Industry Advocate

SEMA News—August 2012

LEGISLATIVE AND TECHNICAL AFFAIRS

Industry Advocate

How SEMA Represents Members as a Government Watchdog

 


U.S. Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) met with Ernie Silvers (CEO, center) and Bob Egge (president, right) of Egge Machine Co. & Speed Shop
U.S. Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) met with Ernie Silvers (CEO, center) and Bob Egge (president, right) of Egge Machine Co. & Speed Shop as part of SEMA’s Congressional Site Visit program, one of the many member benefits offered through the SEMA Government Affairs office.

 


 


The laws and regulations that govern how SEMA members do business have a growing impact on the way automotive specialty equipment is made, distributed and marketed. SEMA has been a strong industry advocate on legislative and regulatory policies since its founding in 1963. SEMA continues to pursue federal, state and local laws that are limited, reasonable and, ultimately, help our members’ businesses succeed and prosper.

“Our members work hard to develop their products and run their businesses,” said Steve McDonald, SEMA vice president of government affairs. “In turn, our office works hard to help them thrive in the marketplace. We are there to intervene on legislative and regulatory issues, since it is nearly impossible for a company—particularly a small business—to stay on top of every relevant state and federal matter.”

The SEMA staff in Washington, D.C., tracks and analyzes legislation and regulations, both state and federal, and then advocates positions to public officials on behalf of member companies. In addition to opposing bills that would potentially harm the automotive hobby or hinder SEMA-member companies, the staff proactively pursues opportunities to enact pro-industry initiatives.

State Legislation: SEMA staff works with state legislators to overhaul existing statutes and create brand-new programs that safeguard and expand the automotive specialty-equipment industry. Over the years, the state legislative program has brought a series of significant legislative and regulatory accomplishments for the industry and the vehicle-enthusiast community on issues ranging from equipment standards and registration and titling classifications to emissions-test exemptions and hobbyist rights.

State Caucus: 2012 marks the seventh anniversary of the founding of the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus, a bipartisan group of state lawmakers with a passion for automobiles. In its daily efforts to promote and protect the auto hobby, SEMA partners with caucus members from across the country to raise the motor-vehicle hobby’s profile in the state legislatures and in the public’s eyes. The caucus now includes almost 600 state legislators from all 50 states.

Federal Legislation: SEMA is involved in a wide variety of issues on Capitol Hill that impact the industry, from low-volume vehicle manufacturing to E15 ethanol. Other legislative priorities include saving the Bonneville Salt Flats (Utah) and ensuring off-road access to Johnson Valley (California), providing affordable access to health care coverage and tackling energy and environmental issues in a fashion that takes jobs, safety, consumer choice and technology into consideration. SEMA also continues to pursue tax relief and structural tax reforms that will spur economic growth.

 

SEMA has been a strong industry advocate on legislative and regulatory policies since its founding in 1963. SEMA continues to pursue federal, state and local laws that are limited, reasonable and, ultimately, help our members’ businesses succeed and prosper.

 


 


Federal Agencies: On the regulatory front, the government affairs office works with a number of agencies that have jurisdiction over the marketing of automotive equipment. Among others, these include the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Trade Commission. A wide range of topics includes laws and regulations governing tires, wheels, lighting, emissions, workplace safety, labor law, antitrust and intellectual property protection.

SEMA Action Network: The SEMA Action Network (SAN) is a partnership of vehicle clubs and enthusiasts who unite to protect their hobby. With the support of more than 61,000 individual contacts, including 22,000-plus car clubs and 250-plus publications, the SAN has an estimated reach of 36 million enthusiasts in the United States and Canada. These members have been extremely effective in amplifying SEMA’s political voice on issues affecting the automotive specialty-equipment industry.

Congressional Caucus: Founded in 1996, the Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus is a coalition of lawmakers who love cars and recognize the importance of the industry to America. These members of Congress help raise the profile of the automotive specialty-equipment industry in Washington and around the country.

Political Action Committee: The SEMA Political Action Committee (SEMA PAC) is a vital component of the SEMA legislative program. SEMA PAC helps support candidates for Congress on both sides of the aisle who support our industry. Through SEMA PAC, individual SEMA members can pool their resources to give the industry a larger cumulative voice on Capitol Hill.

Congressional Visits: Under this initiative, SEMA’s congressional relations staff facilitates meetings with a U.S. representative or senator at a SEMA-member facility. Other SEMA members in that district are invited to participate in roundtable discussions on topics of interest to the individual companies and the industry. There have been 14 such events in the last two years.

Get Involved: While the various components of the SEMA government affairs program have resulted in great success for the industry, it is essential that all SEMA-member companies and their employees be involved as well. You can stay current on the latest laws and regulations affecting the automotive aftermarket industry by visiting www.SEMA.org and clicking on the “government affairs” link.

Contacting your lawmaker about bills in your state legislature or in the U.S. Congress is vital to our success. Lawmakers really do listen to their constituents—so does the SEMA government affairs staff.