KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Nearly three out of five companies responding to a survey by the University of Tennessee’s Global Supply Chain Institute think new federal regulations mandating rest time for truckers could lead to greater transportation costs.

The new hours-of-service rules from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which went into place July 1, are designed to improve driver safety by reducing truck driver fatigue.

The rules, which reduce the maximum number of weekly driving hours to 70 from 82 and mandate a 30-minute rest break prior to the eighth hour on duty, also could slow the transportation of products or force companies to add more truckers to the road, the researchers said.

The study surveyed 417 companies and found that 58% of expected an increase in their carrier rates. They anticipated passing on the costs to their customers in the long term.

This is not a realistic solution, said Mary Holcomb, an associate professor and the study’s author.

“In this economy, companies won’t want to damage the relationships with their customers by raising prices,” Holcomb said. “Carriers may be unable to absorb these increased costs, so companies will have to improve their operations in order to minimize their impact.”

Holcomb is the Niedert Supply Chain Fellow in the University of Tennessee’s Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management, which is based in the College of Business Administration.

Holcomb’s study identifies ways companies could mitigate those costs. She noted that some of those businesses are incorporating new initiatives.

“Many of them also will be a doubling down on efforts already underway,” she said.

Efforts to transport products more efficiently and control costs include the following:

Extending lead time for some customers.

Increasing customer delivery windows.

Improving shipment consolidation.

Increasing the use of “drop and hook,” which involves dropping a loaded trailer at a customer’s facility and hooking up and leaving with another loaded trailer.

The research also uncovered actions that many companies have yet to consider. Fewer than 5% of the polled companies planned to reduce costs by consolidating shipments with other companies.

“The logistics of coordinating shipping across companies is often too complex to sustain,” said Dean Vavalides, logistics analyst for Pilot Flying J who collaborated on the study. “It just requires too much synchronization.”

Holcomb added she was surprised to discover that so few companies plan on shifting transportation methods from truck to rail although research showed that long-haul moves have been the most impacted by the hours-of-service rule change.

Switching the long-haul moves from truck to rail could reduce the arrival time, she said.

The university’s Global Supply Chain Institute will conduct a follow-up study in mid-2014 on the long-term impact of the hours-of-service rules.

Holcomb’s concerns about the new regulations were shared by Duane Long, chairman of the Raleigh, N.C.-based Longistics.

Long called on Congress to support the TRUE Safety Act, a bill introduced by Reps. Richard Hanna, R-N.Y.; Tom Rice, R-S.C.; and Michael Michaud, D-Maine; to stay the new rules until an independent review can be completed.

“Drivers, motor carriers and researchers have identified and documented a clear and wide disparity from FMCSA’s rhetoric and trucking’s new, more costly operating reality,” Long said.

“Congress should postpone the effective date of these new provisions until the Government Accountability Office can objectively evaluate the data and methodology used by FMCSA,” he said.

From beat cops to cashiers to Gov. Nikki Haley, South Carolina’s newest gun manufacturer has received an “absolutely tremendous” amount of support since leaving Connecticut for The Palmetto State, according to the firm's CEO.

Josh Fiorini, CEO of PTR Industries, formerly of Bristol., Conn., told FoxNews.com that the firm’s new facility in Aynor, S.C., remains a week away from production, but 11 local employees began sorting inventory on Monday along with a team of training personnel from Connecticut. The manufacturer of military-style rifles announced in April that it intended to leave Bristol following the passage of gun-control legislation after the shooting deaths of 26 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown.

“In general, things are going very well,” Fiorini said Tuesday. “Basically, we’re just unpacking and training right now, but the building is coming together and we’re putting on the final touches. We’re all very excited.”

The company, which purchased its new 58,000-square-foot facility at a discounted price of $3 million and reportedly received an undisclosed amount of tax rebates, employed more than 40 employees in Connecticut and 21 of them will move to South Carolina. Fiorini said it will hire an additional 30 workers within the first quarter of 2014, with a goal of having 120 employees in 2017.

“The facility that we’re going to move into is fantastically better than the one we’re coming from,” he said. “It allows us to consolidate two facilities into one and it’s much more modern, allowing us to set up our line in a more efficient way and hopefully expand.”

