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  • 2023 Kentucky Autonomous Vehicles Bill Defeated
    Posted On: Mar 22, 2023

    Thanks to the combined efforts of many Teamster members in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, House Bill 135 concerning autonomous vehicles was defeated in the Senate Transportation Committee meeting last week. A last-ditch effort to attach the language to an unrelated bill on the Senate floor on the final day of the session was also defeated.

    House Bill 135 was of great concern to the Teamsters as well as other unions across Kentucky. With autonomous technology still in its infancy, there is a significant risk to public safety to have such vehicles traveling on the road alongside citizens during their daily commutes. The fact that this bill would have also allowed semi-trucks towing thousands of pounds to be completely autonomous was a terrifying thought. Just one wrong calculation from an autonomous semi-truck could easily result in a wreck that could do thousands of dollars in damages, not to mention the potential for a tragic loss of life to other drivers on the road. Beyond the significant safety risks, autonomous vehicles pose a direct threat to the jobs of thousands of men and women across Kentucky. Were this technology to begin eliminating jobs it would have a disastrous effect on our economy and devastate the livelihoods of countless Americans.

    “This bill was defeated by a split vote in the Senate Transportation Committee,” said Local 89 Political Director Bill Miller. “We’d like to thank Republican Senators Wheeler, Turner and Smith, and Democratic Senators Berg and Yates for supporting our members in this important vote.”

    A significant amount of groundwork went into ensuring this bill was defeated in committee, involving many Teamster Locals, members, and other unions across Kentucky. Local 89’s Miller and steward Steve Ruoff testified during the committee hearing alongside Kentucky State AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan. Earlier in March dozens of union staff and members met with various legislators to oppose HB 135 including Local 89 Stewards John Fackler, Jeff Rodgers, Daniel Cartmill and Steve Ruoff, and Local 89 staff Bill Miller, Cody Hibbard and Rick Stevens. Teamster Locals 236 in Paducah and 651 in Lexington also joined the effort, sending officers, staff, and members to Frankfort to discuss the bill with state officials.

    Thanks to these combined efforts, Kentucky’s roads will continue to remain free of autonomous vehicles for another year.

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