SEMA News—August 2011
Law and Order
LEGISLATIVE AND TECHNICAL AFFAIRS
Law and Order is an update of some of the most recent federal and state legislative and regulatory issues that could potentially impact the automotive specialty-equipment industry. These include issues affecting small-business owners and their employees.
California Diesel Parts:
Illinois Antique Vehicles:
SEMA-supported legislation to provide for an expanded-use antique-vehicle registration class that would allow antique vehicles and replicas to be driven without limitation during the warmer part of the year (April 1 through October 31) was approved unanimously by the full Illinois Senate. The bill has already been passed by the full Illinois House of Representatives and will now be sent to the governor for his signature and enactment into law. Under the bill, expanded-use antiques are limited to traveling to and from car shows, exhibitions, servicing or demonstration during the colder months (November 1 through March 31). Regular antique vehicle registration would still be available for a lower fee to hobbyists who would prefer operating their vehicles on only a limited-use basis throughout the year.
Nevada Emissions Exemption:
Governor Brian Sandoval signed into law SEMA-supported legislation to exempt classic vehicles and classic rods from emissions inspections if owners pay a one-time $6 fee and submit a certification that their vehicles will not be driven more than 5,000 miles per year. Under previous law, classic rods and classic vehicles were subject to a 2,500-mile-per-year limit to qualify for an emissions exemption and had to pass an initial two-speed idle emissions inspection to qualify. The owners of classic rods and classic vehicles were also required to certify each year that their vehicles had not been driven more than 2,500 miles during the previous year, and the certification had to be verified by a DMV emissions technician. Under the new law, the initial emissions inspection is no longer required.
Texas Street Rods/Customs:
The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved a SEMA-supported bill to help combat online piracy and counterfeiting. The legislation would authorize the Department of Justice and intellectual property rights holders to pursue legal actions against rogue websites dedicated to selling counterfeit goods and copyrighted material. The sites are often foreign owned and operated. Courts would be authorized to issue orders requiring search engines in the United States to stop displaying advertising and links to infringing domain names and prevent consumer payments. The alleged infringer would have full due process protections, including the right to argue its case in court. The legislation would address the growing problem of online sales of counterfeit goods, whether specialty auto parts, pharmaceuticals or movies. These products cost thousands of American jobs, expose consumers to health and safety threats and tarnish business reputations. The bill has been sent to the Senate floor.
New-Car Mileage Labels:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have expanded the amount of fuel-economy information contained on new-vehicle window stickers. Among other changes, the information will now include the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the vehicle. The agencies adopted a SEMA-supported approach to incorporate graphics, increase type size and use other visual tools to help focus consumer attention on fuel economy. The agencies abandoned a proposal to use an A–D letter grading system, which SEMA deemed to be too simplistic. Instead, cars will be ranked on a fleetwide 10-point scale for both fuel economy and greenhouse gas ratings and smog emissions. The labels are required on all new cars starting in 2013, although automakers and dealers may voluntarily use them sooner.