SCTA Legislative Accomplishments

Trucking Industry Legislative Activity Since 2000

SCTA maintains full-time, strong presence at the SC State Capitol, advocating for truck fleet owners. SCTA was substantially involved with the following issues, which are all part of the industry's legislative agenda. Much more than listed “Died” due to our opposition. In today's political environment, a good defense is just as valuable as a good offense! Some significant initiatives we supported failed, but we wanted to report on them as well.

  • 2016

    • SCTA helped secure additional recurring DOT road funding and Reform which included redirecting existing revenues to the SCDOT State Highway Fund ($200 million) and provides for bonding capabilities to be used on road and bridge improvements across the state.  Reform components included giving the Governor the authority to appoint SCDOT Commissioners who would then be responsible for hiring the SCDOT Secretary. Also, the SIB must also submit projects to the Commission for approval and the SIB project threshold is lowered to $25M and subject to Act 114 criteria.  PASSED
    • Led a coalition effort to promote the use of natural gas in commercial fleets, securing codification of fuel-tax gasoline/diesel gallon equivalents, as well prevention of double taxation (no sales tax when pay fuel tax); a property tax equalizer; and a weight exemption up to 2,000 lbs. for natural gas commercial vehicles. PASSED
    • Established a CDL Driver Study Committee to assess the role that government fleets can play when it comes to hiring entry-level CDL drivers,  in an effort to promote agency engagement with local Tech Schools and fast-track driving careers, allowing individuals to get the experience needed so that the private sector can then look to that as a pool of potential drivers. PASSED
    • Maintained relaxation of HOS 30-minute rest break enforcement for intra-state carriers, by allowing time spent waiting in line to count. PASSED
    • Secured language to facilitate optional pre-registration for fleets that may need to operate into and through “curfew” areas in times of declared emergencies. PASSED
  • 2015

    • SCTA among lead groups who pressed for increased focus on road needs. Secured a record allocation of $266 million in one-time surplus money to local state-maintained roads and interstate improvements.  Of this money, $216M was dispersed directly to Counties (CTCs) for paving, rehabilitation, resurfacing, and/or reconstruction, and bridge repair, replacement, or reconstruction on state owned roads.   The State Transportation Infrastructure Bank was allocated $50 million in recurring revenues to be utilized solely to leverage bonds (in excess of $500 million) to finance bridge replacement, resurfacing, and rehabilitation projects, and expansion/ improvements to existing mainline interstates. - PASSED
    • Continued education, momentum and Senate sponsors on CDL Employment Protection Act, and Tort Reform. - INTRODUCED
    • Assisted the forestry industry with securing extended time periods during emergency declarations’ increased weight limits. - PASSED
    • Secured relaxation of HOS 30-minute rest break enforcement for intra-state carriers, by allowing time spent waiting in line to count. PASSED
  • 2014

    • Established a consistent definition of a trucking industry “independent contractor” for the purposes of defining employment; specifically unemployment benefits.  The SC Dept. of Employment and Workforce will now use the same standards as the SC Worker’s Compensation Commission to define a trucking industry “independent contractor”   for the purposes of the defining employment, specifically unemployment benefits – PASSED.
    • Supported the texting ban in South Carolina to provide uniformity throughout the state and placed similar restrictions to passenger vehicles as those that are already in place for commercial vehicles – PASSED.
    • Uniform Carrier Code updates will allow for bills of lading for transfers of title to be done electronically – PASSED.
    • Supported the SC adoption of federal endorsements for the commercial driver’s license, which strikes all current endorsements and applies the federal endorsements providing ease of administration  - PASSED
    • Promoted the “CDL Employment Protection Act” through a series of subcommittee hearings in the Senate.  The bill seeks to ensure that direct negligence claims against motor carriers and the evidence related to them are presented and considered during the proper portion of the trial to ensure that there must be competent evidence to prove direct negligence on behalf of the employer so they are not simply faulted for the actions of their employee. The bill never made it to debate in full committee, but will be poised for introduction next year – INTRODUCED, ON 2015 AGENDA
    • Active in the Civil Justice Coalition which led to sponsoring of two bills which were vetted in the subcommittee process this year.  The components of each bill will be re-introduced in 2015 in an effort to pass much needed reforms which would improve SC’s civil justice system: The Liability Reform Act and The Court Transparency Act – INTRODUCED, ON 2015 AGENDA
    • Proposal to equalize the property tax rates, codify fuel taxes and allow weight tolerance for natural gas commercial vehicles – INTRODUCED, ON 2015 AGENDA
    • Proposals to increase and index the motor fuel user-fee –  CARRY OVER, ON 2015 AGENDA
    • Proposal to impose road-use fee-in-lieu-of-property-tax on non-SC-based IRP carriers – CARRY OVER, ON 2015 AGENDA
    • Expressed concerns over legislation that would prohibit drivers from hanging out in the left lane and establish that the left lane can only be used for passing. As it turns out, this issue is already covered by current law, although hard to enforce, two statutes exist for an office to issue a citation for "lagging in the left lane."  - RESOLVED
  • 2013