Among its full-time positions, which include health care and dental plans, Fiorini said assembly line workers can earn up to $20 per hour depending on experience, while machine operators are paid up to $25 hourly. Salaries for engineers and managers, meanwhile, can reach $80,000, he said.

"It’s a big range,” he said. “And what we really want to do here is get to about 120 [employees] within three years and to be around 150 within five years.”

Roughly 2,000 people applied for 30 positions within the company in November, Fiorini said.

Bob Grabowski, a councilman in Horry County, was the company’s first hire in South Carolina back in October. Grabowski later joined PTR Industries as a full-time employee in December and now works as its purchasing manager. Grabowski said he was one of the early proponents for the move to a more “pro-gun” atmosphere, especially when compared to Connecticut.

“The political welcoming has been very good,” said Grabowski, adding that Hailey and Rep. Tom Rice supported the June announcement for the move. “It’s been a very exciting and welcoming atmosphere for PTR. My perception is that Connecticut wasn’t very welcoming to PTR Industries in general and legislated them out of business and out of the state, whereas the political climate in South Carolina is very different.”

Grabowski continued: “There’s a lot of people down here very excited about this place. Most people around here are very pro-gun.”

Lisa Bourcier, public information director for Horry County, told FoxNews.com that the county experienced a “good year” in job growth since PTR Industries announced its plans to join the Cool Springs Business Park near Aynor.

“Our area leaders think it's not too far-fetched to believe Horry County could very well be a major player in the gun manufacturing industry,” Bourcier said in an email to FoxNews.com. “The great thing is we have a council that's focused on economic development, and we're all working together to bring more jobs to our community.”

Fiorini, meanwhile, said the company will no longer feel like the “dirty little secret” it did in Connecticut.

“I have personally been able to get a very good feel from South Carolina, from the governor down to the local beat cops to your average citizen,” he said. “The welcoming has been tremendous. People on the street, cashiers at the gas station or the pizza place, or even TSA agents, they know who we are and they’re happy to have us. In Connecticut, we always felt like a dirty little secret. Down there, it’s very much the opposite.”

Magpul Industries, an ammunition magazine manufacturer, announced last week it plans to make good on its threat to leave Colorado due to new restrictions on guns, including the ban of ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds. The company, which employs roughly 250 people, will move its corporate headquarters to Texas.

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South Carolina's Seventh Congressional District, which includes just about the entire Grand Strand and Pee Dee, has been represented in congress for nearly one year now.

Representative Tom Rice was sworn into office in January 2013, and has been at the forefront of all the big political stories out of the House of Representatives in 2013.

He said one year isn't a lot of time to accomplish all of his goals as a congressman, but it has been long enough to get things started.

"The biggest thing we've accomplished so far is the water resources bill where we where we got language in the bill to allow for small ports like Georgetown to access federal funds for dredging. We also got language in the bill to allow ports like Charleston who don't have their permit yet to, once they get the permit, proceed with their own money and go back and as for federal reimbursement rather than wait for the federal government to approve it," Rice said.

Rice gained national attention this year after sponsoring a resolution nearly a month ago, that would compel congress to sue President Barack Obama for what he calls "Failure to faithfully execute the laws."

"If you have somebody who can pick and choose which law they want to enforce, that comes out to making the law. And that's more like a monarch than a president," Rice said.

There are 35 supporting signatures on that resolution right now, and Rice expects that number to grow once Congress returns from break.

Aside from the actions he's taken, the job has taught him a lot both personally and professionally.

"There are areas where everybody knows democrat, republican, president, congress. Everybody knows that need to be fixed. Even things we agree on, and the frustrating thing is we can't seem to make progress toward those things," Rice said.

Rice's main focus for 2014 is job creation. Using Horry County as an example of a county that's doing it right, his goal is to spread that both locally and nationally.

"If we could apply that same logic to the country, and put in place a few of these things I've mentioned, just imagine what that would mean to our economy," Rice said.

The Weekly Standard is reporting that Congressman Tom Rice of (R-SC) is sponsoring a resolution that would direct theHouse of representatives "to bring a civil action for declaratory or injunctive relief to challenge certain policies and actions taken by the executive branch."

