Pennsylvania State Legislative Director Paul Pokrowka reports that the Pennsylvania House Transportation Committee will be conducting a public hearing on House Bill 1797 – the state’s two-person crew bill – Feb. 4, at the SEPTA Headquarters, 1234 Market Street (Mezzanine Level), Philadelphia, PA. The hearing will start at 1:00 p.m.
Pokrowka was instrumental in getting this bill to fruition, having brought the two-person crew issue to the Pa. House of Representatives’ attention almost a year ago. Transportation Committee Chairman John Taylor (R – District 177), has asked Pokrowka to act as a presenter at the hearing.
H.B. 1797 reads as follows:
“(a) No train or light engine used in connection with the movement of freight may be operated unless it has a crew consisting of at least two individuals.
“(b) Any person who willfully violates this section shall be guilty of a summary offense and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay the following:
not less than $250 nor more than $1,000 for a first offense;
not less than $1,000 nor more than $5,000 for a second offense committed within three years; and
not less than $5,000 nor more than $10,000 for a third offense and subsequent offenses committed within three years of the first offense.
“(c) The provisions of subsection (a) do not apply to hostler service or utility employees.”
Pokrowka encourages all Pennsylvania members to attend this important public hearing in support of H.B. 1797.
Transportation Division Pennsylvania State Legislative Director Paul Pokrowka asks that all members from the state call their Republican house representatives and ask them to support the state’s two-person crew bill.
Representative Jim Marshall (R-Dist. 14) is the prime sponsor of the bill. Marshall serves on the Pa. House Transportation Committee and is chairman of its Subcommittee on Transportation Safety. The language of the bill is out as a memo right now to gain co-sponsors and will be introduced as a bill soon.
The language of the bill currently reads, “No train or light engine used in connection with the movement of freight may be operated unless it has a crew consisting of at least two (2) individuals. Any person who willfully violates this section may be guilty of a summary offense and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay not less than $250 nor more than $1,000 for a first offence; not less than $1,000 nor more than $5,000 for a second offense committed within 3 years; and not less than $5,000 nor more than $10,000 for a third offense and subsequent offenses committed within 3 years of the first offense.”
Pokrowka reports that the language of the bill cannot require a certified conductor and a certified engineer due to a case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit that held that a state could not require certified engineers or conductors and such state law must be limited to requiring two persons (BNSF v. Doyle, 186 F. 3d 790 (7th Cir. 1999)).
“The bill has a much better chance of passing if the bill is supported by Republicans from the Republican-controlled House,” said Pokrowka. “I feel strongly that we will get this bill out of committee.
“Members should call my office if they need help on what they should say or if they need help finding their legislators.”
Pokrowka’s office number is (717) 234-2475. Click here to find your legislators’ contact information.
Transportation Division Pennsylvania State Legislative Director Paul Pokrowka had a meeting with Pennsylvania House of Representatives Transportation Committee Chairperson John Taylor (R-Dist. 177) Feb. 25 seeking his support of a two-person rail crew law in the state. Taylor pledged his support and said he would draft the two-person crew bill.
Pokrowka asks that SMART members in the state contact Taylor to thank him for his support and ask him to keep his promise to draft the bill. “Because Rep. Taylor is the chairperson of the Transportation Committee, any member in the state can contact him,” Pokrowka said. “You do not need to be a resident of his district.”
Members can reach Rep. Taylor by calling him at (717) 787-3179 or writing him at 214 Ryan Office Building, P.O. Box 202177, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2177. Members can also contact Rep. Taylor by visiting his website at www.reptaylor.com/Contact.aspx.
Pennsylvania State Legislative Director Paul Pokrowka is asking all SMART Transportation Division members from Pennsylvania to take action and contact the office of Gov. Tom Corbett, requesting he sign House Bill 2354 into law.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced the first ever regulation of carbon dioxide emissions for existing stationary sources (power plants). Under the preliminary EPA rule, Pennsylvania is given an emissions target to meet by 2030 and will be able to write its own implementation plan on how best to meet those reductions.
The legislation, which already has approval from both chambers of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, would require the state’s Department of Environmental Protection to receive approval from the General Assembly prior to submitting the plan to the EPA.
“This bill is important to our members because it helps to give us a voice in regulations concerning the coal industry,” Pokrowka said. “We need Corbett to sign this bill into law by Oct. 26 or the bill is dead in the water.”
Rep. Pam Snyder (D), who authored the bill said, “Pennsylvania deserves the opportunity to forge its energy future and protect electric ratepayers and jobs. The state legislature will be the final arbiter of how the commonwealth approaches greenhouse gas regulation. It is what we were elected to do, and leaving Pennsylvania’s energy destiny in the hands of unelected, unaccountable federal regulators would be irresponsible.”