Committee Accepts Bill To Prohibit Human Trafficking Felons From Ever Driving Commercial Vehicles

in News/Legislature

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Jennifer Kocher, Cowboy State Daily

A bill aimed at prohibiting anyone convicted of using a commercial vehicle in the course of human trafficking from ever driving a commercial vehicle again won approval from a House committee Tuesday.

The House Transportation, Highways and Military Affairs Interim Committee voted unanimously that House Bill 7 be approved for consideration by the full Legislature.

This bill amends the guidelines that disqualify a person from driving a commercial vehicle in Wyoming, including those convicted of a certain felonies. The bill adds to that list the offense of using commercial vehicle in the course of human trafficking. 

The bill aligns Wyoming law with current federal requirements, according to Luke Reiner, director of Wyoming Department of Transportation.

“Quite simply, there is a federal requirement that at the state level that we have a lifetime ban on an individual having a CDL license if they’ve used a commercial vehicle in the execution of a felony crime of human trafficking,” he said. “That crime is serious enough and has enough visibility at the national level.”

Failure to approve the bill could cost the state federal highway funds of up to $11.14 million in 2023 and $22.28 million in 2024, Reiner said.

Not passing the bill could also lead to the decertification of the state’s commercial driver’s license program by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which Reiner noted would have a “terrible, terrible effect on our trucking industry.”

Speaking in support of the bill was Sheila Foertsch, managing director of the Wyoming Trucking Association (WTA). 

“Having our program in compliance is paramount for the trucking industry,” she told the committee. “We don’t always agree with what the mandates are when they come down, but this is one that as a carrier, if you have an employee who was participating in selling drugs or trafficking…that’s huge and not a chance you want to take, so we understand the ramifications of doing a lifetime disqualification.”

Decertifying the CDL program “would cripple the trucking industry in the state of Wyoming,” she noted, which is a huge concern for the organization.

“As a deregulated industry,” Foertsch said, “there are a lot of regulations.”

The federal law goes into effect on Sept. 23, so passing it now is of paramount interest to WTA, Foertsch told Cowboy State Daily on Monday. 

The bill was unanimously passed to the floor by the committee. 

Committee Chairman Donald Burkhart, R-Rawlins, acknowledged his distaste for federal mandates, but noted that this is one case where he’d make an exception. 

“As much as I abhor the federal extortion on some things, and that’s what it amounts to,” he said. “This, to me, is a heinous enough crime. And I find it just so distasteful personally that I can get on board with doing this. That’s just my personal observation.”

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Latest from News

0 $0.00
Go to Top