Federal Aviation Administration Bill Contains Preemption Language

The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee released the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act last week, which serves as the reauthorization bill for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The AIRR Act included language that would preempt requirements in 22 states for meal and rest breaks for commercial truck drivers.

In 1994, the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA) forbade states from enacting laws that interfered with prices, routes, or service of motor carriers. But a court decision made by a federal appellate court in 2014 said that a California law mandating meal and rest breaks for workers in the state superseded FAAAA. This language will directly spell out that states cannot regulate truckers who fall under federal hours-of-service regulations.

Similar language was included in the House passed version of the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act (The FAST Act), but was removed during conference with the Senate. This is a controversial issue that will continue to be in the crosshairs as negotiations are undertaken on the development of this reauthorization bill.