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Truck Renting and Leasing Association

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TRALA-Supported Rental Truck Insurance Legislation Introduced In Wisconsin

On April 7, 2017 TRALA-requested legislation was introduced in the state Senate and Assembly to address an ongoing concern for TRALA members that rent consumer vehicles in the state. Senate Bill 156 was introduced by Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-29) and it was referred to the Committee on Insurance, Housing, and Trade.  The Senate bill was co-sponsored by Senator Frank Lassee (R-01) Chairman of the Housing, Insurance, and Trade Committee, Representative John Spiros (R-86), Representative Robert Brooks (R-60), and Representative Bob Kulp (R-69). TRALA is currently waiting to be informed of when there will be a hearing on this bill. Additionally, Representative John Spiros has submitted a companion bill in the General Assembly bill, which has not yet been formally published, but TRALA was informed it will be Assembly Bill 207.
 

On April 7, 2017 TRALA-requested legislation was introduced in the state Senate and Assembly to address an ongoing concern for TRALA members that rent consumer vehicles in the state. Senate Bill 156 was introduced by Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-29) and it was referred to the Committee on Insurance, Housing, and Trade.  The Senate bill was co-sponsored by Senator Frank Lassee (R-01) Chairman of the Housing, Insurance, and Trade Committee, Representative John Spiros (R-86), Representative Robert Brooks (R-60), and Representative Bob Kulp (R-69). TRALA is currently waiting to be informed of when there will be a hearing on this bill. Additionally, Representative John Spiros has submitted a companion bill in the General Assembly bill, which has not yet been formally published, but TRALA was informed it will be Assembly Bill 207.
 
This legislation corrects two conflicting statutes, which currently put TRALA consumer rental companies at a disadvantage compared to every other state in the U.S.  A legislative fix became necessary after a 2012 Wisconsin court ruling, which ruled that a rented truck was subject to the federal $750,000 MFR minimums for contract carriers. There is a conflict between two state statutes - W.S.A. § 344.51 and W.S.A. § 194.41 - that has resulted in a broad and gross misinterpretation of the proper Minimum Financial Responsibility (MFR) amounts that consumer rental trucks must abide by in Wisconsin. As a result of these contradicting laws, consumer rental companies may be held to higher levels of MFR, regardless of the legally stated amounts of $25,000/$50,000/$10,000. Since the initial court ruling, TRALA has coordinated an effort with its members, a contract lobbyist, and state lawmakers on the ground in Wisconsin.
 
In 2016, TRALA was able to get companion bills in both the House and Senate which would have clarified that rental trucks are not subject to the higher levels of insurance. The Senate version was passed out of the Transportation Committee by a 3-2 vote. However, shortly after passage, the Wisconsin legislature adjourned for the year. In January of 2017, TRALA received confirmation from both Representative John Spiros (R-86), Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, and Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-29), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Transportation and Veterans Affairs, that they would reintroduce their bills correcting the competing statutes.
 
TRALA discussed this legislation during a recent Light Truck Rental Council conference call and told its members that it will be important to find two separate companies willing to send a representative to testify at a hearing later this year.  Getting local support for these bills has become crucial to counterbalance the efforts made by the local trial lawyers who sought to defeat similar legislation last year and will likely do so again during this session.
 
You may view  Senate bill 156 by clicking here.
 
If you have any questions about the insurance minimums in Wisconsin please contact Graham Hall at ghall@trala.org or by calling (703) 299-9120.        
  
 
 
 
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