Posts Tagged ‘Ohio two-person crew bill’

More testimony needed in a fifth hearing on Ohio rail safety bill H.B. 186

State Legislative Director Stu Gardner reports that an additional round of testimony has been scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019, in House Hearing Room 114 in the Ohio Statehouse, 1 Capitol Square in Columbus, regarding H.B. 186, a comprehensive railroad safety bill under consideration in the state’s House of Representatives.

Only proponents of the bill who have not given testimony previously are eligible to state their case for this important legislation that will protect lives and preserve the safety of railroad operations in Ohio.

“Testimony is to be given by those persons (or groups) that have not testified on H.B. 186 previously,” Gardner said. “I am requesting that if you have not given testimony previously, or wish to add new testimony that you have not given before on H.B. 186, now is the time to do so.”

Gardner, rail safety legal expert Larry Mann, members of the Ohio State Legislative Board, SMART-TD members and representatives from the BLET have provided testimony in favor of this legislation, which covers the following safety issues:

  • Two-person freight train crews
  • Proper walkways in railroad yard safety legislation
  • Railroad yard lighting safety legislation
  • Blocked crossings

In an email to members, Gardner indicated that the rail carriers requested a fifth hearing (Ohio bills typically receive three committee hearings before being voted upon for advancement to the full state House) due to Mann’s strong proponent testimony delivered Nov. 19.

However, more TD members and others concerned about railroad safety need to step up and be heard, and this fifth hearing could be the last chance to convince representatives that H.B. 186 deserves passage.

“It is up to all of our advocates of the Ohio State Legislative Board and the SMART Transportation Division to step up and let these committee members hear the truth one more time,” Gardner said. “Please come and fill the hearing room, give testimony and show these representatives what we are made of.”

The bill is sponsored by Ohio Reps. Mike Sheehy, a retired rail worker and member of the SMART TD Alumni Association, and Brent Hillyer.

Proponent testimony must be provided to Matthew Taylor in Committee Chairman Doug Green’s office (Matthew.Taylor@ohiohouse.gov.) with the deadline for electronic submission of both written and in-person testimony and a witness slip being 3 p.m. Dec. 9, the Monday before the hearing. On the day of the hearing, witnesses have the option of presenting their testimony in person before the committee if they have submitted the testimony and required witness slip by the deadline.

Instructions for those wishing to testify before the committee:

Prior to committee:

  • The House Transportation and Public Safety Committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday mornings at 11 a.m. in House Hearing Room 114 in the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus.
  • Testimony is to be electronically submitted to the chairman’s office by 3 p.m. Monday afternoon.
  • A witness slip (fillable PDF) is to be completed prior to the committee meeting and should also be submitted electronically to the chairman’s office.
  • Testimony and the witness slip can be submitted at the same time and there is no need to send multiple emails.
  • Materials may be submitted to Matthew Taylor in Green’s Office at (Matthew.Taylor@ohiohouse.gov.)

Day of committee:

  • Folks may arrive any time before the committee hearing begins.
  • There is no need to check in with staff so long as testimony was submitted properly.
  • Attendees may take a seat in the audience.
  • As committee begins, the chairman will announce the hearing of bills. As testimony begins on H.B. 186, the chairman will call each individual up by the name submitted on the witness slip.
  • After testimony has been given, the individual may remain in the committee room for the duration of the hearing.

Instructions for those wishing to submit written-only testimony:

  • Written-only testimony is for those who may not be able to attend the committee hearing to testify in person, or for those who may want to attend committee but do not wish to verbally testify.

Written-only testimony:

  • Testimony is to be electronically submitted to the Chairman’s Office by 3 p.m. Monday afternoon, the day before the scheduled hearing.
  • The witness slip is to be completed prior to the committee hearing and should also be submitted electronically to the Chairman’s Office.
  • Testimony and the witness slip can be submitted at the same time, and there is no need to send multiple emails.
  • Materials may be submitted to Matthew Taylor in Chairman Doug Green’s Office at (Matthew.Taylor@ohiohouse.gov.)

Additional proponent hearing added as Ohio rail safety bill is considered

Rail safety legal expert Larry Mann is scheduled to provide additional proponent testimony regarding H.B. 186 before the Ohio House Transportation and Public Safety on Tuesday, Nov. 19.

The hearing is scheduled 11 a.m. Nov. 19 in the Ohio Statehouse Room 114 in Columbus.