    • Spearheaded a coalition of business and industry groups which successfully secured an unprecedented $91+ million recurring, and $50 million one-time/surplus funding for highway infrastructure projects from the state’s General Fund. The surplus will be used for bridge rehabilitation/replacement. The recurring $50 million will be used to secure $500 million in bonding for priority interstate and bridge replacement projects, and $41 million in recurring revenues for resurfacing of rural roads. Together, this represents the equivalent of a 3₵ per-gallon permanent increase in the motor fuel user-fee, but without the costs - PASSED
    • Initiated adoption of a budget proviso creating a Joint (Legislative) Transportation Corridor Study Committee for purposes of making recommendations on how to remove commercial bottlenecks, improve safety and efficiency of major interstates. SCTA will serve as Advisory Committee member along with several other industry trade groups, plus collaborate with the DOT, Ports Authority, and Department of Commerce - PASSED
    • Active in the Civil Justice Coalition which led to sponsoring of two bills slated for 2014, which would improve SC’s civil justice system with needed reforms: The Liability Reform Act and The Court Transparency Act – INTRODUCED
    • Language in a Senate highway funding bill would have allowed the DOT to toll existing interstates to add capacity - ELIMINATED
    • A proposal to increase vehicle and drivers’ license fees by approximately 50%, included a truck registration fee increase of 33%, but was reduced to 16% (tag fees have not been increased since 1985) – PENDING
    • Proposal to index the motor fuel user-fee – PENDING
    • Proposal to impose  road-use fee-in-lieu-of-property-tax on non-SC-based IRP carriers – PENDING
  • 2012

    • Part of business coalition to reverse Supreme Court ruling requiring pollution discharge permits even where no programs exist, included measures to hinder frivolous lawsuits – PASSED
    • Raised FMCSR applicability threshold from 10,001 to 26,001 GVW, more comprehensive definitions for GVW, GVWR, GCW, GCWR, defined farm trucks, granted certain marking exemptions, re-codified in two other key places in the law the exclusive enforcement authority of the State Transport Police – PASSED
    • Advocate for full funding of the Charleston Harbor Deepening project, with up to $300 million provided through the state’s General Fund – PASSED
    • Included freight hauling trailers/semi-trailers in vehicle definition for purposes of Demolishers and Recyclers requirements to obtain titles/proof of ownership to reduce vehicle fencing, SCTA included in DMV Stakeholder Working Group - PASSED
    • Part of Civil Justice Coalition advocacy to get two gubernatorial-appointees to the Workers Compensation Commission approved by Senate – CONFIRMED
    • Part of business coalition to reduce fraud and eliminate unemployment benefits to workers fired for misconduct – PASSED
    • Budget proviso which would have created a Joint (Legislative) Transportation Corridor Study Committee for purposes of making recommendations on how to remove commercial bottlenecks, improve safety and efficiency of major interstates (I-26) – DIED in the CONFERENCE COMMITTEE
  • 2011

    • - Played a major leading role in lobbying for successful passage of a Tort Reform Bill establishing first-ever limits on Punitive Damages somewhat comparable to some of SC’s sister states, established a bi-furcated trial phase for punitive damages. Also included were construction-related liability modifications, appeal bond reform, and restrictions on solicitors ability to sue on behalf of the state without the Attorney General’s approval - PASSED
    • Successfully kept increases to the $300 Sales Tax Cap on trucking equipment off any agendas, despite the continued budget crisis, and a study committee which was perceived to have endorsed it – DID NOT PASS
    • Adoption of a Constitutional Amendment, despite any federal law change to the contrary, which protects a workers’ right to oppose unionization without pressure, by keeping the vote a secret ballot – PASSED
    • Reduction of employer’s unemployment insurance premium tax by over $140 million by a General Fund contribution to the Unemployment Compensation Fund - PASSED
  • 2010

