SEMA News—August 2012
LEGISLATIVE AND TECHNICAL AFFAIRS
SEMA Establishes Legislative and Regulatory Priorities for 2012–2013
Priority Issues: State
Accelerated Vehicle Scrappage: SEMA opposes scrappage proposals. Where proposals can’t be defeated, SEMA seeks to amend them to protect collector vehicles, focus on gross polluters, use measured emissions values, allow parts recycling and include repair/upgrade alternatives. Scrappage programs accelerate natural vehicle retirement by allowing for the purchase of older cars, which are then typically crushed into blocks of scrap metal.
Vehicle Equipment Standards and Inspections: SEMA opposes arbitrary and unnecessarily restrictive equipment and inspection procedures.
Emissions Testing and Maintenance Programs: SEMA supports programs that properly focus inspection procedures and do not confuse legitimate aftermarket parts with emissions-defeating devices and state and federal tampering violations. SEMA also supports proactive legislative initiatives to establish exemptions from inspections for low-mileage vehicles, classic vehicles (defined as 25 years old and older) and newer vehicles.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions/Engine Size/MPG: SEMA opposes legislation that imposes an added fee, surcharge or tax on the sale or lease of a new passenger motor vehicle based on carbon emissions, engine size or fuel-economy rating. SEMA also opposes added yearly registration and renewal fees based on carbon emissions, engine size or fuel-economy rating.
Vehicle Suspension and Height Regulations: SEMA opposes state regulations targeting suspension and height modifications without regard to reasonable and useful modifications.
Specialty Vehicle Titling and Registration: SEMA supports initiatives that allow for the use of non-original materials and create a titling and registration criterion that assigns these vehicles the same model-year designations as the production vehicles they most closely resemble. SEMA supports initiatives to establish distinctive license plates and separate vehicle code definitions for these cars to allow special consideration during emissions testing and equipment inspections. SEMA supports initiatives to create classic motor-vehicle project titles that apply to vehicles undergoing restoration that are at least 25 years old, not roadworthy and currently without a title or with a title from another state. SEMA supports initiatives to establish minimal one-time registration fees for specialty vehicles and opposes efforts to disproportionately increase registration fees and taxes for these cars based on state budget deficiencies. SEMA supports legislation that allows vehicles with these special registrations to be driven for a variety of purposes, including occasional transportation, exhibitions, club activities, parades, tours and similar uses.
Lighting Equipment: SEMA opposes any use limitations or prohibitions on optional lighting equipment or accessories not related to a proven safety hazard.
Tire Fuel Efficiency: SEMA opposes separate state legislation requiring the development of a program to mandate that replacement tires for passenger cars meet fuel-efficiency standards.
Tire Aging: SEMA opposes state legislation to limit the distribution or sale of tires based strictly on age.
Window Tint: SEMA supports advancement of the industry standard of not less than 35% light transmittance on all windows other than the windshield.
Inoperable Vehicles: SEMA opposes legislation that allows state, county or local officials to confiscate from private property inoperable project vehicles or those vehicles in need of repair.
Exhaust Systems: SEMA opposes legislation or regulations that unfairly discriminate against modified exhaust systems and apply arbitrary enforcement standards relative to muffler noise limits. SEMA supports efforts to reduce improper citations and encourage modifications that comply with applicable state regulations.
Nitrous-Oxide/Performance Enhancers: SEMA opposes legislation that bans the installation of power-booster systems, including nitrous-oxide systems intended for off-road use.
Street Racing: SEMA supports efforts to abolish illegal street racing through focused legislation designed to incentivize drivers to pursue racing activities at legal racing venues. SEMA opposes anti-street-racing legislation that unfairly targets owners of legally modified vehicles for enhanced scrutiny, title branding and additional fees.
Alternative Fuels/Greenhouse Gases: SEMA opposes legislation that would unreasonably restrict opportunities for the automotive specialty-equipment industry to continue providing performance equipment. SEMA supports such initiatives where opportunities exist to expand market opportunities for SEMA-member products.
Ethanol-Blended Gasoline Labeling Requirements: SEMA supports labels on fuel pumps dispensing ethanol-blended gasoline as important to consumers, especially those with classic cars and performance automobiles, who want to know what they are putting into their vehicles.
Priority Issues: Federal
Clean Air Act Amendments: SEMA opposes any revisions to the Clean Air Act that are unnecessarily restrictive or do not balance economic and small-business considerations. SEMA supports revising the law to require cost-benefit rationales for rulemakings, a scientific basis for regulations and periodic reviews of existing rules.
Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards: SEMA supports CAFE standards that take into account the impact on jobs, safety, consumer choice and technological feasibility. SEMA supports market-based solutions that allow the consumer to participate in and respond to national energy policies.
Ethanol Content in Gasoline: SEMA opposes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) waiver to permit the sale of gasoline containing 15% ethanol (E15) for model-year ’01 and newer vehicles.
Gas Taxes: SEMA opposes gas tax hikes. SEMA supports policies that balance the interests of the business community with reasonable means to reduce reliance on foreign oil and create incentive-laden programs to help clean the air.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions/Global Warming: SEMA supports regulating CO2 emissions from automobiles through the CAFE standards. SEMA supports a congressionally defined, limited approach to regulate the largest stationary source emitters, such as powerplants, factories and refineries.
Health Care: SEMA supports “exchanges,” which offer small businesses access to a variety of competitively priced plans. SEMA remains committed to pursuing additional meaningful reforms to health care policy.
Independent Contractors: SEMA supports simplified worker classification rules, since the current rules are too complicated, confused and subjective.
Intellectual Property Protection: SEMA supports intellectual property rights legislation in the U.S. Congress and government enforcement activities through the Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy.
Minimum Wage: SEMA supports polices that allow wages to be set by the marketplace.
On-Board Diagnostics and Service Information Sharing: SEMA supports partnerships with OEMs for sharing technology information.
Parental Leave: SEMA opposes any attempts to expand the Family Leave Act but supports legislation that would clarify certain aspects of the law.
Product Liability and Legal Reforms: SEMA supports sensible legal reforms to include bills that develop uniform standards of liability, take small-business size into consideration, alter rules pertaining to punitive and non-economic damages, discourage frivolous lawsuits and restore credibility to the judicial system.
Public Land Access and Use: SEMA supports land-use decisions that are reasonable and enjoy local community support.
Regulatory Reform: SEMA supports efforts to permit more flexibility in achieving standards, consider more cost-effective ways to meet goals, require cost-benefit rationales for rulemakings, require scientific basis for regulations and require periodic review of existing rules.
Retirement Savings Plans: SEMA supports legislation that helps defer the costs of a retirement program, provides guidance in plan construction and establishes clear regulations to govern the program.
Tax Policy: SEMA supports small-business tax relief through reduction and simplification of business taxes and a federal budget that promotes productivity.
Vehicle Scrappage Legislation: SEMA opposes scrappage programs, especially those that simply target old cars and exclude recycling/repair/retrofit provisions.
Vehicle Equipment Standards: SEMA supports regulations that are necessary, practical and based on performance rather than design criteria.