HARRISBURG, Pa. (WETM) – Two Republican state senators from rural districts in Pennsylvania have introduced a new bill that would exempt milk haulers from travel bans during states of emergency.

Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23), whose district includes Tioga and Bradford Counties, and Sen. Judy Ward (R-30) from southern-central Pa. introduced Senate Bill 153 on April 26, and it was later approved by the Senate Transportation Committee. It will then go to the full Senate for discussion.

The bill would allow people driving milk trucks to get permission from their local governments to drive 24/7 to or from a milk plant or dairy farm, “except during inclement weather as defined in department regulations”. In order to be allowed to drive even during disaster declarations, the milk trucks would have to be properly licensed with a decal from the Pa. Milk Marketing Board and can’t be over 95,000 lbs.

Yaw and Ward said they’ve heard from local dairy farmers about having to dump milk when bad weather hits because they’re not allowed to drive.

“While I appreciate the concerns raised around the operation of commercial vehicles during travel restrictions, an exception for milk hauling is necessary because of the perishable nature of the product,” said Yaw. “Milking schedules can’t be changed to comply with weather or travel restriction.”

“There is a small window for milk to be transported before it perishes. When travel bans prevent milk haulers from operating, dairy farmers are forced to dispose of their product as cows continue to produce milk regardless of the weather,” Ward said. “Losing an entire day of revenue is extremely hard for dairy farmers who are already suffering due to unrelenting inflation and a tough economic climate, and this legislation helps to ensure farmers can continue to get their product to market and stay profitable.”