BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 995


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          Date of Hearing:  April 27, 2015


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION


                                 Jim Frazier, Chair


          AB 995  
          (Bigelow) - As Amended April 29, 2015


          SUBJECT:  Farm vehicles:  registration exemptions


          SUMMARY:  Adds onion hauling trucks to the list of farm vehicles  
          that are exempt from Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)  
          registration requirements, under specified conditions.  
          Specifically, this bill:  


          1)Defines "onion hauling truck" as a specialized motor truck  
            that is equipped with a loading conveyor belt and is designed  
            and used exclusively to transport field-manufactured onions to  
            an onion processing facility or onion packing shed and that  
            travels on a highway for a distance not to exceed 20 miles  
            from the point of origin of the trip.


          2)Exempts onion hauling trucks from registration with the DMV.


          3)Requires that the owner of an onion hauling truck not operate  
            the vehicle during the exemption period in any manner other  
            than as an onion hauling truck in order to maintain the  
            exemption from registration.










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          4)Requires the owner of an onion hauling truck do all of the  
            following:


             a)   Register an onion hauling truck with the DMV before  
               operating it as a commercial motor vehicle.


             b)   Apply to DMV for any renewal of the exemption from  
               registration.


          5)Specifies that an onion hauling truck is subject to all  
            vehicle safety requirements, including equipment standards,  
            driver licensing requirements, maximum driving and on-duty  
            hours provisions, log book requirements, drug and alcohol  
            testing, maintenance of vehicles, and any other driver or  
            vehicle safety standards.


          6)Requires the driver of an onion hauling truck to have a valid  
            Class A driver's license. 


          EXISTING LAW:  


          1)Generally requires a motor vehicle operated on any street,  
            road, or highway open to the public to be registered with DMV.  
             

          2)Defines "implements of husbandry" as vehicles used exclusively  
            in the conduct of agricultural operations and exempts them  
            from registration requirements if they are only incidentally  
            operated on a highway.   

          3)Exempts certain farm vehicles from registration requirements  
            and commercial motor vehicle safety requirements, under  
            specified conditions. 








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          4)Specifies that farm vehicles are subject to all equipment and  
            device requirements as if they are registered.  



          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown


          COMMENTS:  Current law, with certain exceptions, requires that  
          motor vehicles operated on highways be registered with DMV.   
          Additionally, existing law requires that commercial vehicles  
          comply with the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1996,  
          which generally requires that commercial motor vehicles pay fees  
          that support highway maintenance and enforcement programs,  
          undergo periodic safety inspections conducted by the California  
          Highway Patrol, and participate in operator drug and alcohol  
          testing programs.  


          Vehicles that are operated on farms and that are only  
          incidentally driven on highways, no more than a mile, are exempt  
          from registration requirements.  While use of farm vehicles on  
          highways is generally restricted to protect the safety of the  
          traveling public, existing law also exempts from registration  
          requirements and commercial vehicle safety requirements a number  
          of farm vehicles that are operated on highways beyond the  
          typical one-mile limit.  The law provides varying allowances for  
          these vehicles depending on their type.  For example, melons  
          trucks are exempt from registration and allowed to travel up to  
          two miles on highways, while trucks carrying livestock feed  
          (silage) are exempt and allowed to travel up to 20 miles on  
          highways.  


          AB 995 exempts onion hauling trucks, as defined, from  
          registration requirements and allows them to travel up to 20  
          miles on highways.  These specialized trucks are not operated  
          for compensation and are only used to haul onions during the  








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          harvest season to transport onions from fields to packing sheds.  
           If an onion farmer wanted to use the truck for some other  
          purpose, then the truck would have to be registered with DMV in  
          order to be operated on highways.  AB 995 additionally requires  
          that these trucks comply with all commercial vehicle safety  
          requirements. 


          According to Dalena Farms, one of the supporters of AB 995, this  
          bill "would be especially helpful to our operations as we deal  
          with the current historic drought in California.  Under current  
          law, we can obtain special equipment plates.  However, our  
          operations and the current drought have caused us to lease and  
          farm land further than one mile from our shed, making the  
          special equipment plates less useful." 


          While one could make a slippery slope argument for providing  
          registration exemptions on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis, the law  
          already provides a number of exemptions for specific farm  
          vehicles, all with their own parameters.  Onion farmers are  
          facing drought-related challenges that are forcing them to farm  
          fields that are further apart than in the past, subjecting them  
          to registration expenses for their trucks that they have not had  
          in the past.  AB 995 is a reasonable solution to these changing  
          industry conditions, especially since it does not also exempt  
          these vehicles from commercial vehicle safety requirements,  
          ensuring the public safety is maintained. 


          Previous legislation:  AB 1908 (Bigelow) of 2014, would have  
          exempted onion hauling trucks from registration and commercial  
          motor vehicle safety requirements.  AB 1903 was referred to this  
          committee but was not heard at the request of the author.


          AB 1749 (Pan) of 2012, would have exempted vehicles specifically  
          designed for, and used exclusively in an agricultural operation  
          to, carry walnuts to the list of farm vehicles from registration  








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          and commercial motor vehicle safety requirements.  AB 1749 was  
          referred to this committee but was not heard at the request of  
          the author.


          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          California Farm Bureau Federation


          Dalena Farms


          Nisei Farmers League


          Tulare County Farm Bureau 




          Opposition


          None on file




          Analysis Prepared by:Anya Lawler / TRANS. / (916) 319-2093











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