Bill to fix problems with farm machinery on roadway law

The Brillion News

A bill to be introduced in the Assembly will address some remaining issues with the Implements of Husbandry (IOH) Law. This will be the third version of IOH that was acted on by the legislature in the last two years.

This latest version addresses many items that are technical in nature but still critically important to farmers operating machinery on Wisconsin’s roadways.

The legislation is scheduled to have a public hearing on Tuesday, December 8 at the Capitol. The bill will address the following issues:

1. Current law requires an implement dealer to disclose the axle weight(s) and gross vehicle weight of an implement upon sale. This bill further clarifies that the disclosure must be in writing and that the ‘unladen’ vehicle weight be disclosed at the point of sale.

2. The definition of farm tractor has been updated.

3. There are numerous references to ‘farm implement(s)’ in Chapter 347. Minor changes have been made throughout this chapter to reflect the use of the defined term ‘implement of husbandry.’

4. Changes several references in statutes of “from farm to field, from field to field or from farm to farm” to “to or from a farm-related destination” to capture the movement between or among farms, fields, agricultural storage or processing facilities.

5. Three specific changes have been made to the statutes governing the definition and use of the slow moving vehicle (SMV) sign. The changes reflect the true purpose of the SMV sign–to indicate the slow moving speed of a vehicle and nothing else. a. Updates to the language in s. 347.245 to clarify that an IOH must have an SMV sign, but it isn’t used to indicate the presence of a ‘wide’ IOH. b. An SMV sign will no longer be used as a marking instrument for the side of a vehicle in an agricultural train consisting of two implements of husbandry drawn by a motor truck, truck tractor or agricultural commercial motor vehicle. c. An operator will no longer be allowed to attach a yellow or amber light to the left rear of an IOH as a marking instrument in lieu of an SMV sign.

6. The 2015 Budget Act created a provision allowing a farm tractor to be exempt from registration for, among other things, “occasional personal use, but not for regular daily transportation.” This language is being deleted.

7. A differentiation date of January 1, 2014, was created in Act 377 to essentially separate ‘old’ equipment from ‘newer’ equipment for lighting and marking requirements. Originally, it was believed that there would be national standards in place by January 1, 2014, for equipment manufacturers with regard to lighting and marking. This has not happened, so all but one reference to ‘January 1, 2014’ has been deleted. This will be simpler for compliance and enforcement.

8. Federal law does not authorize an Ag-CMV that exceeds 8.5 feet in width to be operated on the interstate highway system unless it has an oversize permit from Wisconsin Department of Transportation. This was understood, but it will now be expressly written out in statutes.

9. For the movement of IOH within a 75-mile radius from an implement dealer to a farmer or vice versa, this bill clarifies statutes with regard to the operation, towing or transport of IOH.

10. The bill makes a correction in statutes going back to the grandfathering clause of the I-39 conversion. Unlimited width in the transport of IOH was never allowed on I-39. If an IOH being transported exceeds 8.5 feet in width it must have an oversize permit from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

11. The bill clarifies that if someone is transporting an IOH that exceeds 8.5 feet in width at times other than hours of darkness, they must have amber flashers activated to mark the lateral extremities of the IOH.

12. Similar to statute 348.05(2g) that governs the movement of IOH from an implement dealer to a farmer and vice versa, the bill grants this same ability to move Ag-CMVs.

13. Much like item 11, the bill grants the authority to transport an Ag-CMV that extends  12 feet in width without having to obtain an oversize permit. It specifies that it does not apply to the interstate highway system. It also specifies that an Ag-CMV being transported at times other than hours of darkness and exceeding 8.5 feet in width must have amber flashers to mark the lateral extremities of the Ag-CMV and they must be activated.

14. The bill closes a loophole that exists in which someone using the fall harvest weight exemption could get an additional 15 percent on top of the existing 15 percent increase for fall harvest if they are hauling under the Ag-CMV definition. This correction prevents that from happening.

15. The legislation will allow an applicant for a no fee permit to submit only one application for multiple IOH or Ag-CMVs if those vehicles listed in the application are identical.