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Publication: National Dragster
Date published: March 19, 2010

IOWA ANTIQUES: The SEMA Action Network (SAN) is supporting Iowa legislation that would allow owners of antique vehicles to register limiteduse vehicles for a reduced fee. Under the measure, owners who agree to use their vehicles for hobbyist purposes and occasional transportation (not to exceed 1,000 miles annually) would be charged an annual $5 fee. All other owners of antique vehicles would be charged a standard $70 fee for a twoyear registration.

KANSAS INOPERABLE VEHICLES: Legislation that would allow cities to enforce "nuisance abatement" procedures by notifying affected property owners by use of first-class mail instead of certified mail (with a return receipt) has been introduced in the Kansas Legislature. Nuisance abatement laws are often used by cities to force removal of inoperable vehicles, including parts cars, stored on private property by car collectors. In opposing the bill, the SAN has argued that certified mail with a signed receipt provides proof that a property owner has been properly alerted to a future enforcement action.

NEBRASKA ABANDONED VEHICLES: Legislation that would have expanded the definition of "abandoned motor vehicle" to include vehicles that were left unattended for more than six hours on private property without valid plates, title, or permit will not be considered in the 2010 legislative session. The bill also sought to include vehicles that are inoperable, partially dismantled, wrecked, junked, or discarded. Under current law, a vehicle is not considered to be abandoned on private property until it is left unattended for more than seven days. Motor vehicles are defined as abandoned for the purpose of allowing state and local authorities to remove them from private property. Given the opposition raised by the SAN and the Nebraska vehicle hobbyist community, the bill sponsor will make a series of amendments to protect hobbyists before he reintroduces the legislation next year.

NEW JERSEY STREET RODS: New Jersey has reintroduced SEMAmodel legislation to create a vehicle registration classification for street rods and custom vehicles and provide for special license plates for these vehicles. In the 2009 legislative session, the bill was approved by the New Jersey Senate Transportation Committee but not considered by the full Senate prior to adjournment. The bill defines a street rod as an altered vehicle manufactured before 1949 and a custom as an altered vehicle at least 25 years old and manufactured after 1948. The bill allows kit cars and replica vehicles to be assigned a certificate of title bearing the same model-year designation as the body of the vehicle it most closely resembles.

NEW JERSEY HISTORIC VEHICLES: The SAN is again supporting legislation to allow historic vehicles to be used for pleasure driving one day a week. The bill did not receive committee consideration last session. Under current law, owners of properly registered historic motor vehicles are permitted to operate them solely for exhibition and educational purposes. In order to be designated as historic, a vehicle must be at least 25 years old and owned as a collector's item.

OHIO STREET RODS/CUSTOM VEHICLES: SEMA-model legislation to create a vehicle registration and titling classification for street rods and custom vehicles and provide for special license plates for these vehicles is pending before the Ohio House Transportation Committee. The bill defines a street rod as an altered vehicle manufactured before 1949 and a custom as an altered vehicle at least 25 years old and manufactured after 1948. The bill allows kit cars and replica vehicles to be assigned a certificate of title bearing the same modelyear designation that the body of the vehicle was constructed to resemble.

UTAH EXHAUST: A substitute bill to ban the use of most aftermarket exhaust systems has been introduced in the Utah Legislature and is being actively opposed by the SAN. Under the substitute bill, all vehicles must be equipped with an exhaust system that is "installed by the original manufacturer of the vehicle and is not modified, or that meets specifications equivalent to the muffler installed by the original manufacturer of the vehicle and is not modified." Among other things, the substitute bill ignores the fact that aftermarket exhaust systems are designed to make vehicles run more efficiently without increasing emissions; does not supply law enforcement with a clear standard to enforce, allowing them to make subjective judgments on whether or not a modified exhaust system is in violation; and would make it difficult for hobbyists to replace factory exhaust systems with more durable, better-performing options.

VIRGINIA EXHAUST NOISE: At the SAN's urging, the House Transportation Committee rejected a bill to ban the sale of "any aftermarket exhaust system component" that would cause the vehicle to produce "excessive or unusual noise." The SAN recommended that Virginia adopt reasonable noise decibel limits for modified exhaust systems that can be verified through an easy-toadminister test standard. In California, for example, a SANsupported provision is made for the testing of vehicle exhaust noise to a standard adopted by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) to an established noise limit of 95 decibels (SAE J1169). To date, this procedure has been enacted in California, Washington state, Maine, and Montana.

WASHINGTON STATE SCRAPPAGE: The SAN again helped turn back legislation in the Washington Legislature that would have implemented a vehicle scrappage program for passenger vehicles more than 15 years old. Given the outcry of SEMA and members of the Washington vehicle hobbyist community, the House Finance Committee chose not to consider the bill before the cutoff deadline. Under the bill, qualifying vehicles would have had to be registered for a 24- month period and in satisfactory operating condition. Replacement vehicles purchased under the plan would have been required to have an EPA highway gasoline mileage rating of at least 30 miles per gallon. Participants in the program were to be granted a sales tax exemption for the first $2,000 of tax paid on the purchase price. All trade-in vehicles would have been destroyed, regardless of their historical value or collector interest.

WEST VIRGINIA ANTIQUES: The SAN is again supporting legislation that would exclude owners of antique cars from the scope of vehicles required to pay any taxes or fees related to the registration or titling of these vehicles. In the last session, the bill did not receive committee consideration before the legislature adjourned for the year.

WEST VIRGINIA EXHAUST NOISE: The SAN is again opposing legislation to provide that the noise from a motor-vehicle exhaust system deemed "disturbing or unreasonably loud" constitutes disturbing the peace. The bill did not receive committee consideration in the last session before the legislature adjourned for the year. ND

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