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House Committee Approves Legislation to Reduce Frivolous Lawsuits

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee approved a SEMA-supported bill that would require federal judges to impose monetary sanctions against lawyers who file frivolous lawsuits. Under current law, federal judges are allowed, but not required, to impose penalties.

Federal Reserve Limits Debit Card Fees

The Federal Reserve Board issued a final rule to limit swipe fees imposed on retailers when accepting debit card payments at $.21 per transaction, effective October 1, 2011. Banks and payment processors may also charge $.01–$.03 more to cover fraud prevention and other adjustments, bringing the total potential fees to $.24.

EPA Issues E15 Fuel Pump Labeling Rule

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will require an orange-and-black label be placed on fuel pumps dispensing gasoline with 15% ethanol (E15).

House Panel Considers the Benefits of Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation

A House Natural Resources Subcommittee recently held a hearing entitled, “Opportunities for Outdoor Recreation on Public Lands.” The main topics of discussion were protecting recreational access to federal lands and recognizing the economic benefits derived from such activities. Witnesses included representatives from the BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC), National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC), Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition and other OHV organizations. The hearing included testimony in support of multiple-use federal lands and responsible OHV recreation.

IRS Increases Mileage-Rate Deduction to Reflect High Gas Prices

Soaring gas prices caused the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to increase the standard business-mileage deduction by $.045, from $.51 to $.55½ for all business miles driven between July 1 and December 31, 2011. It is unusual for the IRS to make a mid-year adjustment.

U.S. House Approves Major Patent Law Changes

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved legislation to overhaul the federal patent system. The Senate passed a slightly different version of the bill last March. The two bills must now be reconciled into a single measure. President Obama has indicated his support for the reform measures. 

Driving Force Recognized in International Competition

The SEMA Action Network’s (SAN) monthly legislative newsletter, Driving Force, took home the gold medallion in the “Best Single Issue: Newsletter” category during the 20th International Automotive Media Awards, which took place June 20 at the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan.

Bill to Provide for One-Time Historic Vehicle Registration Fee Approved by New York Senate

SEMA-supported legislation to provide historical vehicle owners a one-time registration fee of $100 upon initial registration was passed by the New York Senate. The bill will now be considered by the Assembly Transportation Committee.

California Bill to Require Small-Business Representative on Air Resources Board Approved by Senate Committee

Legislation that would give small-business owners a voice on the California Air Resources Board (CARB) was passed by the Senate Environmental Quality Committee and sent to the Senate Appropriations Committee. The bill has already been passed by the California Assembly. Introduced by Assemblymember Curt Hagman, who represents the Diamond Bar district in which SEMA headquarters is located, the bill would create a requirement for one CARB member to be a current owner of a small business.

New York Assembly Passes Resolution Proclaiming July 8 as Collector Car Appreciation Day in the State

The New York State Assembly has approved a resolution to memorialize July 8, 2011, as Collector Car Appreciation Day in the State of New York, in conjunction with National Collector Car Appreciation Day. The effort was sponsored by New York Assemblymember Bill Reilich, who has served the automotive hobbyist community for the past four years as national chairman of the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus.
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