Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota two-person crews’

Time for action in Minnesota! Let senators know about two-person crews

The Minnesota House of Representatives has passed H.F. 286, Minimum Train Crew Requirement, a stand-alone version of two-person crew legislation.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Frank Hornstein, passed Wednesday, May 15, by a 78-52 vote along party lines with the DFL majority and several Republicans voting for the bill or abstaining. H.F. 286 now moves to the Minnesota Senate where state Sen. Scott Dibble is the chief author.

However, the route to passage into law is currently in the hands of H.F. 1555, the Transportation Omnibus bill, as Section 97.

“This legislative pathway remains our only viable way to passage into law this year,” said SMART TD Minnesota State Legislative Director Phillip Qualy. “We need the vocal support of members and retirees alike in the state in order to pass in the state Senate.”

Qualy encourages members, retirees and their friends and family to call or email the Republican state senators on the H.F. 1555 Conference Committee and ask them to pass Section 97, Minimum Train Crew Requirement this year. They can call and spell out the important public safety aspects and assistance to first responders that two-person crews provide in the case of a railroad emergency as well as general operations such as train securement, uncoupling road crossings, and local safety hazards in their area, Qualy said.

A list of key senators to be contacted appears below.

Minnesota residents largely understand that legislation requiring two people on a freight crew is key to safe railroad operations, according to Qualy and the Minnesota State Legislative Board, but the message might not be as clear for the legislators.

“We need all railroad workers standing together in support of this legislation,” he said. “We need all of our members and retirees to make your calls and emails today.”

The Minnesota Legislative Board’s submission to the Federal Railroad Administration on why train automation is a bad idea also spells out arguments about why two-person crews are important.

Members of the Minnesota State Senate who should be contacted include:

Time for Minnesota members to take action after 2PC passes state House

SMART Transportation Division Minnesota State Legislative Director Phillip Qualy reports that two-person crew legislation has passed in his state’s House of Representatives as part of H.F. 1555, an omnibus transportation bill, and that a push by members and retirees alike will be needed to get it through the state Senate to the governor.

The bill passed Monday, April 29, by a 74-52 party-line vote and now moves on to the Minnesota Senate’s Transportation Conference Committee. Section 93 of the bill contains a provision setting a minimum crew size for freight trains operating in the state. H.F. 1555 also contains other important rail safety provisions, including Section 90, which set forth the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s enforcement of state safety regulations and maintenance of way track equipment crossing protections.

“The outcome of that conference committee will most likely determine whether minimum train crew language is passed into law,” Qualy said.

Qualy said that the effort of every SMART TD member and retiree in Minnesota is necessary to pass this important legislation to keep the state’s communities safe. Members, retirees and their friends and family are encouraged to call or email their state senators to talk about the important public safety aspects and assistance to first responders that two-person crews provide on the state’s rails in the case of a railroad emergency. A list of key senators to be contacted appears below.

“We need all railroad workers standing together in support of this legislation,” he said. “We need our members at the capitol. Please make your calls and emails today.”

Members of the Minnesota State Senate who should be contacted include:

The original H.F. 286, a standalone bill that sets a minimum crew size, remains on the House floor.