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Both houses of the Wisconsin Legislature have approved a Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation-backed bill that makes changes to the state's laws regarding the use of farm machinery on roadways.

Senate Bill 448, authored by State Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) and State Representative Keith Ripp (R-Lodi), is the third bill regarding implements of husbandry (IOH) to be addressed by the Legislature in the last two years. The two previous bills were signed into law in April of 2014 and 2015.

'Senate Bill 448, like its predecessor, addresses some issues that are more technical in nature as we strive to make this law work in a practical manner,' explained Rob Richard, Wisconsin Farm Bureau's Senior Director of Governmental Relations.

The State Assembly approved the bill by a voice vote on February 9. The bill now moves to the governor's desk for his signature.

Some of the major provisions in bill are:

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.

The definition of farm tractor has been updated to reflect recent changes in statutory language from the two previous IOH bills.

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 true movement between or among farms, fields, agricultural storage or processing facilities, locations where an IOH or Ag-CMV is stored (i.e. custom operators or agricultural cooperatives), or any combination of these.

Three specific changes have been made to the statutes governing the definition and use of the slow moving vehicle (SMV) sign.

'We believe these changes better reflect the true purpose of the SMV sign, to indicate the slow moving speed of a vehicle and nothing else,' Richard said.

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 to instead permit the registration exemption for 'testing, maintenance, and storage purposes.'

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 the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. This was understood, but it will now be expressly written out in statutes.

For the movement of IOH within a 75-mile radius from implement dealer to farmer or vice versa, the statutes are clarified with regard to the operation, towing or transport of IOH.

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.

The bill allows 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.

'For example, if a custom operator has a fleet of 10 terragators and they are all the exact same vehicle, the maintaining authority must accept one application for those vehicles and any no fee permit that is issued to the operator/owner can be copied and utilized in all the vehicles listed on the application,' Richard explained.

A full analysis of the changes are available at: http://bit.ly/ioh3-0.

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