Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Rick Perry's rural legend

Will this tractor driver need a commercial drivers license to cross a street?
Will this tractor driver need a commercial drivers license to cross a street?

It's the latest outrage about excessive federal regulation: The government, critics say, wants to require farmers to have a commercial drivers license even if they're just driving their tractors across a public road.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry mentioned it during a speech at an Iowa dinner on Aug. 14, 2011: "Now you tell me whether this is true or not. But one of my fellas just told me, he said that they're talking about a new regulation that if you drive your tractor ... across one public road, you're going to have to have a commercial driver's license. Get out of here! You're kiddin' me. I mean, what are they thinking?"

The former cotton farmer and Texas agriculture commissioner sounded more certain by the next morning, saying in remarks excerpted on CNN’s Aug. 15 "Newsroom": "Let me give you just a — this is such an obscene, crazy regulation. They want to make — if you are a tractor driver, if you drive your tractor across a public road, you are going to have to have a commercial driver's license. Now, how idiotic is that?"

PolitiFact Texas checked this out. We rated Perry's claim False.