A description of the bills and their impact:
SPONSOR: Rep. Vernon G. James, D-Elizabeth City
THE BILL: Allows trucks hauling agricultural crops on primary and secondary roads within 35 miles of the farm to weigh up to 88,000 pounds, 10 percent above the legal maximum for interstate highways. Maximum weights for axles were also increased about 10 percent.
BOTTOM LINE: The Division of Motor Vehicles, which was responsible then for enforcing the state's overweight truck laws, opposed this legislation and told legislators, "The rural highways and secondary restricted bridges of the state would be damaged and require repair more often."
'NO' VOTES: None
HOUSE BILL 463 Farm Products Weight Exemption
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SPONSOR: Rep. Bill Owens, D-Elizabeth City
THE BILL: Increases the legal gross weight of trucks hauling agricultural crops to local markets another notch, from 88,000 pounds to 90,000 pounds.
BOTTOM LINE: DOT argued that "increasing the weight of vehicles using state highways speeds up the rate at which those highways are damaged," but legislators rejected its position.
'NO' VOTES: Six
SENATE BILL 1115 Transportation of Wood Chips and Other Wood Products
THE BILL: Allows trucks hauling wood chips and other wood products to increase the gross weight by 5 percent, their single-axle weight by 10 percent and their tandem-axle weight by a little more than 10 percent beyond the legal limit.
BOTTOM LINE: This provision was inserted in a 197-page budget bill by House and Senate negotiators and was voted on as part of the budget.
'NO' VOTES: 53
SENATE BILL 1043 Aggregate Truck Weight Limits
SPONSOR: Sen. John A. Garwood, R-North Wilkesboro
THE BILL: Cuts in half the fines for overweight haulers of bulk soil, rock, sand, sand rock or asphalt millings and allows them to carry extra weight from sites that do not have a certified scale. These are the same breaks the legislature handed out earlier to trucks hauling wood chips, sawdust, mulch or tree bark.
BOTTOM LINE: The bill also makes it harder to enforce overweight laws: Under this legislation, drivers of all trucks that have a permit to carry an overweight load no longer have to carry the permit with them. If they get caught, they have 30 days to produce the permit.
'NO' VOTES: Two