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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on March 27 signed legislation establishing minimum two-person train crews on certain railroads.
H.B. 1841 authorizes the state's Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) to issue fines for violations. Although the legislation called for the requirement to take effect immediately, Inslee vetoed that section of the bill to give the UTC time to develop rules governing the new law.
Rail labor organizations supported the legislation.
"It is the trained professionals in the cab — in concert with technology — who oversee and safeguard railroad operating practices," said Shahraim Allen, chairman of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen's (BLET) Washington state legislative board. "It is up to locomotive engineers and conductors to readily identify and correct problems — before they occur."
Washington is the latest state to enact a two-person crew bill. In 2019, governors in Illinois, Nevada and Colorado signed similar bills, BLET officials said.