Following testimony provided by the bill’s opponents on Oct. 22 in which they argued that it was futile for the state to consider passage of H.B. 186 because of pending legal challenges to legislation in Illinois and Nevada, the Ohio State Legislative Board coordinated a campaign to convince bill co-sponsors Reps. Brett Hillyer and Mike Sheehy, as well as committee Chairman Doug Green and House Speaker Larry Householder, to grant an additional hearing.

“We believed that an additional hearing for expert proponent testimony was needed in order to set the record straight,” Ohio State Legislative Director Stu Gardner said. “This additional testimony is solely at the discretion of the Transportation Committee Chairman Doug Green to allow (the bill) to go forward or not.”

Mann has served as the SMART TD Designated Legal Counsel’s rail safety coordinator since the position was created in 2008 and has extensive legal experience in the transportation industry, including being the principal draftsman of the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 1970.

“Larry is the foremost rail safety expert in the United States,” Gardner said. “He has dealt with the issue of preemption raised by the railroads for many years. He will counter the statements raised by the railroads in their recent opponent testimony concerning legislation covering two-person crews, blocked crossing, walkways and yard illumination.”

Gardner requests that SMART TD members and railroad workers fill the committee’s room in Columbus for a third time at 11 a.m. Nov. 19.

“Once again, (let’s) show our solidarity on HB 186, and our concerns over our safety, and the safety of the communities that our trains pass through and where the yards that we work in are located. Demonstrate our resolve to those Transportation & Safety Committee members that will ultimately decide to pass this legislation out of committee, and forward to the House,” he said.

Ohio SLD: Opponents to rail safety bill to appear in Columbus on Oct. 22; support needed

State Legislative Director Stu Gardner said that a hearing for opponents of H.B. 186 to appear before the Ohio House Transportation and Public Safety Committee has been scheduled.

Opponents are scheduled to give testimony at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22 in Ohio Statehouse Room 114 in Columbus.

The opponent hearing before the committee was delayed at carriers’ request so that the carriers could bring in representatives from Washington, D.C., to testify and try to stop the bill’s passage, Gardner reports.

“We need a group of our supporters to attend this hearing in order to show the committee members we believe in all phases of HB 186,” Gardner said. “Let’s fill that hearing room with our activism and presence.”

H.B. 186 covers the following safety issues:

  • Two-person freight train crews
  • Proper walkways in railroad yard safety legislation
  • Railroad yard lighting safety legislation
  • Blocked crossings

Members representing SMART Transportation Division as well as representatives from the BLET provided more than two hours of proponent testimony last month to show state House Transportation and Public Safety committee members why the railroad safety legislation is deserving of their support.

Gardner suggests that Ohio members either call the offices or set up in-person meetings with members of the committee who are listed below.

Chairman:
Doug Green HD 66 (Mount Orab)
Phone: (614) 644-6034
Home Address: 708 S. High St., Mt. Orab, OH 45154

Vice Chairman:
Riordan T. McClain HD 87 (Upper Sandusky)
Phone: (614) 644-6265
Home Address: 469 N. 5th St., Upper Sandusky, OH 43351

Ranking Member:
Michael Sheehy HD 46 (Oregon)
Phone: (614) 466-1418
Home Address: 1129 Schmidlin Rd., Oregon, OH 43616

Juanita Brent HD 12 (Cleveland)
Phone: (614) 466-1408
Home Address: 16804 Glendale Ave., Cleveland, OH 44128

James M. Hoops HD 81 (Napoleon)
Phone: (614) 466-3760
Home Address: 195 Old Creek Dr., Napoleon, OH 43545

Stephanie Howse HD 11 (Cleveland)
Phone: (614) 466-1414
Home Address: 1220 Spring Rd., Cleveland, OH 44109

Don Jones HD 95 (Freeport)
Phone: (614) 644-8728
Home Address: 34755 Jones Rd., Freeport, OH 43973

Jeff LaRe HD 77 (Violet Twp.)
Phone: (614) 466-8100

Michele Lepore-Hagan HD 58 (Youngstown)
Phone: (614) 466-9435
Home Address: 562 Madera Ave., Youngstown, OH 44504

Susan Manchester HD 84 (Lakeview)
Phone: (614) 466-6344
(419) 303-2670
Home Address: 29249 St. Rt. 385, Lakeview, OH 43331

