Legislation

Laws and regulations are an important supplement to educational efforts, making those efforts more effective. 16 bills that would limit the idling of motor vehicles in various ways (of all motor vehicles, trucks, or school buses) have been introduced in the Vermont Legislature since 2001. As the years went by, most of these bills repeatedly failed mainly due to the resistance of Vermont's powerful trucking lobby and resulting lack of political will. But one bill that passed in 2007 became Vermont's school bus idling rule in 2008. And finally, in 2013, Vermont became the last state in the Northeast to enact a state law on vehicle idling when the legislature pasted S.150 - An act relating to miscellaneous amendments to laws related to motor vehicles. Upon enactment this became Act 57 which includes Section 28: prohibited idling of motor vehicles (pages 30-32) to take effect May 1, 2014.

The standalone law: 23 V.S.A. § 1110. Prohibited idling of motor vehicles.

 

 

2016 Session

 

The following bill has been submitted by Rep. Curt McCormick of Burlington:

H.666 An act relating to signage on State property regarding unlawful idling of motor vehicle engines

This bill proposes to require installation of signs on property owned or controlled by the State on which parking is permitted indicating that Vermont prohibits idling of motor vehicle engines in violation of law.

 

STATUS:

January 27: referred to the House Committee on Transportation

 

The history of Vermont vehicle idling legislation

 

2013 Session

 

The 2013 legislative session was an interesting one for the potential of a law or regulation to limit idling. First, in early January, the Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) developed a draft framework for a rule to limit vehicle idling. See the REGULATION page for details. The DEC's proposal is to limit the idling of ALL motor vehicles - light-duty passenger vehicles as well as medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses. Idle-Free VT strongly supports a law for all vehicles. The rationale to include all vehicles came about ironically after ongoing objections by trucking industry lobbyists, feeling they have been unfairly targeted by not including all vehicles in a proposed idling regulation. This, despite the fact that while heavy duty vehicles (which are predominantly diesel) are only a small fraction of the total population of cars and trucks, they contribute a disproportionately large share of air pollutant emissions.

 

To provide more visibility to the process, legislators added to the DEC proposal with three all-vehicle idling limitation bills.

 

S.76 An act relating to prohibiting unnecessary idling by motor vehicles, cosponsored by Senators David Zuckerman, P-Chittenden and Dick McCormack, D-Windsor. This bill addresses all motor vehicles. It calls for a three minute limit on idling in any 60 minute period with a list of exceptions, briefly including emergency vehicles, armored vehicles, in traffic, passenger comfort, operation of safety equipment, powering of auxiliary equipment, sleeper berths, maintenance, school bus when necessary (off school grounds).

 

STATUS:

February 5: assigned to the Senate Committee on Transportation.

March 15: did not make “Crossover” deadline of this date, the legislature's timeline for passing bills from one chamber to the other - therefore, will not be taken up this session.

 

H.327 An act relating to the adoption of rules to limit unnecessary idling of motor vehicles, sponsored by Representative Margaret Cheney, D-Windsor-Orange-2. This bill addresses all motor vehicles. This bill places an emphasis on regulation regarding the installation and use of equipment designed to reduce or eliminate emissions and for the proper maintenance of the equipment and the vehicles. Sec. 1(c) stipulates: "The Secretary shall in consultation with the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles adopt rules to limit unnecessary idling of motor vehicles. The rules shall set forth periods or circumstances that reasonably require the idling of the engine, including periods when it is necessary to operate defrosting, heating, or cooling equipment to ensure the health or safety of the driver or passengers or to operate auxiliary equipment, and periods when the engine is undergoing maintenance or inspection."

 

STATUS:

February 21: assigned to the House Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.

March 15: did not make “Crossover” deadline of this date, the legislature's timeline for passing bills from one chamber to the other - therefore, will not be taken up this session.

