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Enter drawing for iPad Air by renewing SC&RA membership by December 1

Members that pay their SC&RA dues for 2015 by December 1, 2014 will automatically be entered in a drawing for a new 16g Apple iPad Air, valued at $500. All membership renewal payments are eligible, including those made online, by check, or credit card. For more information or a copy of your renewal invoice please contact Jason Bell, Membership Manager, at (703) 207-3589 or jbell@scranet.org.

SC&RA praises recent WASHTO meeting

Among the more than 60 attendees at the Western Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (WASHTO) meeting of its Committee on Highway Transport, Sept. 8-10, in Boise, Idaho were 28 state officials. These officials represented 12 states: Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, New Mexico, Washington, Oklahoma, Montana, Texas, North Dakota, California, Nevada, Oregon.

SC&RA Vice President Steven Todd noted that he was particularly pleased to see representation from California and New Mexico.

IRS keeps per diem for truckers at $59

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced that the per diem allowance for meals and incidentals for truck drivers and other transportation workers away from home on travel for work will remain at $59 for next year. That amount has been the same now for a number of years.

OSHA launches dialogue on hazardous chemical exposures

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)  announced on Oct. 9 that it is launching a national dialogue with stakeholders on ways to prevent work-related illness caused by exposure to hazardous substances. The first stage of this dialogue is a request for information on the management of hazardous chemical exposures in the workplace and strategies for updating permissible exposure limits (PELs).

NC sets rules for taxation of motor vehicle extended warranties

North Carolina legislation that went into effect on Oct. 1 clarifies details about the taxation of extended warranties on motor vehicles and similar service contracts sold at retail.  “Among other things, it makes it plain that sales tax does not apply to a part used in a repair covered under a taxable warranty if the vehicle owner is not charged for the part,” noted the Oct. 3 issue of the State Laws Newsletter.

Kiplinger predicts accelerated business spending

Business spending should grow about 7 percent in 2015, following projected growth in the neighborhood of 4.5 percent to 5 percent this year and a disappointing 1.5 percent in 2013, according to the Oct. 3 issue of The Kiplinger Letter. Driving next year’s growth should be a revived manufacturing sector that benefits from cheap, plentiful natural gas and ample consumer spending, especially on new cars. The expansion should be sufficient to spur investment in new plants and equipment.

Truck conditions stabilizing at high level

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) increased to a reading of 9.10 for August, continuing an upward trend that reflects an uneasily tight capacity situation. As market tightness continues, rate and service spreads are increasing between “good” and “bad” freight. Carriers are experiencing demand levels for their services that allow them to choose what freight to haul while maintaining dependable workloads and increasing margins. FTR said the TCI should remain at very positive levels for the foreseeable future with a strengthening economy suggesting upside potential for freig

SC&RA online member survey closes on Oct. 10

Loyalty Research Center, Indianapolis, Ind., is conducting an anonymous, short survey of SC&RA members. The Association will use the findings over the next three years to help provide even better events and education, information, training resources and overall membership value. Members will receive a final notification to finish a questionnaire that should require no longer than seven minutes.

FMCSA nears publication of proposed rule on carrier liability insurance

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sent a rule proposal to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget on Oct. 1 that would increase the amount of liability insurance carriers must have. This marks the final stop before the publication in the Federal Register of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which FMCSA projects will occur on Oct. 12. Since April, FMCSA has been on record as saying the current $750,000 minimum, in place since 2005, is too low and would be at least $1.6 million if it had merely kept pace with inflation. 

Minimum wage to increase to $10.10 for federal contract workers

On Oct. 1, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez announced a final rule that raises the minimum wage for workers on federal service and construction contracts to $10.10 per hour. The final rule implements Executive Order 13658, which was announced by the president on Feb.