Gayle Manning HD 55 (North Ridgeville)
Phone: (614) 644-5076
Home Address: 9436 Foxboro Dr., North Ridgeville, OH 44039

Jessica Miranda, HD 28 (Forest Park)
Phone: (614) 466-8120
(513) 266-3937
Home Address: 11511 Oxfordshire Ln., Cincinnati, OH 45240

Michael J. O’Brien HD 64 (Warren)
Phone: (614) 466-5358
(330) 727-1097
Home Address: 1849 Edgewood St. NE, Warren, OH 44483

Thomas Patton HD 7 (Strongsville)
Phone: (614) 466-4895
Home Address: 17157 Rabbit Run Dr., Strongsville, OH 44136

Reggie Stoltzfus HD 50 (Minerva)
Phone: (614) 466-9078
(330) 936-6001
Home Address: 13789 Telpahak St SE, Minerva, OH 44657

The bill is sponsored by Ohio Reps. Mike Sheehy, a retired rail worker and member of the SMART TD Alumni Association, and Brent Hillyer.

 


See these related stories from SMART TD:

 

Ohio SLD, members testify before state House for rail safety legislation

COLUMBUS – Proponents of H.B. 186, a comprehensive railroad safety bill being considered in the Ohio Legislature, stated their case in force Sept. 10 during a meeting of the state House’s Transportation and Public Safety Committee.

Representatives from SMART Transportation Division, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and others testified before committee members for more than two hours about why legislators should back the bill.

“I cannot discuss our effort to secure H.B. 186 — the two-person crew, proper lighting, proper walkways within rail yards and blocked crossing legislation in Ohio without addressing safety,” Ohio State Legislative Director Stu Gardner told the committee. “The safety of my members and the people who live in the communities that our rail yards are located in and through which our trains travel and operate will always be my top priority.”

Gardner and nine others discussed the safety implications of the bill and the fact that technology would never substitute for the presence of two people in the cabs of freight trains, especially as the rail industry continues to embark on a strategy of lengthening trains while deferring on reinvestment for the sake of increasing the returns of Wall Street investors.

H.B. 186, sponsored by Ohio Reps. Mike Sheehy, a retired rail worker and member of the SMART TD Alumni Association, and Brent Hillyer covers the following safety issues:

  • Two-person freight train crews
  • Proper walkways in railroad yards
  • Railroad yard lighting safety
  • Blocked crossings

Terry Forson, whose experience with a runaway train in Ohio helped to inspire the movie “Unstoppable,” testifies on Sept. 10, 2019, before the Ohio House Committee on Transportation and Public Safety.

Terry Forson of Local 1397 in Columbus, whose experience with the infamous 2001 “Crazy 88s” runaway incident in Ohio helped to inspire the 2010 Hollywood film “Unstoppable,” testified that having two people in the cab avoided a catastrophe on May 15, 2001.

“If there had not been two crewmembers on my train that day, we would not have been able to stop the runaway train; and, given the fact that we were also hauling hazardous materials, who knows how many deaths would have resulted from the train’s ultimate derailment?” he said. “The nightmare scenario has happened.”

Ohio Alternate State Legislative Director Clyde Whitaker of Local 145 in Columbus went into more detail about a conductor’s role, especially when describing the tasks performed during a rail emergency, as well as the hazards posed by inadequate lighting and perilous walkways in the state’s rail yards.

“We’re not asking for a golf course,” he said. “Railroads have always been an out-of-sight-out-of-mind type of industry. You never know that we’re there until we make the six o’clock news.

“This is a common-sense piece of legislation — it would ensure the safety of communities and co-workers.”

And while the adoption of technology, especially Positive Train Control (PTC), has the potential to help the industry, it just has not functioned as advertised.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, another Local 1397 member who also is an Operation Lifesaver volunteer, said he has witnessed problems with PTC not engaging until thousands of feet after a signal has been passed.

“There’s a lot to be desired with Positive Train Control,” he said.

He testified as well about seeing a train blocking a crossing for more than 12 hours while he was driving past.

“We need to address these things,” he said. “We need to understand that these situations can be life or death for some people.”

Also appearing at the hearing were Jair Torres of Local 138 (Lima, Ohio); William Darling of Local 1376 in Columbus; Bob Hagan, a former Ohio senator and representative who now works for the BLET in its Washington legislative department; Timothy Price, the BLET’s Ohio state legislative director; and adjunct professor of management and leadership John Nadalin, who teaches at Franklin University in Columbus, was a rail worker for four decades, a former UTU director of strategic planning and a current Alumni Association member.

