Initial Victory on Ohio SB 170

On May 2, 2018, Governor Kasich signed SB 170, which seeks to streamline the CDL conversion process for military veterans with experience operating heavy-duty machinery. SB 170 requires the Director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety to seek approval from the United States Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to implement a temporary pilot program, which would waive the skills test for a CDL to those military personnel who, for at last two years during their time of service with the military, operated a vehicle equivalent to a commercial vehicle they would operate as a civilian.

OTA lobbyist, staff, legislative committee members, board members, and other volunteers all worked tirelessly to get this legislation to the Governors desk and are thrilled about the development of the bill. Ed Nagle (Nagle Toledo) traveled to Columbus, Ohio a number of times to testify in IP meetings and Committee hearings. Team 88, the Ohio Trucking Association’s micro-advocacy effort, which is compromised of volunteers from all 88 counties in Ohio: made phone calls, mailed letters, and sent multiple emails to champion this legislation. “It does not end here though,” according to OTA President & CEO, Thomas A. Balzer, “OTA will have a seat at the table as the Ohio state registrar crafts a letter to the FMCSA to laugh this pilot program.”

SB 170 is part of a larger legislative package designed to address the workforce shortage in the trucking industry. HB 154 (Reps. Smith and Manning), which establishes the Commercial Truck Driver Student Aid Program consisting of a grant and loan combination for student attending CDL school, was reported by the the House Education Committee and no awaits action by the House Finance Committee. HB 155 (Reps. Sprague and Howse), which creates tax credits of up to $25,000 a year for employers who pay for CDL training, received criticism from groups who oppose any changes to the Commercial Activity (CAT). Ohio Trucking Association lobbyist have engaged in meetings with those stakeholders and an amendment has been drafted to resolve their concerns. Lastly, HB 284 (Rep. Niraj Antani) creates a study committee intended to bring advocates to the table to examine ways of insuring young drivers. Unfortunately, the bill received pushback from the insurance industry, who fear that the study committee will call for mandates on the industry. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Antani has brought all stakeholders to the table and OTA’s lobbying team continue to work with them on ways to address the insurance problem without passing additional regulatory/ mandate focused legislation.

OTA is always eager and happy to engage in industry specific issues like these for our membership. The Legislative Committee, Team 88, and our Call on Washington efforts are open for all OTA members to become involved with. If interested, please give the Ohio Trucking Association office a call at 614-221-5375.


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