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BLET-backed two-person crew bill advances in Washington state

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, March 3 — The BLET Washington State Legislative Board, in conjunction with the SMART-TD Washington Legislative Board, has been lobbying the Washington State Legislature in support of H.B. 1841, a bill that would establish a minimum crew size on certain types of trains. The measure has already passed the House, and members who live in the state of Washington are being urged to call their State Senators and ask them to support the bill.

Also known as the Safe Train Crew Size Bill, H.B. 1841 would require two qualified crew members on trains operating in the state of Washington. The bill passed the House by a vote of 65-30 on January 30. The State Senate’s Labor and Commerce Committee held a Public Hearing, where it received a favorable vote of 6 yeas and 3 nays. Brother Shahraim C. Allen, BLET Washington State Legislative Board Chairman, said State Senator Steve Conway will champion this bill, and will introduce an amendment that will further strengthen the language of the legislation.

Brother Allen also reports that railroad corporate lobbyists are working in fierce opposition to these necessary safety requirements. Brother Allen is urging all BLET Members, Auxiliary and their families in the state of Washington to immediately contact their State Senator, inform them you are a constituent of theirs and politely ask them to support HB 1841 (the Safe Train Crew Size Bill) so that it may continue advancing through the legislative process.

To contact your Washington State Senator’s office via phone, please call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000. If you wish to contact your State Senator by email, this information may be found online at: https://app.leg.wa.gov/MemberEmail/Senate

This call only takes a few minutes to make and will certainly have a far reaching impact in determining how he or she will vote on this bill. You may not actually talk with your Senator, so please be respectful to their staff member, just as you would if speaking with your legislator personally. Encourage supportive family members and friends to also get involved! If you are unsure how to express your support of this legislation when on the call, an example of sample language for you to use is as follows:

“My name is (Name) and I live at (Address). As a constituent of the Senator, I am calling to ask that (he or she) please vote in favor of HB 1841 – Establishing Minimum Crew Size on Certain Trains, the Safe Train Crew Size Bill. Thank you.”

In addition to Washington, two-person train crew bills are advancing in the states of Virginia, Missouri, New York and Wyoming. 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.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020
bentley@ble-t.org

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