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FAA law extension to push off trucking preemption fight

The fate of controversial legislation to bar state and local goverments from regulating commercial drivers' meal and rest breaks or from regulating driver pay methods could be decided this summer. The provision is included in legislation (H.R. 4441) to reauthorize programs of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and to privatize the air traffic control system. But with the current authorization ending March 31, Congress has enacted a short-term extension until July 15.

Section 611 of H.R. 4441 is the same language that was sponsored by Rep. Jeff Denham (R-California) and passed the House as part last year as part of the highway bill. The final version of the FAST Act, however, did not include the measure.

In addition to prohibiting state regulation of meal and rest breaks, Section 611 would block regulation of driver pay as long as the pay is at least what the driver would have made if paid minimum wage for hours worked.

The American Trucking Associations is strongly supporting the provision, arguing that actions by states and courts are threatening the uniform system of motor carrier rules adopted in the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994, also known as F4A.

The Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association opposes the provision, saying that it could undermine states' actions to ensure fair pay for drivers and could allow large carriers to reduce driver wages. OOIDA also believes Section 611 would undermine states' ability to regulate important items like payment for detention time.

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