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Washington Trucking Associations petitions FMCSA to preempt state meal, rest break law

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In its petition, the Washington Trucking Associations alleges that similar to California’s requirements, the Washington MRB rules are “regulations on commercial motor vehicle safety within the meaning of federal law and that they are additional to of more stringent than FMCSA rules. (FOTOSEARCH)

WASHINGTON — The controversy between the trucking industry and individual states over state meal and rest break laws is moving up the West Coast to the state of Washington.

In less than a year since the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration granted petitions filed by the American Trucking Associations and the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association and determined that California’s meal and rest break rules as applied to property-carrying CMV drivers subject to FMCSA’s Hours of Service regulations are preempted under federal regulations, the Washington Trucking Associations (WTA) has filed a similar petition.

The WTA is requesting a determination from the federal agency that Washington state’s Meal and Rest Break Rules (MRB rules) as applied to drivers of commercial motor vehicles subject to FMCSA’s HOS regulations are preempted by federal law.

Several other states have mandated meal and rest break laws, and since the petition FMCSA granted last year applied only to California, any other state trucking associations wishing to have their state laws preempted have to file their own petitions.

The WTA’s petition says that Washington state law requires employers to provide employees with a meal period of at least 30 minutes for every five-hour work period and a 10-minute break for every four-hour work period.

“While employees may not waive their right to a rest period at all, employees may waive their right to a meal break,” the petition said.

However, the WTA contends that “a missed [meal] break creates the presumption of a violation,

with the burden on the employer to prove waiver as an affirmative defense.”

In its petition, the WTA explained that “Washington’s rules contemplate a paid, on-duty 30-minute meal break when the employee is required by the employer to remain on duty on the premises.”

However, “even if the 30-minute break is paid pursuant to that provision,” the WTA argues that employers remain obligated to “make every effort to provide employees with an uninterrupted meal period” and to “continue the meal period until the employee has received 30 minutes total of mealtime.”

In its petition, the WTA alleges that, similar to California’s requirements, the Washington MRB rules are “regulations on commercial motor vehicle safety within the meaning of federal law and that they are additional to of more stringent than FMCSA rules.”

In addition, the WTA petition says that the Washington MRB rules have no safety benefit beyond those provided by FMCSA’s rules, are incompatible with the federal HOS regulations, and impose an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce.

“Given the similarity between Washington and California meal, and rest break rules, the agency’s analysis of California’s rules in its recent preemption order applies equally to Washington,” the petition concludes.

The FMCSA is requesting comments on the WTA petition.

To submit a comment online, go to www.regulations.gov and put the docket number FMCSA-2019-0128 in the “Keyword” box, and click “Search.”’ When the new screen appears, click on the “Comment Now!”’ button and type the comment into the text box in the following screen. Choose whether you are submitting your comment as an individual or on behalf of a third party and then submit.

Comments must be received on or before November 8.

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The Nation

Love’s, its customers raise more than $3.75 million for children’s hospitals

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Love’s showed additional support for CMN Hospitals on National Coffee Day, which took place September 29-30 during the store campaign. To honor the day, all hot beverages were discounted to $1, with sales going to CMN Hospitals. (Courtesy: LOVE'S)

OKLAHOMA CITY — Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores and its customers raised more than $3.75 million for sick and injured children through its five-week store campaign to raise funds for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. In the 20th year of the campaign, the company surpassed its goal of $3.6 million and set a company record for the most money raised during a campaign.

“We are so thankful to our employees and customers who not only donate at our stores, but who also go out of their way to raise money for sick and injured children in creative ways,” said Jenny Love Meyer, vice president of communications for Love’s. “Each year, we enjoy seeing communities come together for this effort and we couldn’t be prouder to have raised over $3.75 million for this year’s campaign.”

From August 26-September 30, customers could purchase Miracle Balloons, round up to the nearest dollar at registers or pumps or participate in events like 5k runs or fishing tournaments to donate money to CMN Hospitals.

Love’s showed additional support for CMN Hospitals on National Coffee Day, which took place September 29-30 during the store campaign. To honor the day, all hot beverages were discounted to $1, with sales going to CMN Hospitals.

“We are excited about the results of this year’s Love’s fundraising campaign,” said John Lauck, president and CEO of CMN Hospitals. “Not only did 2019 mark a 20-year milestone of partnership between Love’s and CMN Hospitals but more exciting, Love’s also crossed $31 million in donations to help sick and injured children treated in our hospitals across the U.S.”

Of the 170 CMN Hospitals throughout North America, 107 benefit from Love’s annual campaign.

 

 

 

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The Nation

Average price of gallon of diesel increase half a cent

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The price for the week ending October 14 was 34.3 cents lower than the comparable week in 2018. (The Trucker file photo)

WASHINGTON — The average price of a gallon of on-highway diesel increase four tenths of one cent to $3.051 for the week ending October 14, according to the Energy Information Administration of the Department of Energy.

Normally posted on Monday of each week, the average price chart was released Tuesday because the federal government was closed Monday for the Columbus Day holiday.

All but two regions of the country posted increases led by a 1.9 cent increase in the Rocky Mountain states (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado).

The New England states (Maine, Vermont, Hew Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts) was the only region showing a decline at five tenths of one cent.

The price for the week ending October 14 was 34.3 cents lower than the comparable week in 2018.

 

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DeFazio asks IG to investigate reports of Chao’s conflicts of interest

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In requesting an investigation of Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Rep. Peter DeFazio cites newly-obtained information from a recent media report that suggested Chao used her office to give preferential treatment to organizations and projects in Kentucky where her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is currently seeking re-election. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is requesting an investigation into Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and her reported conflicts of interest.

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., made the request in a letter to Department of Transportation Inspector General Calvin L. Scovel III.

The letter, sent October 11, cites newly-obtained information from a recent media report that suggested Chao used her office to give preferential treatment to organizations and projects in Kentucky where her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is currently seeking re-election.

Politico reported that 25% of Secretary Chao’s meetings with local officials between January 2017 and March 2018 were with individuals from Kentucky.

DeFazio said the report noted that requests for meetings with Chao are typically forwarded from McConnell’s office to Chao’s chief of staff, who previously worked on McConnell’s Senate campaign, DeFazio wrote.

The Office of the Secretary of Transportation took exception to DeFazio efforts.

DeFazio said the Politico report followed an earlier report that Chao had asked her chief of staff to serve as an intermediary between her office and McConnell’s office, and that he had helped advise the senator and local Kentucky officials on federal grants of particular significance to McConnell.

“These allegations were first raised by left wing advocacy groups and hashed out in the media, and the department has previously fully responded to them. They are politically motivated and intended to waste time. While the Department will always be cooperative and responsive to appropriate requests, DOT looks forward to a prompt and final resolution of these questions,” a DOT spokesman told The Trucker Tuesday.

“Allegations included the steering of discretionary grants to fund these projects,” DeFazio wrote.  “I would expect Secretary Chao to meet with individuals from her home state more regularly than other states, but the sheer volume of meetings with local officials from Kentucky when compared to meetings with local officials from the rest of the country creates an appearance of favoritism that is troubling.  Even more troubling is the fact that McConnell’s campaign touted the Politico article on social media saying, ‘Mitch McConnell is a Kentucky Asset.’”

DeFazio said news reports have also raised questions about Chao’s adherence to her federal ethics agreement in which she agreed to divest certain assets to prevent her personal finances from creating conflicts of interest.

In particular, it has been reported that the secretary retained stock in Vulcan Materials, a stone and asphalt producer, as opposed to accepting a cash payment for her stock options in the company, as provided for in her ethics agreement.

 

 

 

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