industry. Those issues set the framework for TXTA’s legislative agenda.

Topics ranged from the fuel tax increases to fuel tax rebates and clean air. The Texas Margins Tax was then and still remains a great concern for the association as trucking is a highly capital-intensive industry now hindered by the unintended consequences of the reformed business tax. The industry is not afforded the relief available to many business sectors.

Below is a list of changes to Texas laws as a result of the resent session. These changes directly affect the trucking industry and will become effective September 1, 2009.

Cell Phone Use
Drivers may not use a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle within a school zone unless the vehicle is stopped or the wireless communication device is used with a hands-free device.

Idling in Sleeper Berth
A driver will no longer have an exemption to idle while getting mandated rest.

Post Office Box Not Valid as Address
An applicant for a commercial driver’s license may receive delivery of their license at a post office box only if the applicant has provided the DPS with documentation necessary to verify the validity of the physical address where the applicant resides.

State and Employer Notification of Motor Vehicle Traffic Violation
A driver of a commercial driver’s license must notify the State and their employer within seven days of a conviction of any motor vehicle traffic law or ordinance violation.

Life Time CDL Ban
A person is disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for life if the person uses a motor vehicle in an offense that involves the transportation, concealment or harboring of an alien.

Washington, D.C.


Annually, the association calls on members of Congress to address the Texas trucking industry’s concerns. TXTA’s 2009 “Call on Washington” proved to be a noteworthy success. Below is a list of national issues and resolutions to those issues that TXTA members brought before our elected officials in Washington, D.C.:

The Rising Cost of Diesel Fuel
+ Release oil from the strategic petroleum reserve to increase oil in the market and drive down costs

+ Suspend filling the strategic petroleum reserve to prevent stockpiling oil during record level prices

+ Invest in new refining capacity and expanding domestic crude oil exploration

+ Call for a national diesel fuel standard to simplify the distribution of diesel fuel

Hours of Service Rules
+ Support the final adoption of the 2005 Hours of Service rule and the interim final rule as a responsible and balanced approach, promoting driver alertness and overall highway safety

Financial Incentives for Idling Reduction Equipment
+ Support legislation that provides a tax credit for 25% of the cost of a qualifying idling reduction device up to $1,000

Veterans’ Act
+ Pass the Veterans Employment and Training Act to allow accelerated benefit payments for truck driver training schools

National Clearinghouse for Positive Drug and Alcohol Results
+ Authorize and fund the development and deployment of a national centralized clearinghouse, like Texas has, with appropriate privacy safeguards for drivers, and strict access controls for authorized users

+ Include positive alcohol test results in the clearinghouse since both drug and alcohol testing are required in DOT’s regulatory program

TruckPAC

 

TruckPAC is the political action committee of the Texas Trucking Association. With the support of TXTA members, the association is able to maintain a powerful voice in the Texas Legislature.

Our legislative team diligently keeps the trucking industry’s best interest at the forefront. That is why it is imperative that TXTA has the resources it needs to support candidates that, in turn, understand and support the association.

The TruckPAC Committee is a vital network of TXTA supporters who donate their time and dollars to support the association so it can succeed at every level of government. The donations are used to support our advocacy efforts through TruckPAC and the Legislative Victory Fund. Your commitment to TXTA is essential to our success.

Gold Membership: $5,000
Description
+ Annual contribution* of at least $1,000 to TruckPAC and commit to raise $4,000 for TruckPAC or the Legislative Victory Fund from other TXTA supporters 

+ Participate in guiding and developing the strategic direction of the TruckPAC Committee 

+ Engage local elected officials and regulatory agency leaders to support TXTA and to address industry issues 

+ Participate in PAC Committee meetings and/or conference calls 

Benefits
+ Participate in strategic PAC planning discussions 

+ Special article in the Steering Wheel magazine 

+ Receive a discounted or complimentary rate to attend PAC events open to all TXTA members 

+ Invitation to attend exclusive industry events throughout the year 

+ Recognition in TruckAdvisor, the Steering Wheel magazine, and on the TXTA Web site 

+ Recognition at Annual Conference

Silver Membership: $2,000
Description
+ Annual contribution* of at least $1,000 to Truck PAC and $1,000 to Legislative Victory Fund 

+ Engage local elected officials and regulatory agency leaders to support TXTA and to address industry issues 

+ Participate in PAC Committee meetings and/or conference calls 

Benefits
+ Receive a discounted rate to attend PAC events open to all TXTA members 

+ Invitation to attend exclusive industry events throughout the year 

+ Recognition in TruckAdvisor, the Steering Wheel magazine, and on the TXTA Web site 

+ Recognition at Annual Conference

Bronze Membership: $1,000
Description
+ Annual contribution* of at least $500 to TruckPAC and $500 to Legislative Victory Fund 

+ Engage local elected officials and regulatory agency leaders to support TXTA and to address industry issues 

+ Participate in PAC Committee meetings and/or conference calls 

Benefits
+ Invitation to attend exclusive industry events throughout the year 

+ Recognition in TruckAdvisor, the Steering Wheel magazine, and on the TXTA Web site 

+ Recognition at Annual Conference

*Fiscal year for annual contribution is October 1 – September 30. By state law, contributions to TruckPAC cannot be made from corporate funds. All corporate payments will be applied to the Legislative Victory Fund. TXTA is required by law to obtain employer and occupation information for all PAC contributions.

Legislative Victory Fund
Historically, the Legislative Victory Fund has provided critical funding in support of our advocacy efforts, including successful campaigns to pass meaningful lawsuit reform and key legislative activities that are held every session such as Trucking and Moving Day at the Capitol, and our Call on Washington. Because the Legislative Victory Fund is not used to directly support candidates, corporate funds are allowed. In comparison, TruckPAC is the vehicle we use to make contributions to candidates, which by state law, only allows us to accept personal contributions to this fund. 

In order to accomplish our legislative agenda, it is imperative that BOTH funds are supported by TXTA membership. 

We hope you will take a moment to review the online donation form and do your part to strengthen both TruckPAC and the Legislative Victory Fund.


How Can You Support TXTA?
Sponsorships of golf tournaments, underwriting of regional dinners and other such donations all go towards either the PAC or the LVF, dependent upon the source of contribution (personal or corporate).

Fair Share If the Chairman’s Circle is a bigger investment than you are currently able to make to TXTA, please consider supporting the TruckPAC efforts through the “Fair Share” program. Fair Share simply encourages members to donate their fair share of $100 to TruckPAC. Imagine how strong our voice can be if all members donated.


For more information about TruckPAC or the Legislative Victory Fund, please contact TXTA
at (800) 727-7135 ext 107.