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Eight Members of Congress Join Bipartisan Coalition Supporting the Industry and Hobby

More members of Congress than ever are aligning themselves with the Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus, a bipartisan group of federal lawmakers on Capitol Hill established to raise awareness of the economic importance of the automotive specialty-equipment industry.

Help Stop the EPA From Raising Ethanol Content in Gasoline

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is under pressure from some ethanol producers to raise the ethanol content in gasoline from 10% (E10) to 15% (E15). The EPA is expected to issue a decision later this month on allowing the use of E15 in late-model cars. It could permit the use in other cars at a later date. SEMA opposes the initiative due to concerns that the additional content will harm automobiles of all ages, including special-interest collector and historic vehicles.

Hearing Scheduled on Wisconsin Proposal to Restrict Imported Collector Car Registrations

A hearing to consider the Wisconsin-proposed regulation, Chapter Trans 123, to prohibit the registration of certain imported vehicles has been scheduled for Wednesday, September 22.

Government Proposes New Fuel Economy Labels for New Cars

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) intend to expand the mileage rating information contained on a new-car window label. The regulators want to make this information more evident by including graphics, increasing type size and providing CO2 emissions information. In this fashion, buyers may focus more attention on these issues when considering a new-car purchase.

Wisconsin Proposes to Restrict Registration of Imported Collector Cars

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has proposed a new regulation (Chapter Trans 123) to prohibit the registration of imported vehicles manufactured after 1967 that do not meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). U.S. law specifically exempts imported vehicles that are 25 years old and older from these safety standards. Trans 123 offers no such reasonable exemption.

Federal Government Pursues Unfair Trade Practices

The U.S. Department of Commerce unveiled 14 proposals to strengthen the enforcement of U.S. trade laws. The measures would focus on illegal import practices from non-market economies by tightening U.S. rules governing antidumping (AD) and countervailing duties (CVD). “Dumping” is when a manufacturer(s) in one country exports a product to another country at a price that is below its production costs or the price charged in its home market.  “Countervailing duties” are imposed when an investigation finds that a foreign country is subsidizing its exports and injuring the importing country’s domestic producers. The Commerce Department initiated 34 AD/CVD investigations in 2009 compared to 19 the previous year.

Feds Update Horizontal Merger Guidelines

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) revised the “Horizontal Merger Guidelines” to reflect changes in the way mergers are reviewed since the guides were last revised in 1992. Horizontal mergers are defined as two or more companies with similar product lines. The guides help antitrust regulators from the DOJ and FTC evaluate the likely competitive impact of mergers, distinguishing between potentially harmful mergers versus mergers that will be competitively beneficial or will likely have no competitive impact on the marketplace.

Employers Can Take Advantage of Tax Breaks to Hire Unemployed Workers

Under a SEMA-supported “jobs bill” enacted into law last March, private employers can claim tax credits if they hire someone in 2010 who has been out of work for at least 60 days. The federal government estimates the credit already applies to 4.5 million new workers hired between last February and May.

SEMA Members Discuss Industry Concerns With Senators and Representatives on Capitol Hill

As the political climate continues to evolve in advance of the 2010 elections, SEMA members arrived in Washington, D.C., for the biennial SEMA Washington Rally. On May 12, Rally participants met with the senators and representatives to discuss critical issues facing their businesses and the industry.

Read more about how the SEMA Washington Rally helps members of Congress better understand the specialty-equipment industry and provides SEMA members the opportunity to provide recommendations on how to address touch issues facing businesses and employees.

SEMA Street Rod and Custom Vehicle Bill Goes to Massachusetts Governor for Signature

A version of SEMA-model legislation (H.B. 4871) to create a vehicle registration classification for street rods, custom vehicles, replicas and specially constructed vehicles was passed by the Massachusetts State Legislature. The bill has been sent to the governor for his signature and enactment into law.
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