SSRS/UCRA Congressional/Legislative Actions
  The UCR board is wrapping up their two-day meeting in Chicago as I write this review. The UCR/SSRS Extension/Other possible Legislation agenda item was discussed in length yesterday afternoon and reviewed again this morning.

CONGRESSIONAL ACTIONS: Conference Report on the 911 bill has an amendment to reinstate SSRS under Section 14504 for those states that had it in effect on 12/31/06, ending on 1/2/08 OR upon effective date of UCR legislation. The amendment further directs the FMCSA to issue fee recommendations for UCR 2008 calendar year not later than 10/1/07. This amendment was as of July 3. NOTE: It’s possible this language could have changed again as conference staff is not talking, returning phone calls, ie.

LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS: FMCSA still working to approve Final Rule enacting UCR registration program. It could be any day now.

What does this Congressional action mean? Language says if UCR doesn’t happen before this report becomes law, then states can collect 07 SSRS fees while UCR board works on establishing 2008 UCR fees.

The prospects of this conference report being signed into law are about 100% and about as sure as anything can be in DC. The conference report is on a fast track and may be finished this week or next week. There are 45 members of the conference committee who will sign off on it before it goes to the House and Senate for votes. The prior obstacle to President Bush’s signing this report has been removed. There will be a major bill signing ceremony as you can image it’s a win-win situation for the Democrats (on their national security agenda) and for President Bush (on behalf of the 911 families).

The UCR board members have been surprised by this technical language that congressional staff implemented. While this is not the language that was expected by UCR board, it was the congressional staff’s decision to reinstate SSRS. The language says SSRS reinstated until such time that the FMCSA regulation is final or 2008. SSRS will be retroactive to January 1, 2007 for those states that had the program in place when it expired. If states were in SSRS – nothing changes until UCR comes into law. Resuming the board meeting this morning, no one had additional updates because congressional staff members are not talking as to what is actually in the conference report. However, there were 23 states in attendance (in person or via phone) who said they could resume SSRS program almost immediately.

What does this Legislative action mean? FMCSA is close to publishing the Rule which means the effective date of collecting UCR fees would be upon publication. FMCSA realizes the impact of this legislation and has given assurance they are evaluating what they need to do for a cooperative effort and will do it.

If, the RULE comes out before the BILL is signed, then UCR takes priority over reinstatement of SSRS. It is not the intention of both to be in effect at the same time. IF UCR rule were published tomorrow, it would PROBABLY be September 1 before system ready to accept payments.

Many UCR committee members are very concerned there are two different and conflicting statutes on the table. But the good news is money is almost on its way to the states.

Summary:? it still comes down to which happens first -- the congressional action or the legislative action.
*** Questions about this info? Contact Linda Norman at 703-821-0000 or ***