As discussed here, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ("FMCSA") has set up its own rules for rest breaks for safety purposes that pre-empt those of the states. That became very clear when the FMCSA issued its determination that federal regulations pre-empted California's meal and rest break rules. However, as the challenges to the FMCSA pre-emption determinatin winds its way through the courts, the House of Representatives wants to step in to handle the situation.
"On June 4, the House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year 2020 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies bill (commonly called T-HUD). The legislation funds the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other related agencies."
The funding bill takes aim at several areas, including posting analyses of violations publicly on its website. However, the provision with the perhaps the most potential to impact the industry, particularly in California, is a provision denying funding for review of state meal and rest break laws.
With the House seemingly disapproving of the FMCSA decision pre-empting California's rules, the House is potentially creating another line of attack against the decision, along with those looking to challenge the rule in court. However, the House bill is still far from becoming law, as it has yet to make its way to the full house, much less the Senate, and then a signature from the President. Despite this, it is another important area to watch as the bill progresses with the current Congress, or if it may have a different fate should next year's election alter the political makeup in Washington.
With the rules governing the transportation industry constantly in flux and facing potential areas of change in all directions, it's clear that experienced transportation and employment lawyers are vital in understanding how to proceed in both avoiding lawsuits and in dealing with them should they come.