 

H.288 An act relating to prohibiting unnecessary idling by motor vehicles, cosponsored by Representatives Mollie S. Burke, P-Windham-2-2, John L. Bartholomew, D-Windsor-1, Diane Lanpher - D-Addison-3, Dave Potter, D-Rutland-2, and Dave Sharpe, D-Addison-4. This bill addresses all motor vehicles. It mirrors S.76 in list of exceptions. Sec. 2 of H.288 stipulates there be a Driver Training Course, including Sec. 2(d): "All driver education courses shall include instruction on the adverse environmental, health, and other effects of unnecessary idling of motor vehicles and on the law governing prohibited idling of motor vehicles."

 

STATUS:

February 19: assigned to the House Committee on Transportation.

March 15: did not make “Crossover” deadline of this date, the legislature's timeline for passing bills from one chamber to the other.

April 9-10: House Transportation committee takes up discussion to incorporate the language of H.288 into a broader senate transportation bill:

S.150 An act relating to miscellaneous amendments to laws related to motor vehicles.

April 10: House Transportation incorporates the language of H.288 into S.150.

 

S.150 BILL STATUS:

April 12: House Transportation votes 10-0 to pass S.150 in committee.

April 26: House Ways and Means committee votes to pass S.150.

April 30: S.150 passes second reading in House.

May 1: S.150 passes third reading in House.

May 3: S.150 House passes bill in concurrence with proposal(s) of amendment.

May 8: S.150 back in Senate - Senate Transportation votes to amend by striking out in entirety the language of what was formerly H.288: Sec. 28: Prohibited Idling of Motor Vehicles, and Sec. 29: Driver Training Course on idling impact and law.

May 10: Rep. Patrick Brennan refuses to concur in Senate's proposal of amendment - S.150 goes to Committee of Conference where three House and three Senate members will debate the amendment.

May 14: House-Senate Committee of Conference rejects Senate amendment of S.150; reinstates idling language sections with slight modifications. Sec 28, Prohibited Idling of Motor Vehicles would take effect May 1, 2014; Sec. 29, Driver Training Course (mandates driver educators teach about negative impacts of idling and about the new law to be) would take effect July 1, 2013. Senate and House pass S.150.

May 23: S.150 is delivered to Governor.

May 30: S.150 is signed by Governor into law.

June 6: S.150 becomes ACT 57.

 

2011-2012 Sessions

 

Legislation to restrict the idling of vehicles was introduced in the 2011 session. H.154 and S.81, House and Senate companion bills titled as: An Act Relating to Idling of Heavy-Duty Motor Vehicles.

 

Prior to bill introduction, testimony given on January 20, 2011 before Senate Transportation and Senate Natural Resources & Energy by:

• Rebecca Ryan, Director, Health Promotion and Public Policy, American Lung Association in Vermont

• Wayne Michaud, Director, Idle-Free VT

 

H.154 An act relating to idling of heavy-duty motor vehicles: sponsored by Representative Sharpe; cosponsored by  Rep. Burke, Donovan, Edwards, Miller, Mitchell, Till and Weston.

 

STATUS: February 1, 2011: introduced and Read First Time and Referred to the House Natural Resources and Energy committee.

 

No further action.

 

S.81 An act relating to idling of heavy-duty motor vehicles: sponsored by  Senator Ayer; cosponsored by Sen. Ashe, Baruth, Fox, Galbraith, Giard, Kittell, Lyons, MacDonald, McCormack, Miller, Pollina, Snelling, Starr and White.

 

STATUS:

February 24, 2011: introduced

March 8, 2011: Read First Time and Referred to the Senate Transportation committee.

 

March 16, 2011: Testimony given before Senate Transportation by:

• Edward Miller, Attorney, Vermont Truck and Bus Association

 

No further action.

 

Senate Transportation has been, and will likely continue to be, the roadblock for passage of these bills. Led by Chair, Sen. Mazza, this committee does not support a law to restrict idling, believing that education alone is the solution. The trucking lobby, led by Edward Miller, Attorney, Vermont Truck and Bus Association, have continued to successfully stymie these bills under the guise that it is unfair to target truck idling alone despite much higher levels of toxic exhaust emissions from heavy-duty vehicles.

 

2012: H.154 and S.81 are not being actively taken up in the 2012 session.