    • Establishment of uniform process and timelines for governor’s Emergency Declarations for relief from HOS regulations – PASSED
    • Ban on law enforcement use of cameras-only for enforcement of speed and red-light laws – PASSED
    • Creation of Intermodal & Freight Programs Division within state DOT, Freight Advisory
    • Committee, and addition of the DOT Secretary to the Economic Development Coordinating Council – PASSED
    • House-Passed Tort Reform in the Senate – included caps on Punitive Damages, Seat Belt Non-Use Admissibility, etc. – DIED
    • PPP bill would have strengthened tolling restrictions and use of proceeds, provided transparency private contracts with the state DOT – DIED
  • 2009

    • Restructuring of the SC State Ports Authority (SCSPA), establishing a SCSPA Advisory Board with certain responsibilities, including trucking industry representation from a SCTA designee. Established long range development financial planning requirements and also requires the SCSPA to consider Public-Private- Partnerships for current and future operations. – PASSED
    • Creation of a Joint Tax Realignment Commission composed of individuals from the business community to assess the state’s sales tax exemptions and report their findings to the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and Chairman of Ways and Means Committee at the end of the year. – PASSED
    • Legislation that requires motor vehicle fees to be deposited directly into the State Highway Account of the Transportation Infrastructure Bank instead of the SCDOT. – PASSED
    • Restore Gross Vehicle Weight Limits, making a necessary technical correction to the State’s existing weight law statutes, due to a misinterpretation by the State Court of Appeals. The issue involves an exception sub-section related to dump truck and special purpose vehicles axle and gross weight limits. The bill simply restored the limits to what they have been for decades. There was no weight allowance reduction, or increase. - PASSED
  • 2008

    • DOT and the Governor’s Office pushed increased tolling and promotion of broad use of Public Private Partnerships (PPP) through a closed working group. SCTA opposed the effort and opposed any amendments to current law which would open the state to widespread tolling and PPPs  – DEFEATED
    • SCTA was successful in promoting the creation of a Joint Legislative Study Committee of Public Private Partnerships, which also served to halt all efforts during the 2008 Session - PASSED
    • SC CDL Drug Testing Act provides that all positive drug/alcohol tests be reported to DMV for inclusion on MVR - PASSED
    • SCTA’s Idling Bill provides for industry-supported rules to be locked into statewide, preemptive law, rather than fight individual local governments and “stakeholders.” Low fines are statewide and preemptive. Generous exceptions. STP primary enforcer. 400 lbs. weight exception for APUs  – PASSED
    • Additional 5% gross weight enforcement tolerance for log/sod  vehicles – PASSED
    • Truck tractor saddlemounts get extra 6 “ (14’) height exception, with permit and proof of insurance - PASSED
    • 75th Anniversary Resolution honoring SCTA sponsored and passed by the General Assembly - PASSED
  • 2007

    • Workers' Compensation System - Included in the bill is clear language specifying that trucking owner operators (O-O) are independent contractors (IC) and not employees of motor carriers. Has many key provisions including: strengthening the penalties for fraud, phasing out the Second Injury Fund completely by July 2013 and more accountability throughout the commission - PASSED.
    • Dept. of Transportation Reform provides new structure for the DOT including a Secretary of Transportation, DOT Commissioner elections and appointments. Also establishes a Joint Transportation Review Committee to screen candidates for the Commission.  No funding for restructuring was included in the bill. - PASSED
    • Budget Proviso to provide funding to reopen 7 CMV - only rest areas across the state - PASSED.
    • Exemptions for vehicles over 26,000lbs to display their license tags on the front or rear of their vehicles - PASSED.
    • Ports Authority - develop 1,800 acres in Jasper county to develop new port facilities - PASSED
    • Port Access Road - The State Ports Authority will receive $167,541,103 from contingency reserve fund revenue to complete this project. – PASSED.
    • REAL ID ACT - legislation stating that SC will not participate in the Federal Real ID Act - PASSED.
  • 2006

    • Amendment to Toll I-95 - DEFEATED.
    • Senate Resolution, sponsored by most of Senate's leadership, to oppose DOT's application to toll I-95; sent to FHWA - INTRODUCED.
    • Revised overweight fines schedule and made fairer, prohibiting "stacking" - PASSED.
    • Budget Proviso to create working group to ID critical Rest Areas for re-opening for CMV rest - PASSED.
    • Fine for illegal advertising by Household Goods Movers - PASSED. (Overrode Governor's Veto)
    • Background checks for Port Truckers which would be in addition to TWIC - DEFEATED
    • Bill imposing unreasonable restrictions on who could retain/obtain a CDL, possibly due to offenses committed years before and/or before ever having one-DEFEATED
    • Exemption from certain DOR reporting requirements for wholly Intra-State petroleum transporters - PASSED.
    • Another feasibility study for only one specific In-Land port location - DEFEATED.
  • 2005

