Bill would allow Katy officers to enforce commercial vehicle standards
The latest bill filed by State Rep. Gina Calanni could help local law enforcement take action when overweight vehicles travel city limits.
Calanni (D-District 132) filed House Bill 1308 would allow Katy police officers, among others, to apply for “certification to enforce commercial vehicle standards for overweight trucks” that pass through city limits. Similar legislation has passed in previous sessions.
“I’m proud to file this bill for the safety of Katy residents,” Calanni said in a news release. “Under HB 1308, Katy police officers will be able to carry out the same functions as DPS officers to enforce state safety standards for large, overweight trucks.”
The Texas Department of Public Safety is currently the only law enforcement agency in the area “authorized to enforce overweight commercial vehicle safety standards, but they do not have the resources to continually police downtown Katy.” In the most recent city budget, Calanni reported, the cost of the scales and training was already budgeted. No fiscal implication to state government would be anticipated.
“After Katy City Council voted unanimously last summer to support this type of legislation, we are grateful to Rep. Calanni for her efforts to make Katy roads safe for our residents and allow our officers to target enforcement at overweight trucks that damage our city’s infrastructure,” said Katy Council Member At-Large Chris Harris in a news release.
The bill carves out many conditions in which a city may qualify to apply for certification. In Katy’s case, it reads: “a municipality with a population of less than 75,000 that is located in three counties, at least one of which has a population greater than 3.3 million.”
Katy is located in Harris, Fort Bend and Waller counties. While its population is estimated about 18,000, Harris County’s population is about 4.6 million.
According to the Texas Transportation Code, fines for overweight trucks ranges from $100 to $10,000, depending on how many pounds overweight a truck may be. Overweight trucks also could damage roads, causing potholes or cracks.
Calanni added, “We have an obligation to give our local police every tool at their disposal to protect motorists on our roads and prevent road damage and potholes caused by overweight trucks. The goal of this bill is plain and simple: keep our roads safe.”