Date: 03/31/2009

BILL SUMMARY for HB09-1244


Votes: View--> Action Taken:
Moved that House Bill 09-1244 be referred to the CPASS

02:47 PM -- House Bill 09-1244

Senator Kopp, prime sponsor, presented House Bill 09-1244, concerning the exemption of property carriers by motor vehicle from regulation by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). He said that he is unsure of the safety benefit to be derived from having this regulatory function performed by the PUC. He commented on the role of the PUC, and on requirements for the PUC to ensure that motor carriers are properly insured.

The following persons testified in regard to House Bill 09-1244:

02:52 PM -- Doug Dean, Director, Colorado Public Utilities Commission, opposed House Bill 09-1244. He said that the PUC runs a database program relating to motor carrier insurance, and that the program is "not simply a checkoff." He commented on the enforcement responsibilities of the PUC. He said that House Bill 09-1244 is not a simple technical bill, and will eliminate the PUC database. He noted that 797 motor carriers registrations were revoked by the PUC last year due to a failure to carry insurance. He said that if House Bill 09-1244 is enacted there will be no way to verify that motor carriers are insured. He suggested that it is the proper role of state government to ensure that these vehicles are insured due to the potential damage that can result from accidents in which they are involved. He said that all of Colorado's neighboring states ensure the such vehicles are insured, and that fees will have to be increased across the industry if the bill is enacted. He said that it is the proper role of the states to regulate insurance and safety in the motor carrier industry. He said that companies that fail to carry insurance are subject to an $11,000 fine by the PUC.

03:18 PM --
Greg Fulton, representing the Colorado Motor Carriers Association, supported House Bill 09-1244, and commented on fees assessed on the trucking industry and on state regulation of the industry. He said that approximately 92,000 trucks are on the roads in Colorado at present, and that only a fraction, (7,600) are regulated by the PUC. He commented on safety procedures to which trucking companies are subject and said that he has not heard of concerns relating to the safety of trucking companies. He said that the PUC insurance verification program is unnecessary and that there is not a sufficient nexus between the services provided in the program and the fee levels assessed. He said that this regulation is no longer needed, and is "a vestige of the past."

03:38 PM --
R.J. Hicks, representing the Colorado Motor Carriers Association, supported House Bill 09-1244, and commented on the history of regulation of the trucking industry by the Ports of Entry Section in the Department of Regulatory Agencies.

03:48 PM -- Laura Gavito, representing Gavito Trucking, supported House Bill 09-1244, and said that trucking companies cannot realistically operate in the state without insurance coverage. She said that PUC fees were raised recently on Colorado motor carriers without notice. She commented on the difficulty and expense of keeping "PUC window stickers" in trucks when vehicles are sold or windows are broken. She said that House Bill 09-1244 does not address safety and that loads will not be put on a truck by a customer unless the customer sees proof of insurance. She said that there is no road-side enforcement by the PUC and that she has never heard of the PUC forcing a carrier to cease operations.

03:56 PM -- Galen Schaller, representing Concrete Express, supported House Bill 09-1244, and said that he runs an interstate carrier company. He said that PUC insurance regulation is not needed, and that elimination of this function will save costs.

03:58 PM -- Bobby Juchen, representing the Colorado State Patrol, and said that the State Patrol is neutral on the bill. He noted that the State Patrol does not proactively check the insurance status of motor carriers. However, he noted that there are other opportunities for state agencies to check the insurance coverage of the vehicles.

04:04 PM -- Grier Bailey, representing the Colorado Wyoming Petroleum Marketers Association, supported House Bill 09-1244, and commented on trucking insurance requirements and on the regulation of hazardous materials carriers.

04:07 PM -- Terry Willert, representing the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, commented on statutes regulating hazardous materials transportation.

04:09 PM --
Mr. Dean, returned to the table and commented on fees assessed by the PUC.
TIME: 04:12:31 PM
MOTION:Moved that House Bill 09-1244 be referred to the Committee on Appropriations. The motion passed on a 7-0-0 roll call vote.

04:13 PM

The committee meeting adjourned.