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Preparations Begin for SC&RA Crane & Rigging Workshop

On May 29, SC&RA will begin accepting registrations and online hotel reservations will be made available for the 2013 Crane & Rigging Workshop, September 18-20, at the Hilton at Lake Buena Vista, Orlando, Fla. Also on May 29, organizations that exhibited at the 2012 Crane & Rigging Workshop will receive correspondence via email on the availability of booths for the 2013 Workshop. Exhibit space will be made available to the public on June 10. Look for further details about the Workshop in future issues of this newsletter.

Webinar Examines How to Manage Risks through Drug Testing Compliance

An SC&RA webinar on June 20 at noon EST will examine how compliance with workplace drug testing creates financial opportunities. Over the past 36-plus years, workplace drug testing has evolved into a patchwork of more than 600 state laws and regulations and more than 10,000 court cases. Employers who fail to comply with these state rules may subject themselves to judgments totaling nearly $1 million and personal judgments for supervisors involved. However, in nearly half the states financial opportunities exist, provided drug test programs are in compliance with state rules.

Court Rules OSHA Crane Standard Does Not Preempt New York City Regs

On May 7, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld a lower court ruling that found the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) crane standard and the OSH Act do not preempt New York City's ordinances that regulate the operation of cranes. The ruling sided against an appeal by the Steel Institute of New York (SINY), a trade group representing construction contractors.

Construction Employment Drops in 32 States and D.C. between March and April

Construction employment declined in 32 states and the District of Columbia in April even as 29 states added jobs between April 2012 and April 2013, according to an analysis released on May 17 by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) of Labor Department data. “The industry shows signs of recovering but employment growth continues to be uneven, with some areas seeing stronger gains even as others continue to contract,” said AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson.

ATA Truck Tonnage Index Declines 0.2 Percent in April

The advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index released by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) on May 21 fell 0.2 percent in April after rising 0.9 percent in March. In April, the SA index equaled 123.2 (2000=100) versus 123.5 in March. The highest level on record was December 2011 at 124.3. Compared with April 2012, the SA index was up 4.3 percent, which is the largest year-over-year gain since January of this year (4.7 percent). Year-to-date, compared with the same period in 2012, the tonnage index is up 4 percent.

Georgia Clarifies Rules for Truck Taxes

Legislation signed into Georgia last month (H.B. 266 and 463) clarifies the state’s exemption for interstate for-hire vehicles from the state sales tax and the new state titling tax. The legislation changes the state’s ad valorem tax for vehicles registered under the International Registration Plan (IRP) to an apportioned in-lieu tax collected through IRP on vehicles both based in Georgia for IRP and those that are not. 

Vermont to Increase State Diesel Tax by 2 Cents per Gallon on July 1

Vermont Legislation (H.B. 510) signed into law April 29 will increase the state’s diesel tax on July 1 from 29 cents a gallon to 31 cents—a rate consisting of a 27 cent-fuel tax, 1 cent clean-up fee, and 3-cent “motor fuel assessment.”  This is the rate other states will collect for Vermont through the International Fuel Tax Agreement. The diesel tax will increase another cent on July 2014. 

Wind Energy Plans Announced for Canada, Chile and Japan

Recent issues  of Wind Energy SmartBriefs included the following items of interest to SC&RA members outside the United States:

North Carolina Bill Would Prohibit Tolls on Existing Interstates

Earlier this month, the North Carolina House Transportation Committee unanimously passed a bill (H.B. 267) out of committee that would limit the ability of the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to impose tolls on existing interstates, including Interstate 95. Although the bill would permit NCDOT to toll new capacity, it would prohibit the agency from closing existing lanes to build new tolled lanes. Passage of this legislation would advance efforts to halt NCDOT’s campaign to toll Interstate 95.

New MAASTO Subcommittee Chair Optimistic on Harmonization

SC&RA members have reason to believe the new leader of the Midwestern state permit officials group will continue its exceptional track record of effective communication and progress in collaboration with the specialized transportation industry. Scott Marion, Missouri’s Assistant Director of Motor Carrier Services, was elected Chairman of the Mid America Association of State Transportation Officials Subcommittee on Highway Transport (MAASTO-SCOHT) during the group’s spring meeting in conjunction with SC&RA’s Specialized Transportation Symposium in March.