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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.

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.

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 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.

SEMA Councils Respond to SEMA PAC Challenge

SEMA is holding a “Council Challenge” contest from August 1 to October 8, 2010 to further expand the awareness of SEMA PAC (Political Action Committee). The contest is limited to council Select Committee members. The council with the highest total contributions and 100% “PAC-approved” Select Committee membership will be the winner. The grand prize includes $1,000 to be used toward a council project, recognition and special seating at the Industry Awards Banquet at the SEMA Show and other high-visibility acknowledgements.

Congress Fails to Enact Small-Business Relief Bill

The U.S. Senate was unable to agree on a SEMA-supported bill (H.R. 5297) to provide smaller banks with access to $30 billion in funds intended to be loaned to small businesses. While the Senate may reconsider the measure, the defeat meant that the House of Representatives would not consider the bill in the near future since House members will be working in their home districts during August. During the debate, SEMA sent a letter urging the Senate to also repeal a requirement that taxpayers with business income issue 1099 forms to all vendors from whom they buy more than $600 of goods or services in any year, beginning in 2012.

Congress Pursues Legislation to Outline a National Manufacturing Strategy

The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the “National Manufacturing Strategy Act” (H.R. 4692), which would make manufacturing a top priority for Congress and the administration. This SEMA-supported legislation is intended to promote government policies to foster economic growth, increase employment and productivity, and expand exports for the nation’s manufacturing sector. The legislation would establish a public-private advisory board to make policy recommendations to the president on how to achieve short- and long-term goals and report its findings to Congress.
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