“Rail carriers are kind of vain to take responsibility of their own mismanagement,” Nadalin, a stockholder in CSX, said. “As an investor and a proponent for safe operations as previously discussed, I really don’t like what I see today: Making changes that put employees and the public in general at risk should never be allowed.”

H.B. 186 will receive a third hearing to feature testimony from opponents of the bill before the legislation is considered by the committee for advancement to the full Ohio House of Representatives.

To watch the entire hearing, visit this link to The Ohio Channel.

Ohio rail safety bill scheduled for hearing; testimony needed

State Legislative Director Stu Gardner reports that proponent testimony has been scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019,  in House Hearing Room 114 in the Ohio Statehouse, 1 Capitol Square in Columbus, regarding H.B. 186, a comprehensive railroad safety bill under consideration in the state’s House of Representatives.

“This is the SMART TD and BLET members, friends and concerned citizens’ opportunity to let the House Transportation and Safety committee know and understand the reasons why HB 186 – a comprehensive railroad safety bill — is important to us and the communities that our trains pass through, and where those railroad yards are located throughout the state of Ohio,” Gardner said.

H.B. 186 covers the following safety issues:

  • Two-person freight train crews
  • Proper walkways in railroad yard safety legislation
  • Railroad yard lighting safety legislation
  • Blocked crossings

The bill is sponsored by Ohio Reps. Mike Sheehy, a retired rail worker and member of the SMART TD Alumni Association, and Brent Hillyer.

Proponent testimony must be provided to Matthew Taylor in Committee Chairman Doug Green’s office (Matthew.Taylor@ohiohouse.gov.)  with the deadline for electronic submission of both written and in-person testimony and witness slip being 3 p.m. Sept. 9, the Monday before the hearing. On the day of the hearing, witnesses have the option of presenting their testimony in person before the committee if they have submitted the testimony and required witness slip by the deadline.

Gardner said that he plans to be at the Statehouse at 9 a.m. the day of the hearing.

“My hope is we have a large turnout (even if you are not giving testimony) to demonstrate our solidarity on these important rail safety issues,” he said.

If the volume of testimony warrants, Gardner said that subsequent committee hearings could be scheduled for the legislation so that all witnesses are heard.

“Please advocate and give testimony in support of H.B. 186,” Gardner said. “Thank you for your support.”

Instructions for those wishing to testify before the committee:

Prior to committee:

  • The House Transportation and Public Safety Committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday mornings at 11 a.m. in House Hearing Room 114 in the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus.
    • The committee notice typically goes out on Friday afternoon. The notice will confirm that H.B. 186 is up for a hearing and when and where the committee will convene.
    • The Ohio SLB will work with the chairman’s office and our policy team to get as much of an advanced notice as possible
  • Testimony is to be electronically submitted to the chairman’s office by 3 p.m. Monday afternoon.
  • A witness slip (fillable PDF) is to be completed prior to the committee meeting and should also be submitted electronically to the chairman’s office.
  • Testimony and the witness slip can be submitted at the same time and there is no need to send multiple emails.
  • Materials may be submitted to Matthew Taylor in Chairman Doug Green’s Office at (Matthew.Taylor@ohiohouse.gov.)

Day of committee:

  • When the committee notice is distributed, SLD Gardner will make sure to relay the information and will draw attention to any changes that have been made to the committee’s location and start time.
  • Folks may arrive any time before the committee hearing begins.
  • There is no need to check in with staff so long as testimony was submitted properly.
  • Attendees may take a seat in the audience.
  • As committee begins, the chairman will announce the hearing of bills. As testimony begins on H.B. 186, the chairman will call each individual up by the name submitted on the witness slip.
  • After testimony has been given, the individual may remain in the committee room for the duration of the hearing.

Instructions for those wishing to submit written-only testimony:

  • Written-only testimony is for those who may not be able to attend the committee hearing to testify in person, or for those who may want to attend committee but do not wish to verbally testify.

Written-only testimony:

  • Testimony is to be electronically submitted to the Chairman’s Office by 3 p.m. Monday afternoon, the day before the scheduled hearing.
  • The witness slip is to be completed prior to the committee hearing and should also be submitted electronically to the Chairman’s Office.
  • Testimony and the witness slip can be submitted at the same time, and there is no need to send multiple emails.
  • Materials may be submitted to Matthew Taylor in Chairman Doug Green’s Office at (Matthew.Taylor@ohiohouse.gov.)