The report on the Weekly Standard website says Rice wrote a letter to House members saying, "President Obama has adopted a practice of picking and choosing which laws he wants to enforce. In most cases, his laws of choice conveniently coincide with his Administration’s political agenda. Our Founding Fathers created the Executive Branch to implement and enforce the laws written by Congress and vested this power in the President. However, President Obama has chosen to ignore some of the laws written by Congress and implemented by preceding Presidents."

An aide for Rep. Rice told the Weekly Standard that "legal action against the President" would require the House to bring the president to court "for ignoring Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution, which reads:

He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper; he shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers; he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the officers of the United States.

The resolution, if adopted, would be a civil action and would not mean the president would be charged with a criminal offense. It reads as follows:

RESOLUTION

Directing the House of Representatives to bring a civil action for declaratory or injunctive relief to challenge certain policies and actions taken by the executive branch.

Whereas President Obama and officials in his administration have frequently overstepped the limits placed on executive branch power by the Constitution;

Whereas because of President Obama’s continuing failure to faithfully execute the laws, his administration’s actions cannot be addressed by the enactment of new laws, be- cause Congress cannot assume that the President will execute the new laws any more faithfully than the laws he has already ignored, leaving Congress with no legislative remedy to prevent the establishment of what is in effect an imperial presidency; and

Whereas it is therefore necessary and appropriate for Congress to turn to the courts to ensure the faithful execution of the laws as required by the Constitution: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved,

SECTION 1. DIRECTING CIVIL ACTION BY HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IN RESPONSE TO CERTAIN EXECUTIVE BRANCH ACTIONS.

(a) CIVIL ACTION.—The House of Representatives shall bring a civil action in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia for declaratory or injunctive relief to challenge any of the following policies or actions:

(1) The policy of the Department of Health and Human Services that, with respect to health insurance coverage that is renewed for a policy year during the period beginning January 1, 2014, and ending October 1, 2014, health insurance issuers may continue to offer coverage that would otherwise be terminated or cancelled for being out of compliance with various requirements of title XXVII of the Public Health Service Act and corresponding portions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as announced by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services on November 14, 2013.

(2) The 1-year delay in the application of the reporting requirements of sections 6055 and 6056 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (and related requirements of section 4980H of such Code), as provided under Department of the Treasury Notice 2013–45, as announced by the Department of the Treasury on July 2, 2013.

(3) The policy of the Department of Homeland Security to exercise prosecutorial discretion with respect to individuals who came to the United States as children, as announced by the Department of Homeland Security on June 15, 2012.

(4) The authorization, approval, renewal, modification, or extension of any experimental, pilot, or demonstration project under section 1115 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1315) that waives compliance with a requirement of section 407 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 607) through a waiver of section 402 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 602).

(b) NO ADDITIONAL FUNDS PROVIDED TO BRING ACTIONS.—Any amounts obligated or expended by the House of Representatives to carry out this resolution during a fiscal year shall be derived from existing appropriations for salaries and expenses of the House for that fiscal year, and nothing in this resolution may be construed as authorizing an increase in the amount of budget authority available to the House for that fiscal year.

At this point 29 members of Congress are listed as co-sponsors of Rice's Resolution: Bachmann (MN-06), Bridenstine (OK-01), Chaffetz (UT-03), J. Duncan (SC-03), DeSantis (FL-06), Franks (AZ-08), Gowdy (SC-04), Harris (MD-01), Lamborn (CO-05), LaMalfa (CA-01), Marino (PA-10), McClintock (CA-04), Meadows (NC-11), Nunnelee (MS-01), Pittenger (NC-09), Posey (FL-08), Tom Price (GA-06), Ribble (WI-08), Salmon (AZ-05), Sanford (SC-01), Schweikert (AZ-06), Stewart (UT-02), Stockman (TX-36), Walberg (MI-07), Weber (TX-14), Wenstrup (OH-02), Williams (TX-25), Joe Wilson (SC-02), and Yoho (FL-03).

Headline edited Dec. 12, 2013 8:45 p.m.

December 12, 2013 1:49 PM

By: Daniel Halper