WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump Monday signed two bills that impact the trucking industry.
The “Jobs for Our Heroes Act” expands the type of medical professionals employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs who could certify that veterans meet the physical standards required to operate commercial motor vehicles and exempts current members of the armed services or reserves from certain testing requirements to obtain a CDL.
The “No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act” requires the Department of Transportation to disqualify an individual who uses a commercial motor vehicle in committing a felony involving human trafficking from operating a commercial motor vehicle for life.
The “Jobs for Our Heroes Act amends the FAST Act to require the medical professional who perform a medical examination and provide a medical certificate for purposes of compliance with requirements for operation by a veteran of a commercial motor vehicle to be a “qualified examiner” who is employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs as an advanced practice nurse, doctor of chiropractic, doctor of medicine, doctor of osteopathy, physician assistant, or other medical professional and is licensed, certified, or registered in a state to perform physical examinations.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, sponsored the anti-trafficking bill.
“This … is an important step in the ongoing battle against human trafficking,” Thune said when the bill passed the Senate. “It creates a common-sense consequence for egregious wrongdoing … .”
The American Trucking Associations had comments about both bills.
"Trucking consistently looks for ways to not just honor our brave fighting men and women during their service, but to provide them career opportunities when they return home," said CRST International Inc. Chairman John Smith, chairman of ATA’s Workforce Development Policy Committee. "The Jobs for our Heroes Act not only makes it easier for these men and women to transition to productive careers in trucking, but helps the trucking industry by growing our potential workforce as we work to meet the ever-growing demand for freight transportation."
"The trucking industry is on the front lines in the fight against the crime of human trafficking. By adding these resources to DOT, the federal government will become an even stronger partner with us as we work to raise awareness, train our workforce and combat this crime," said Elisabeth Barna, ATA's chief operating officer and board member of Truckers Against Trafficking.
Some in trucking have complained that the anti-trafficking bill shouldn't be aimed at truck drivers and their livlihoods out of all other occupations, as drivers and the industry have stepped up to the plate to learn how to spot trafficking and report it.