A bill that would require out-of-state commercial cattle trucks to stop for inspection at Washington’s border is one step closer to becoming a law.
Last week, the state House of Representatives unanimously (98-0) passed House Bill 1922, which requires vehicles over 65,000 pounds and carrying cattle to stop at all weigh stations for inspection. If the truck drivers do not comply, they could face a $1,000 fine.
Fines will be collected and used for road maintenance purposes in Spokane and Pend Oreille, where the new law would apply.
The measure now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Rep. Matt Shea, who represents the Spokane Valley area in the 4th District, sponsored the bill and is pleased with the response on the House floor.
“These cattle trucks are causing traffic congestion on a two lane roadway through Spokane Valley,” Shea stated in a prepared statement. “They are not only a danger to the local traffic, but these heavy trucks are creating an intense amount of wear and tear on East Trent Avenue, which is designated as Highway 290.”
The port of entry is located at Interstate 90 at the state line and can be avoided by truckers using Trent.
The bill is also highly endorsed by officials of the city of Spokane and Spokane County, who have heard from residents in the Greenacres area that semitrailers can often be seen crowding Barker Road. Detractors say the situation is dangerous for pedestrians, as well as bad for the roadways.
Shea also says there is another concern: disease.
“The first U.S. case of mad cow disease was discovered in 2003 involving an infected Holstein cow at a Mabton dairy farm. That cow had been transported into Washington from Canada,” Shea said. “If Canadian cattle truck operators are avoiding the port of entry inspections, we have no way of knowing whether sick animals are being transported into our state. That creates serious concerns for our food supply.
“This bill provides for the enforcement of inspections to ensure the safety of in-state cattle herds and another tool to keep our food supply safe.”