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  • California Challenges Federal Preemption of Meal and Rest Break Laws

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    February 22, 2019
      Erika Pickles for CalChamber
     

    California’s Labor Commissioner is challenging a recent Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) determination that federal law preempts California’s meal and rest break rules for certain truck drivers.

    On December 21, 2018, the FMCSA issued a determination of preemption, in which it concluded that federal law (49 U.S.C. 31141(c)) preempts California’s meal and rest break rules as they apply to property-carrying commercial motor vehicle drivers covered by the FMCSA’s hours of service (HOS) regulations.

    In its decision, the FMCSA determined that California’s meal and rest break rules:

    • Are laws on commercial motor vehicle safety;
    • Are more stringent than the FMCSA’s HOS regulations;
    • Have no safety benefits that extend beyond those already provided by federal law;
    • Are incompatible with the federal HOS regulations; and
    • Cause an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce.

    The California Labor Commissioner filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on February 6, 2019, asking the court to review and reverse the FMCSA’s determination on the grounds that federal law does not preempt California’s meal and rest break laws.

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