Call to Action: Ohio House committee to hold first hearing on rail safety bill

Ohio State Legislative Director Stu Gardner requests that members from his state show their support for H.B. 186, a comprehensive rail safety bill that is receiving its first hearing in the Ohio Legislature on Tuesday, June 18.

Ohio Reps. Brent Hillyer and Michael Sheehy, who is a retired SMART TD member and a member of the TD Alumni Association, will introduce the bill at 11 a.m. to the House Transportation Committee in Room 114 at the statehouse in Columbus.

The bill covers:

  1. Two-person freight train crews
  2. Common-sense safe walkways within rail yards
  3. Common-sense illumination of rail yards
  4. Blocked crossings that obstruct and delays emergency vehicles

“An overwhelming show of support is our goal,” Gardner said. “Show those members of the Transportation Committee that we care and are serious about our safety, and the safety of the communities the we work in and pass through.”

UPDATED: Two-person crew legislation referred to Ohio House committee

Yesterday (April 10), H.B. 186 was referred to the House Transportation and Public Safety Committee. State Rep. Michael Sheehy, who introduced the bill, sits on the committee as the ranking member. Three other co-sponsors of the bill are also on the committee.

SMART Transportation Division Ohio State Legislative Director Stu Gardner is urging all Ohio members and their families to contact members of the committee to voice your support and ask them to support the bill. Gardner has set up a link on the Ohio Legislative Action Center for members to contact their representatives. Just click the ‘Take Action’ button and it will walk you through sending your message.

Members are also urged to call the members of the Transportation and Public Safety Committee, which are listed below.

  • Chairman – Doug Green (R – Dist. 66) – 614-644-6034
  • Vice Chair – Riordan McClain (R – Dist. 87) – 614-644-6265
  • Ranking Minority Member – Michael Sheehy (D – Dist. 46) – 614-466-1418
  • Steven Arndt (R – Dist. 89) –  614-644-6011
  • Juanita Brent (D – Dist. 12) – 614-466-1408
  • James Hoops (R – Dist. 81) – 614-466-3760
  • Stephanie Howse (D – Dist. 11) – 614-466-1414
  • Michele Lapore-Hagan (D – Dist. 58) – 614-466-9435
  • Don Jones (R – Dist. 95) – 614-644-8728
  • Susan Manchester (R – Dist. 84) – 614-466-6344
  • Gayle Manning (R – Dist. 55) – 614-644-5076
  • Jessica Miranda (D – Dist. 28) – 614-466-8120
  • Michael O’Brien (D – Dist. 64) – 614-466-5358
  • Tom Patton (R – Dist. 07) – 614-644-4895
  • Reggie Stoltzfus (R – Dist. 50) – 614-466-9078

Click here for the Ohio Legislative Action Center.

 


 

Original Story (04/08/19):

SMART Transportation Division Ohio State Legislative Director Stu Gardner reports that a two-person crew bill has been introduced in the state’s House of Representatives. H.B. 186 was introduced April 4 by state Reps. Michael Sheehy (D – Dist. 46) and Brett Hillyer (R – Dist. 98). The bipartisan bill has 22 co-sponsors.

The bill includes wording that legislates two-person crews, blocked crossings, proper lighting in rail yards and proper walkways.

“The hard work is just beginning,” Gardner said in a call to action to Ohio members, families and retirees. “In the days and weeks to come, we will need the help and support of our members, retirees, spouses, friends and relatives, and you — our grassroots advocates.”

Gardner urges members, retired members and their families to do all they can to step forward and show support by attending meetings when H.B. 186 comes up for discussion.

“We will need proponents that would be willing to testify before the committee to demonstrate their knowledge and passion for these issues,” Gardner said.

There’s already one proponent in the statehouse who is more than familiar with the need for this legislation. Sheehy, is a SMART TD Alumni Association member who retired in 2012 and served as secretary and treasurer of Local 1816 (Toledo, Ohio).

As the bill has just been introduced, it has not yet been referred to committee, but Gardner will post further calls to action on the Ohio State Legislative Board’s website.

Ohio residents can visit this link to show their support for the legislation.

Click here to read H.B. 186.