End of Session Update: Transportation and Public Works

A previous post provided the status of various employee benefit and relation bills that MACo took a position on. Now that the dust has settled, this post provides the final status of these bills.

Unauthorized Signs on Highway Rights-of-WayHB 289/SB 410 would authorize removal of improperly placed signs on highway rights-of-way by state or local authorities, and authorize a civil action to recover costs of their removal or disposal.  MACo supported the bill because it would assist in the beautification of public roadways and provide reasonable authority for state and local governments to remove improperly placed signs.  Status:  Both bills passed the General Assembly and are awaiting the Governor’s signature. MACo Testimony

Towing Task Force LegislationHB 356/SB 570 would implement the recommendations of the Task Force to Study Motor Vehicle Towing Practices. MACo offered amendments to these bills to clarify that certain provisions only apply to those local jurisdictions that currently license towers, retaining the bill’s intended incentives, without a local mandate.  However, this amendment was not adopted because the committee felt it was already implied.  Ultimately, the House and Senate adopted different approaches for the regulation of towers and a conference committee was appointed to resolve them. Status:  Both bills died in conference committee. MACo Testimony

Motor Carrier Permits for Local Public Transportation SystemsHB 431/SB 402 would exempt a public transportation system established under the public laws of a county government or municipal corporation from the motor carrier permit required for a passenger motor vehicle used in the transportation of persons for hire.  Currently, local transportation systems are regulated by local government, the PSC, the MTA, and the Federal government depending upon the sources of funding used for operations.  MACo supported this bill to streamline and create efficiencies in the process.  MACo did however,  seek an amendment so the bill would also apply to local governments that entered into contractual arrangements with non-profit entities to manage and operate transportation systems on their behalf.  Status:  SB 402 passed the General Assembly and is awaiting the Governor’s signature.  HB 431 died in the Senate Rules Committee. MACo Testimony

Purchasing of Street LightsHB 905 would allow a local government to purchase street lighting equipment from an electric company either through an agreement that is reached with the electric company or through a condemnation proceeding. If equipment is purchased through a condemnation proceeding, the bill specifies items that must be considered by a jury in determining the fair market value of the lighting equipment. HB 905 seeks a fair and just process for local governments to purchase street lighting equipment. MACo believes this bill could serve to stop the stalemates that have occurred thus far when local governments have expressed interest in purchasing street lighting equipment. Status:  HB 905 was given an unfavorable report by the House Economic Matters CommitteeMACo Testimony

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