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Two-person crew bill passes Wyoming House; goes to Senate

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, February 27 — The state of Wyoming’s House of Representatives passed a bill today requiring a minimum crew size. House Bill No. HB0079 would require two crewmembers in the cab of locomotives throughout the state, and would establish financial penalties of up to $10,000 for railroads that willfully violate the proposed law. The bill now moves on to the State Senate.

The bill was introduced in late January by Rep. Stan Blake (D-39), who is also a Union Pacific employee. Initial co-sponsors of the bill included a strong bipartisan group of Representatives and Senators, including: Representatives Jim Blackburn (R-42), Scott Clem (R-31), Shelly Duncan (R-05), Jamie Flitner (R-26), Tim Hallinan (R-32), Hans Hunt (R-02), Sandy Newsome (R-24) and Clarence Styvar (R-12); and Senators Stephan Pappas (R-07), Chris Rothfuss (D-09), Wendy Schuler (R-15) and Michael Von Flatern (R-24). Sen. Rothfuss serves as Senate Minority Floor Leader.

Fines for violating the proposed law would range between $250-$1,000 for a first offense and up to $10,000 for a third offense within a three year period.

Brother Cory Runion, Chairman of the BLET’s Wyoming State Legislative Board, thanked Rep. Blake for introducing the bill and thanked all co-sponsors. Brother Runion said he expects that there will be opposition in the State Senate and he is urging all active and retired BLET members — along with friends and family — to get involved and email their Senators personally about the two-person crew bill.

To find the email address for your Wyoming Senator, please click here:
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislators/2019/S

Brother Runion advises that Wyoming legislators are good about reading and answering their emails. Brother Runion also noted that, when emailing your State Senator, it is important to include your name, where you live, and advise them that you are a constituent of theirs asking them for support of the railroad safety bill, HB0079. Also, it would be helpful if active or retired members could write a short paragraph including a personal experience about why two-person train crews are so important to safe operations on the railroad. As always when communicating with any of your Legislators, please be polite and thank them for their time.

In 2019, state governors in Illinois, Nevada and Colorado signed two-person crew bills into law in an effort to make train operations in their states as safe as possible. In addition to Wyoming, similar legislation is moving forward in the states of New York and Virginia.

Thursday, February 27, 2020
bentley@ble-t.org

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