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August 12, 2022

Letter: Deregulation legislation is under attack

If you thought shortages of infant formula was bad, wait until California’s shippers and receivers are denied services of owner-operator truckers.

Recently, the U.S. Solicitor General filed the Government’s brief in the California Trucking Association’s case challenging the Legislature’s AB-5, AB-2257, pending at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Shockingly, the Government there takes the position that federal law must fall to inferior State law, saying that the F4A Act does not preempt contrary States’ laws. Norm Mineta would be shaking his head. President Clinton, too. They had in the 1990s sought to deregulate transportation industries: air, rail, marine and highway. From 1980 (Motor Carrier Reform Act) to 1995 (Federal Airline Authorization Appropriations Act – F4A) the Government sought to modernize governance of the transportation industries, removing burdens on commerce, and we benefited enormously from that effort.

In California we also thought this the right way to go on Governor Wilson’s Regulatory Reform Roundtable, on which I served for three years as a representative from the Association of Transportation Law, Logistics and Policy. Governor Wilson accepted our conclusion, and issued his Executive Order that burdensome regulations be terminated, deregulating on the State level the way the federal government did.

What happened? The Legislature went just the opposite, creating laws and authorizing regulations non-stop, making California the worst state for business in the nation.

If shippers and receivers are deprived of options where owner-operators haul their freight, then we will have tens of thousands of trucks removed from the supply chain. Food shippers and receivers will be left without carriers at a time when it is extremely difficult for truckers, especially small business truckers with one truck, to pay for fuel and other expenses.

The Legislature needs to reverse the mistakes of AB-5, AB-2257, or else bear responsibility for bare shelves in the grocery stores, etc.

Join me, and folks who like to find food on grocery stores’ shelves, in praying that the U.S. Supreme Court rejects the federal Government’s position favoring burdensome regulation of trucking over the deregulation legislation that Norm Mineta sponsored in Congress and that President Clinton signed into law.

Joe Thompson

Past-Chair, Legislation Committee, Transportation Lawyers

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