Fort Fairfield Journal About Us Contact Us Advertising Rates Subscribe Distribution Bible Reference Our Library
Feds Consider Plan to
Require CDL for Farmers
By: David Deschesne
Fort Fairfield Journal, August 24, 2011
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is currently considering a rule change that would require operators of farm tractors and farm equipment to obtain a Commercial Driver's License and comply with all of the same requirements Commercial Motor Vehicle tractor-trailer drivers must adhere to.
The request for public input was published in the Federal Register on May 31, 2011 as a “proposed rule”. The FMCSA is attempting to determine whether off-road farm equipment or implements of husbandry operated on public roads for limited distances are considered commercial motor vehicles.
Currently, the Federal government only has authority to regulate interstate commerce- that is when products leave one state and enter another. This is codified in the “Commerce Clause” of the U.S. Constitution. However, over the past century, the federal government and its biased court systems have been expanding the interpretation of that clause until it has reached a most absurd level of control.
“Since when does the Federal government have control within the States? Since when do they get to set the speed limits, or what color the road signs are,” said globally-syndicated radio talk show host, Alex Jones. “Now, they're going to empower, under federal rules, the county, city and state truck police to pull up at your farm or ranch and white-glove inspect your farm equipment. If they are able to get away with this, it is another serious blow to this country.”
Under the elastic interpretation of the Commerce Clause, the FMSCA has determined virtually all farm related activity to be “interstate” in nature and justifies its position by stating, “...grain is transported from farms to an elevator in the same State. Although no truckload or shipment is earmarked for any particular out-of-State purchaser, all of the grain is intended to be shipped to points outside the State. The grain is graded, tested, and blended at the elevator and then shipped to out-of-State points during the year following harvest. Under this scenario, the movement of the grain to the elevators is considered interstate commerce (40 FR 50671, 50674; October 31, 1975; copy in docket). Here, the intent of the farmers (whether or not explicitly articulated) was to have their grain shipped out of the State of origin in order to obtain the best price. The grain therefore remained in the stream of interstate commerce until it reached its destination.”
By using this convoluted “proximate cause” legalese, the Federal Government is attempting to call into question the use of every farm tractor, farm truck, or implement used by either corporate or private family farms and suggest requiring the operators of said farm equipment to acquire a CDL, fill out log books, submit to State commercial vehicle inspections and of course, pay the increasingly heavy fines associated with failing those inspections.
Currently, States are allowed to exempt farm equipment and activities from the CDL requirement. However, the Feds' attempt here is to cast an extremely wide net with a ridiculously broad and all-inclusive description of what is determined to be a commercial vehicle operating in interstate commerce.
The proposed rule change is not a bill up for consideration in Congress, and will not be a law. Rather, the FMSCA rules by fiat, arbitrarily making up rules as it goes without Congressional oversight or approval and enjoys the acquiescence of State and local police to enforce their edicts.
If allowed to be adopted, as the FMSCA desires, the new rule change would require operators of any farm tractor, truck, motorized harvester etc. to obtain a CDL and fill out all of the requisite log books for each piece of equipment, log hours of operation and down time, sleep time, etc. This would be a financial windfall for state governments looking for more creative ways to confiscate the increasingly scarce wealth of the U.S. farmer.
Jones, who has many inside sources within government and its bureaucracies says this expansion of power will not be stopped at the farmer. “I've got intel and have seen the feds talking about it for all RVs,” said Jones. “During the depression, you're not going to just live in an RV [because you've had your house foreclosed on]. You're going to pay a very high fee to do that and they're going to pull you over, just like all the commercial trucks, with the truck police and harass the living daylights out of you while the Mexican trucks are exempt from all the laws.”
Public comment period is currently open, but the Feds have agreed to a de facto adoption of the rules in order to further restrict and shut down farming in the United States, so it is more than likely that the posting of any public opposition to the rule change would be in fact moot.