Hoeven Secures Commitment from Secretary Chao to Work with Him on ELD, HOS Reform Legislation

Senator’s Bipartisan Bill Delays ELD Rule, Addresses Concerns of Transportation & Agriculture Industries

WASHINGTON – At a hearing of the Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Committee this week, Senator John Hoeven secured a commitment from Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to work with him on his Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act, bipartisan legislation he reintroduced last month with Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) to reform the Hours of Service (HOS) and Electronic Logging Device (ELD) regulations. The bill would also delay enforcement of the ELD rule until the required reforms are formally proposed by the Transportation Secretary. 

The bill follows Hoeven’s successful efforts to secure delays of the ELD rule in Fiscal Years (FY) 2019 and 2018. Further, Hoeven worked to provide flexibility under the HOS regulations, including the 150 air-mile agriculture exemption and the reforms proposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for all commercial drivers.

“Transporting livestock is not like transporting other goods, and the added challenges that come with it require flexibility,” said Hoeven. “That’s why we’ve worked to provide exemptions for agriculture, while also delaying enforcement of the ELD rule and advancing reforms to make sure it and the HOS regulations work in the real world. Secretary Chao has been an important partner in a wide variety of our efforts. We appreciate her attention to these issues, as well as her commitment to work with us on our bipartisan bill to address the one-size-fits-all mandates under the HOS and ELD rules.”

Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act

The Hoeven-Bennet bill would establish a working group at the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop guidelines on reforming the ELD and HOS rules and advance the safe, humane and market-efficient transportation of agricultural commodities, including livestock. The group would be comprised of representatives from the transportation and agriculture industries, transportation safety representatives and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

Within 120 days of receiving the working group’s report, the Transportation Secretary must propose regulatory changes to the HOS and ELD regulations, taking into account the findings and recommendations of the working group.

In addition to Hoeven and Bennet, the legislation is cosponsored by Senators Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Michael Rounds (R-S.D.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), James Risch (R-Idaho), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.).

The Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act is supported by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA), Livestock Marketing Association (LMA), American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), the American Honey Producers Association (AHPA), the Rocky Mountain Farmer’s Union (RMFU), the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) and the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI). A summary of the Hoeven-Bennet legislation can be found here, and industry statements of support can be found here. The full text of the bill is available here.