|Posted:||December 7, 2020 04:55 PM|
|From:||Senator Judy Ward and Sen. Gene Yaw|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Milk Hauling during Travel Restrictions|
|We plan to reintroduce Senate Bill 588 of last session, legislation amending the Vehicle Code to ensure that milk haulers can travel on highways during a declaration of disaster emergency.
The travel restrictions implemented during the Winter of 2019 for commercial vehicles in the interest of public safety were certainly helpful in preventing accidents, but they did not acknowledge the very unique nature of milk production and hauling. We have heard concerns from milk haulers in our district about the travel restrictions. The trucks hauling the milk have a limited window (24 hours maximum) to deliver their product to its destination before it perishes. If dairy farmers are unable to have their commodity picked up and delivered in a timely manner, they will have to discard it, causing further difficulties for our dairy farmers who are already struggling to make ends meet. To make matters even worse, the fines ($300 plus fees) assessed on these commercial vehicles represents another blow to the dairy industry.
During the 2019-20 session, Senate Bill 588 was approved by the Senate and a similar measure, House Bill 915, was approved but vetoed by Governor Wolf. While we can appreciate the governor’s concern for public safety in extreme conditions, milk haulers are some of the most experienced drivers on the road and are accustomed to driving in inclement weather. We should be able to trust professional haulers to evaluate the conditions and transport this perishable product when possible.
The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is supportive of this measure.
Please join us in co-sponsoring this legislation given the importance of the dairy industry to Pennsylvania.