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Keeping Pace With Legislative Trends

When we think of trends, undercarriage neon lighting, spinners and European-style taillamps spring to mind. Trends develop over time and contribute to movements in design, industry, fashion, entertainment and even legislation. In reacting to trends, legislatures tend to create many of their own. The following trends are currently being pursued by state legislatures across the country and on the national stage. These legislative and regulatory trends do more than create laws to which the industry must comply; they provide insight into underlying conditions that have fueled their creation.

Feds Set Fuel Standards for Heavy-Duty Trucks and Buses

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have established fuel-efficiency and carbon dioxide (CO2) standards for work trucks, buses and other medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

NHTSA Makes Technical Corrections to Rules Covering Lighting Equipment, Electric-Powered Vehicles and Event Data Recorders

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) amended several unrelated rules to address technical issues in response to industry requests.

Meet the State Lawmakers Passionate About Automobiles

In its daily efforts to promote and protect the auto hobby, SEMA continues to partner with state lawmakers from across the country through the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus. Celebrating its six-year anniversary, the caucus is a bipartisan group of state lawmakers whose common thread is a love and appreciation for automobiles.

SEMA's Regulatory and Legislative Priority List for 2011–2012

Vehicle Equipment Standards and Inspections: State policy makers continue to revise and update equipment and inspection standards—often with a bias toward the vehicle manufacturer’s original equipment, such as lighting, tires and wheels, suspension components and bumper/frame height. SEMA opposes arbitrary and unnecessarily restrictive equipment and inspection procedures.

Legislation Introduced in Congress to Require Collection of Sales Tax by Online Retailers

Identical bills have been introduced in the U.S. House and Senate to require companies that sell goods via the Internet and catalogs to collect sales tax in the same manner as “brick-and-mortar” retailers. The so-called “Main Street Fairness Act” would recognize the “Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement,” an ongoing initiative by state and local governments to address the collection of sales/use taxes. The agreement creates a system for companies to register with member states, collect and remit taxes and file one tax return for each state. To date, 44 states have worked to create the agreement and 24 states are participating members.

Hearing Held on SEMA-Supported Legislation to Open Lands without “Wilderness” Characteristics

A U.S. House Natural Resources Subcommittee held a hearing on the SEMA-supported “Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act of 2011.” The legislation would release 42 million acres of land from “wilderness” designations that have already been set aside as “wilderness study areas” (WSAs) or “inventoried roadless areas.”

New Car Labels to Have One Overall Consumer Safety Rating

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a final rule to create an overall vehicle rating based on the combined frontal, side and rollover crash ratings.

CARB Proposes Engine Certification Program for Specially Constructed Vehicles

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is considering a proposed rule that would allow OEM engines from previously certified, on-road vehicles to be installed in “specially constructed vehicles” (SCVs). Under the proposal, CARB officials would also create a program for certifying engines that are not from certified vehicles (e.g., crate engines).

Agreement Reached on Future Fuel-Economy Standards

The federal government, California regulators and auto industry representatives have agreed on fuel economy and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions limits for model year ’17–’25 vehicles. The fleetwide average will rise from 35.5 mpg at the end of ’16 to 54.5 mpg for model year ’25—a nearly 5% annual increase with slightly lower standards for light-duty trucks.
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