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Napolitano Fights for Truck Drivers’ Meal & Rest Breaks, Wages, and Benefits

April 26, 2018
Press Release

(WASHINGTON, DC) Today, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D-El Monte) spoke on the House floor against the Denham amendment (#79) to H.R. 4, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2018, which would overturn laws protecting truck driver meal and rest breaks, wages, and benefits:

“Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to the Denham amendment which would overturn a federal court decision that determined that California meal and rest break laws apply to truckers.

“On July 9, 2014, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that trucking operators in California must allow for a 30-minute meal break after 5 hours of work and a 10-minute rest break after each 4 hours worked. This meal and rest break standard is very reasonable when you consider that truck drivers can be subject to 14 hours of on-duty time.

“The Denham amendment would not only preempt California’s law but would also preempt laws in 21 other states and territories that guarantee meal and rest breaks.

“This amendment is further harmful as it includes broad preemption language that would prohibit states and local governments from enacting laws that 'impose any additional obligation on motor carriers.' This preemption would attack state minimum wage laws, sick leave laws, FMLA, and other laws that protect truck drivers pay and benefits. 

“Mr. Chairman, States should be allowed to set these important standards for truck driver working conditions as they see fit for the health and safety of their workers. I ask my colleagues to oppose the Denham amendment, and I yield back.”

Napolitano sits on the Subcommittee on Aviation, which has jurisdiction over the FAA, and is the highest-ranking California member on the full Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

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