PA 08-121sSB 305

Select Committee on Veterans' Affairs

Transportation Committee

Planning and Development Committee

Appropriations Committee

Public Safety and Security Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING MILITARY TRANSPORTATION

SUMMARY: This act allows Connecticut National Guard members qualified to operate military or commercial motor vehicles (CMV) for federal military purposes without a commercial drivers license (CDL) to also operate them without a CDL while performing state military duty. By law, military personnel (including National Guard members) operating CMVs solely in connection with their federal military duties may do so without a CDL.

The act allows more U. S. Armed Forces members to qualify for an existing motor vehicle local property tax exemption. Under prior law, the exemption applied to one motor vehicle owned or leased by, or held in trust for, a member and garaged out-of-state. The act allows members to claim the exemption regardless of where they garage the vehicle. By law, a member must apply for the exemption in writing by December 31 following the property tax due date.

The act modifies an exemption from certain motor vehicle fines and fees currently available to certain armed forces members who did not renew their driver's license or vehicle registration or test their vehicle's emissions within deadlines. Prior law applied to active-duty personnel (including National Guard members called to active duty) who (1) lived in Connecticut and (2) were on federal active duty with the U. S. Armed Forces during Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield from August 7, 1990 until the end of hostilities, as determined by the President or state law. The act, instead, applies the exemption to service members performing state active service, instead of federal service. Specifically, it exempts the armed forces of any state (i. e. , the state's National Guard) called to active service in a state's armed forces. It similarly exempts members of any U. S. Armed Forces reserve component, but the act's legal effect in this case is unclear.

The act potentially shortens the time during which the exemption applies by setting the deadlines at 60 days after the service member is released from service instead of 60 days after he or she returns to Connecticut.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage for the late fee provisions; July 1, 2008 for the other provisions.

BACKGROUND

Operating Commercial Motor Vehicles Without CDL

Federal law requires states to exempt drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles for military purposes from CDL standards. The exception applies to active-duty military personnel; reservists; National Guard members on active duty, including personnel on full-time guard duty, part-time guard duty, and National Guard military technicians (civilians required to wear military uniforms); and active-duty U. S. Coast Guard personnel. The exception does not apply to U. S. Reserve technicians (49 CFR 383. 3(c)).

U. S. Armed Forces Reserve Component

The “reserve component” of the U. S. Armed Forces consists of reservists of each branch of the armed services. It also includes members of the National Guard, which is a reserve component of the regular army (32 USC 101). But only National Guard members may be called to active service in the armed forces of a state.

War Termination Date

PA 94-245 set the termination date for Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm as June 2, 1994. But PA 03-85 adopted the federal definition of the Persian Gulf War, which includes both operations (CGS 27-103). Federal law defines the Persian Gulf War as the period from August 2, 1990 until a date prescribed by the President or law (38 USC 101(33)). No end date has been prescribed.

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