 

2009-2010 Sessions

 

H.97 An act relating to the idling of motor vehicles: sponsored by Representative Sharpe; cosponsored by Rep. Bohi, Copeland-Hanzas, Donovan, Edwards, Maier, McCullough, Mrowicki, Pellett and Zuckerman

H.97 addressed idling of vehicles in excess of 10,000 pounds: medium- and heavy-duty commercial; mostly diesel). The bill was assigned to the Natural Resources and Energy committee on January 29 with no further action.

In the 2010 session H.97 was reintroduced to Natural Resources and Energy on January 13, 2010 and debated:

TESTIMONY

 

January 19, 2010:

• Helena Gardner, Legislative Counsel

• Edward Miller, Attorney, Vermont Truck and Bus Association

• Roland Bellavance, President, Vermont Truck and Bus Association

 

January 20, 2010:

• Rebecca Ryan, Director, Health Promotion and Public Policy, American Lung Association of Vermont

• Kent Booraem, Board Member, American Lung Association of Vermont

• Johanna Miller, Outreach Director and Energy Program Co-Director, Vermont Natural Resources Council

• Jim Flint, Executive Director, Friends of Burlington Gardens

• Brian Keefe, Vice President, Central Vermont Public Service

January 21, 2010:

• Joe Choquette, Lobbyist, Vermont Petroleum Association

• Joe Choquette, Lobbyist, International Business Machines

• Matt Cota, Lobbyist, Vt Fuel Dealers Association

• Ed Larson, Vermont Forest Products Association

• Jamie Feehan, Lobbyist, Vermont Public Transportation Association

• William Driscoll, Vice President, Associated Industries of Vermont

• Andrew MacLean, Lobbyist, Cabot Creamery

 

January 22, 2010:

• Wayne Michaud, Director, Idle-Free VT

• Don Ostler, Delivery Operations Manager, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters

• Melissa Marotta, Second year medical student, UVM College of Medicine

• Brett Porter, Second year medical student, UVM College of Medicine

January 26, 2010: Committee Discussion and Bill Vote in House Natural Resources and Energy committee

• H.97 passes out of committee: Vote 11-0.

 

February 2, 2010: on motion of Rep. Cheney of Norwich, the bill was committed to the House Transportation committee.

 

March 10, 2010: H.97 was not taken up by the House Transportation committee. As a result, the bill will not make crossover and remains on the wall. Essentially H.97 fails, having run its biennium course.

 

2007-2008 Sessions

 

H.58 School bus engines on school property: Sponsored by Representative Hosford; cosponsored by Rep. Botzow, Brooks, Copeland-Hanzas, Deen, Grad, Jewett, Lorber, Marek, McCullough, McFaun, Randall, Sharpe, Spengler, Sweaney and Weston

H.69 The idling of motor vehicles: sponsored by Representative Hosford; cosponsored by Rep. Deen, Edwards, French, Head, Lorber, McFaun, Minter, Mrowicki, Sharpe, Spengler and Weston

H.143 The idling of motor vehicles: sponsored by Representative Sharpe; cosponsored by Rep. Deen, Edwards, French, Hosford and Masland

S.13 The idling of motor vehicle engines on school property: sponsored by Senator Ayer.

S.13 passed and was enacted into law on May 25, 2007 as Act 48: now known as the State Board of Education Rule #6001 School Bus Idling

 

2005-2006 Sessions

 

H.584 Idling school bus engines on school property: sponsored by Representative Hosford; cosponsored by Rep. Adams, Bohi, Chen, Edwards, Errecart, French, Haas, Head, Kainen, Kiss, Maier, Martin, McFaun, McLaughlin, Minter, Niquette, Pellett and Sharpe

S.199 Idling school bus engines on school property: introduced by Senators Ayer, Giard, and Lyons

S.271 The idling of diesel buses and trucks: introduced by Senators Ayer and Lyons

 

2003-2004 Sessions

 

S.250 Prohibiting diesel buses and trucks from idling for more than three minutes in most situations: cosponsored by Senators Gossens and Ayer

 

2001-2002 Sessions

 

H.693 Idling school bus engines on school premises: sponsored by Representative Jordan - this is the first vehicle idling bill introduced in the Vermont legislature