Legislation introduced in the Pennsylvania legislature threatens to
increase fees for all vehicle owners. Under the bill, general passenger
cars will face a $13 increase in their registration fee, while the
one-time registration fee for antique, classic and collectible vehicles
will go up by $27 (from $75 to $102), and the initial registration fee
for street rods by $29 (from $20 to $51). Additionally, these fees
would be increased again each subsequent year following enactment.
Government Affairs News
Legislation introduced in the Pennsylvania legislature threatens to
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is providing a one-year delay before
employers are required to report the dollar amount of the health
insurance premiums paid for each employee on their W-2s. The amount
will be listed as a nontaxable employer fringe benefit.
An important reminder to SEMA’s California membership: Please ask your
employees to vote “YES” on California Proposition 23 (Prop 23), an
initiative to suspend implementation of the state’s “Global Warming
Solutions Act of 2006.” Prop 23 is on the November 2 California
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
is updating its “Green Guides,” which are intended to help marketers
avoid misleading environmental claims. The Guides were first issued in
1992 but have not been revised since 1998. The Guides cover: 1)
general principles that apply to all environmental marketing claims; 2)
consumer perception of claims and marketing substantiation of claims;
and 3) avoiding consumer deception.
A Wisconsin-proposed regulation to prohibit the registration of certain
imported collector vehicles has been put on hold. Members of the
Senate Transportation Committee voted by ballot to send the proposed
rule, Trans 123, back to the Department of Transportation for revisions
due to the vocal opposition of Wisconsin enthusiast groups, including
members of the SEMA Action Network (SAN). Under an agreement reached with department
officials, the rule will not be resubmitted but will be considered by
lawmakers in the 2011 legislative session. The measure threatened to
prohibit the registration of imported vehicles manufactured after 1967
that did not meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS).
SEMA applauded the signing into law of the “Small Business Jobs and Credit Act” (H.R. 5297), including $12 billion in tax incentives for small businesses and creating a $30 billion resource to activate greater lending to small businesses by community banks.
Many SEMA members have secured design or utility patents from the U.S.
Patent & Trademark Office only to discover that their patented
product is being infringed by imports. If litigation is ultimately
necessary to combat the problem, there are two possible forums in which
to pursue a grievance, the U.S. International Trade Commission and a
federal district court. Each forum has advantages and disadvantages.
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted goals to reduce
carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and other greenhouse gases from cars and
light trucks in 18 urban areas around the state. While the goals are
nonbinding, local jurisdictions will need to demonstrate a likelihood
of success in order to take advantage of other incentives, such as
streamlined permitting for development projects.
This year’s mid-term elections are the most anticipated in recent
memory. Last week, SEMA provided a complete list of voter
registration/absentee ballot forms for all 50 states (click here to
find your state and to vote early). We also encourage SEMA members to
become engaged by supporting SEMA Political Action Committee (PAC). This election stands to be one
of the most important in many years with the potential to deliver
historic results. The balance of power in Washington is currently in
question, and without the active participation of SEMA members, our
industry will miss the opportunity to raise our voice and make a
SEMA praised the United States Senate for passing the “Small Business
Jobs and Credit Act” (HR 5297). The bill will be signed into law by
President Obama pending imminent ratification by the House of
The legislation creates a $30 billion fund to provide banks with less
than $10 billion in assets access to capital to lend specifically to
small businesses while providing tax incentives to encourage business
development. In addition, the bill includes $12 billion in tax cuts and
stronger government loan guarantees.
As of April 1, 2011, it will be illegal to sell or install a wheel
weight in New York that contains lead. The state joins several others
that have enacted laws banning the manufacture, sale and use of lead
weights. California’s law went into effect on January 1, 2010.
Illinois, Maine, Vermont and Washington also ban the products while
Iowa, Maryland, Rhode Island and Wisconsin have considered a ban.
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.
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.
A new California regulation requiring auto service facilities to
check tire pressure seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from
Legislators set classification standards and exempt street rods and custom vehicles from emissions inspection requirements.
Registering your intellectual property is key to establishing legal rights. Visit SEMA's "Introduction to Intellectual Property Rights" webpage for resources to help protect your valuable IP work.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
SEMA and 54 other trade associations asked Congress to limit the amount
credit card companies can charge merchants when processing payments.
Congress addressed some, but not all swipe fees when it enacted the new
financial reform law.
Beginning in 2012, businesses will be required to file “Form 1099”
information returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and report
all payments to corporations for goods or services in excess of $600.
Under current law, most corporations are exempt from receiving 1099s.
The 1099 reporting requirement is expected to raise $17 billion over 10
years. It was included as a revenue-raising initiative under the new
health care law, in this case, collecting taxes on a potential source of
SEMA has been asked by the federal government if any companies would be
interested in converting domestic vehicles for export to right-hand-drive countries. The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) purchases
about 90,000 vehicles a year for various government agencies, and a
small number of those vehicles are exported for use in foreign
Bill would offer smaller banks access to $30 billion fund to spur lending to small businesess, and includes extension of program allowing 50% write-off on newly purchased depreciable property.