Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has declared what was described as a supply chain state of emergency, thus becoming the first governor to respond in such a manner to a state’s supply chain challenges.
Kemp’s executive order, which goes into effect Saturday and runs until May 16, bans price gouging on goods and services such as diesel fuel and gasoline. It allows trucks with a gross vehicle weight — tractor, trailer and freight — of up to 95,000 pounds and with a maximum width of 10 feet to operate on Georgia’s state and local roads. The state’s current gross vehicle weight limit is 80,000 pounds and the maximum width of a five-axle truck is 8 feet, 5 inches.
The order, issued Thursday, doesn’t apply to trucks operating on the parts of the interstate highway system that run through Georgia.
Vehicles with widths exceeding 8 feet, 6 inches and traveling “after daylight” need to be equipped with escort or amber lights if operating on a two-lane road and with a “vehicle rear escort” when traveling on a four-lane highway, according to Kemp’s order. The order also appears to give state safety officials leeway to grant special operating permits to oversize vehicles.
There was an unsuccessful attempt in California late last year to force Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency. Newsom issued an executive order in October to address the state’s supply chain problems, but he didn’t invoke the state’s emergency powers.
It is unclear as to what practical economic impact the order will have. Kemp, a Republican, is up for reelection this fall and may be trying to demonstrate to voters that he is responding to the state’s supply chain challenges.
Kemp faces a tough primary challenge from former Sen. David Perdue, who was defeated by Jon Ossoff in the 2020 general election. Should Kemp survive that battle, he will likely face Stacey Abrams, the odds-on Democratic gubernatorial candidate who narrowly lost to Kemp in 2018.