WHEREAS: although the Act was signed by the Governor on June 2, 1997, it will not become effective until August 15, 1997, pursuant to the provisions of Article III, 19 of the Louisiana Constitution of 1974;
WHEREAS: the Act authorizes the secretary of the Department of Transportation and development to issue, notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, annual special permits for the operation of trucks which haul agronomic or horticultural crops in their natural state, at a gross vehicle weight not to exceed 100,000 pounds, for the fee of $100 per permit, per year;
WHEREAS: the harvest season for many of Louisiana's agronomic and horticultural crops is in progress;
WHEREAS: as a result of the excessive amount of moisture caused by recent rains, if Louisiana's crops are not harvested and processed expeditiously, much of the 1997 harvest will be lost due to aflatoxin;
WHEREAS: to minimize the crop damage caused by aflatoxin, the recommended procedure is to harvest the crops as soon as possible and, without delay, dry the produce to below 15 percent moisture; and
WHEREAS: R.S. 32:387 provides for the issuance of special permits by the secretary of the Department of Transportation and Development when it is in the best interest of the state, due to unusual circumstances, to raise the gross weight limitation of vehicles or combination of vehicles from 80,000 pounds up to 100,000 pounds;
NOW THEREFORE I, M.J. "MIKE" FOSTER, JR., Governor of the State of Louisiana, by virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution and laws of the State of Louisiana, do hereby order and direct as follows:
SECTION 1: The secretary of the Department of Transportation and Development is authorized to issue special permits pursuant to R.S. 32:387, which shall be effective for a period of one year, to the operators of the vehicles that transport on Louisiana's state highway system Louisiana's agronomic and horticultural crops in their natural state. The special permits shall allow the operators of vehicles transporting said products a gross vehicle weight limitation, not to exceed 100,000 pounds, for any combination of vehicles having a minimum of 18 wheels and transporting said products. The permits shall not apply to the operation of vehicles on the Interstate Highway System.
SECTION 2: The fee for the permits shall be $100 per permit issued. The permits shall be processed in the same manner as the annual special permits issued for the hauling of sugarcane under R.S. 32:387.7.
SECTION 3: For violation of weight in excess of the special permit limitations which occur between the date the special permit is issued and August 14, 1997, the secretary of the Department of Transportation and Development may impose civil penalties pursuant to and consistent with the penalty provisions for violating the terms of a special permit issued under R.S. 32:387 and/or an annual permit issued under R.S. 32:387.7. For violations of weight in excess of the special permit limitations which occur on or after August 15, 1997, the secretary of the Department of Transportation and Development may impose a civil penalty of up to five cents per pound for each violation of the permit's limitations in accordance with the penalty provision set forth in R.S. 32:387.8.
SECTION 4: The last day that the secretary of the Department of Transportation and Development shall issue a special permit under the authority of this order is August 14, 1997.
SECTION 5: This order is effective upon signature of the governor and shall continue in effect until amended, modified, terminated, or rescinded by the governor, or terminated by operation of law.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have set my hand officially and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of Louisiana, at the Capitol, in the City of Baton Rouge, on this 18th day of July, 1997.
M.J. "Mike" Foster, Jr.
Secretary of State