    • Repeal of Venue Statute allowing motor carriers to be sued in any county, regardless of where accident occurred — PASSED.
    • Set new 50% threshold for Joint & Several Liability — PASSED.
    • Frivolous lawsuit sanctions — PASSED.
    • General Tort Reforms, including banning misleading lawyer advertising, post-judgment interest rates, offer of judgment — PASSED.
    • “Hold Harmless” clauses in contracts unenforceable when they shift liability to motor carrier for other’s sole negligence — PASSED.
    • Eliminated highway use tax diversions, provide DOT with +$70 million annually — PASSED.
    • Primary enforcement of Seat Belts — PASSED.
    • Codification of federal CDL rules — PASSED.'
    • Tax incentives for increasing volume through ports — PASSED.
    • Small business income tax cut to 5% — PASSED.
    • Small business tax credits for jobs — PASSED.
    • Port Safety Bill, with effort to include truck drivers prior to the federal TWIC program — DID NOT PASS.
    • Fuel tax increase, Local fuel tax, Sales tax on fuel, Tolls on interstates, Axle tax... — DID NOT PASS
    • Abolishment of W-Comp Second Injury Fund — DID NOT PASS.
  • 2004

    • Wrecker Regulations —- SCTA managed to push improvements to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety’s Wrecker Rotation List Regulations — PASSED.
    • Quick Clearance Bill —- This legislation was supported by the SCTA, working with the SCDOT so that accident scenes may be cleared quickly in order to facilitate the free flow of traffic and to minimize risk of other accidents. It provides that only law enforcement officers or authorized employees of the DOT may move disabled vehicles involved in an accident and any debris along with them when an accident involves great bodily injury or death to a person. The bill prescribes duties of drivers involved in accidents. It also specifies that the drivers of vehicles involved in an accident resulting in only damage to a vehicle shall make every reasonable effort  to move the vehicle safely off the roadway so as to not block the flow of traffic  —  PASSED.
    • Fleet Tags — SCTA secured passage of legislation to allow fleet owners of lightweight vehicles to qualify for the convenience of using fleet tags — PASSED.
    • Car Transporter Tag — SCTA secured passage of this legislation allowing automobile transporters who may be moving cars one at a time from railhea­ds to truck terminals prior to delivery to dealerships to use a transporter tag to move the vehicles in lieu of other registration or licensing provisions — PASSED.
  • 2003

    • Bill to create a new Department of Motor Vehicles, expand “one stop shopping” services to at least six branch offices throughout the state, instructing State Transport Police to implement PrePass weigh-station bypass system, create Interagency Advisory Committee with trucking representatives — PASSED.
    • Increase in the $300 sales tax cap to $2500 — DEFEATED.
  • 2002

    • Led passage of substantial reform of the C-fund local road program — PASSED.
    • Resolution endorsing Pre-Pass electronic weigh station by-pass technology instructed the Department of Public Safety to implement as soon as possible — PASSED.
    • No legislation passed, which would have pre-empted or conflicted with federal legislation/regulation dealing with port or transportation security PRISM safety-based truck registration legislation — PASSED.
    • "Legislation authorizing the State Ports Authority to get the permitting process moving forward with the Corp of Engineers to provide for expansion of the state’s port facilities - PASSED
    • Bill to allow for loading devices on the rear of straight trucks similar to the overhang provisions allowed for combination vehicles — PASSED.
    • New oversize/overweight permit fees to be effective July 1, 2002 — PASSED.
    • Legislation mandating security requirements for ports — DEFEATED.
    • Legislation would have allowed local governments by referendum to impose motor fuels taxes on a local level to be used for road and transportation projects DEFEATED.
    • Legislation which would have imposed tolls on I-95 — DEFEATED.
  • 2001

    • Legislation would allow local governments to impose local fuel taxes for road projects — DEFEATED.
    • "Bill to provide that whenever a Governor issues a declaration of e­mergency that certain truck size, weight, and regulatory requirements are automatically relaxed for a period of time — PASSED.
    • Truck Rental Property Tax Pass-Through provides that consumer light -duty truck and trailer rentals include a property tax “pass through” — PASSED.
  • 2000

    • Cleaned up Property Tax Law by eliminating issuance of paid receipts and placed farm tagged vehicles under old county-based system — PASSED.
    • Speed limit differential — DEFEATED.
    • Resolution opposing US DOT Hours of Service Proposal — PASSED.
    • 12.8 million dollars for Highway Fund from State General Funds — PASSED.