Legislative Quick Hits






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Publication: National Dragster
Date published: April 6, 2012

Colorado emissions exemption: Legislation that originally sought to extend the emissions inspection exemption to vehicles that are eight model years old and newer was amended and approved by the Senate Transportation Committee, but action on the bill was indefinitely suspended by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Under the amendment, the bill now would provide the exemption to vehicles six model years old and newer. Current law only exempts vehicles that are four model years old or newer. Even with the amendment, this is still a bill worthy of support.

Connecticut antique/rare/specialinterest motor vehicles: The SEMA Action Network is opposing legislation to increase the age requirement for vehicles eligible for registration as "antique, rare, or special-interest motor vehicles." Under the bill, vehicles seeking registration as antique, rare, or special-interest motor vehicles would be required to be at least 30 years old. Currently, vehicles 20 years old or older are eligible for this status and special license plates. For the purpose of property taxes, the bill also increases the maximum assessment of these vehicles from $500 to $2,000.

Hawaii Collector Car Appreciation Day: Resolutions have been introduced in the Hawaii House of Representatives and Senate seeking recognition by the state for July 13, 2012, as Collector Car Appreciation Day. Earlier this year, the SAN announced this date to mark the third commemoration in what has become an annual event to raise awareness of the vital role automotive restoration and collection plays in American society. The SAN is again working to secure a U.S. Congressional resolution to recognize the day's significance. In the previous two years, thousands of Americans have gathered at car cruises, parades, and other events to celebrate our nation's automotive heritage. The SAN is maintaining a list of scheduled events to commemorate America's timetested love affair with the automobile. Individuals, car clubs, and business owners interested in publicizing events should contact Colby Martin, san@sema.org.

Illinois ethanol: The Illinois House Revenue & Finance Committee will consider legislation allowing the state's Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity to provide information to gas stations encouraging the stations to offer E15 as an option for customers. The bill also allows the department to provide information to gas stations on any financial assistance that may be available to subsidize the cost of providing E15 blended fuel to consumers. The bill was introduced despite the fact that a bill is moving through the U.S. House of Representatives that would require the National Academy of Sciences to further analyze the effects of E15 on engines and other components before the EPA can permit its sale.

New Jersey street rods and custom vehicles: A version of SEMA-model legislation to create a vehicle registration classification for street rods and replica custom vehicles and provide for special license plates for these vehicles was reintroduced in the New Jersey Assembly. Last year, comparable legislation was not enacted into law in New Jersey prior to the legislature's adjournment. The bill defines a street rod as an altered vehicle manufactured before 1948 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 the body of the vehicle most closely resembles.

Utah vintage travel trailers: A SAN-supported bill to create a statutory definition of a "vintage travel trailer" and provide for a one-time $40 registration fee was approved by the Utah Senate and now moves to the governor for his signature and enactment into law. The bill has already been approved by the House of Representatives. Under the bill, vintage travel trailers would also be eligible for a special group license plate and would be exempted from wheel cover, mudguard, flap, or splash-apron requirements.

Virginia license tax: Legislation that originally threatened to provide localities with the authority to raise from $100 to $500 the amount charged for an annual license tax for vehicles that do not display current license plates was approved by the Virginia Senate and now has been sent back to the House for concurrence. A previous version of the bill had already been passed by the House. The SAN has since negotiated an additional amendment to the bill that now totally exempts from the license tax all vehicles and parts cars that are stored on private property for the purpose of restoration or repair. Vehicles stored within a structure would remain exempted from the tax.

West Virginia aftermarket exhaust systems: SEMA-model legislation that would allow vehicle hobbyists to install and use aftermarket modified exhaust systems that meet a 95-decibel limit was passed by the House Roads & Transportation Committee. The bill must now be approved by the Judiciary Committee before moving to the House floor for a vote by all members. Current West Virginia law only allows a muffler originally installed by the manufacturer or an equivalent. Among other things, the bill would remove subjective provisions in the law and force compliance with an objectively measured standard while benefitting consumers, the aftermarket industry, and police officers who are charged with enforcing the law.

West Virginia ethanol: The West Virginia House of Delegates has introduced a concurrent resolution urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to revoke its decision to allow the sale of gasoline with 15 percent ethanol (E15) until there is clear and convincing scientific evidence that E15 does not pose a risk to any gasoline-powered vehicle or equipment. The SAN is supporting the resolution.

West Virginia property tax: A SANsupported bill to provide owners of antique and classic motor vehicles with a cap on property taxes paid on these vehicles was passed by the Senate Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. Having already passed in the West Virginia House of Representatives, the bill will now be considered by the Senate Finance Committee. The bill would value antique and classic motor vehicles for property taxes at $1,000. At the most costly rate in West Virginia (approximately 3 percent), the actual property tax paid by antique or classic motor vehicle owners at the $1,000 value would only be about $30 per year.

Wisconsin motor vehicle registrations: Legislation has been introduced in the Wisconsin Assembly to provide legal registration to hobby vehicles with a clear title, required safety equipment, and in good working order. Under the bill, these registrations would be available to owners regardless of the vehicle's color, former owner, or previous uses. Identical legislation has already been introduced in the Senate and will be considered in the Transportation Committee. The bills ensure that all vehicles, including ones that predate Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) or are specifically exempted from them, are not denied registration or forced into a highly restrictive registration class for non-compliance with FMVSS. This includes pre-1968 vehicles, imports, kit cars, government surplus vehicles, etc.

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