LEGISLATIVE AND TECHNICAL AFFAIRS
By Steve McDonald
Law and Order
Collector Car Appreciation Day: California, New Mexico and Manitoba joined Louisiana, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia in recognizing the 2014 celebration of Collector Car Appreciation Day (CCAD). For the fifth year, the U.S. Senate passed Senate Resolution 493 at SEMA’s request to acknowledge the day’s significance in raising awareness of the vital role automotive restoration and collection plays in American society.
Delaware Reconstructed Vehicles: SEMA-supported legislation to exempt reconstructed vehicles that are more than 25 years old from emissions testing was signed into law by Governor Jack Markell. In Delaware, “reconstructed vehicle” means a “vehicle which has been assembled or constructed largely by means of essential parts, new or used, derived from other vehicles or makes of vehicles of various names, models and types, or which, if originally otherwise constructed, has been materially altered by the removal of essential parts or by the addition or substitution of essential parts, new or used, derived from other vehicles or makes of vehicles.” Under the new law, the vehicle must continue to meet and be inspected for safety and anti-tampering requirements for its model year. Vehicles exempt from emissions testing can be used only for participation in club activities, exhibits, tours, parades and similar uses but not for general transportation or more than 1,000 miles per year.
Illinois Ethanol: A bill allowing the state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to provide information to gas stations encouraging them to offer E15 as an option for customers died when the legislature adjourned for the year. The bill also allowed the department to provide information to gas stations on any financial assistance available to subsidize the cost of providing E15 blended fuel to consumers. The bill was introduced at a time when many states are proposing legislation to limit requirements for ethanol-
Illinois Antique License Plate: Without having been given committee consideration, legislation to provide that antique vehicles and expanded-use antique vehicles be required to display registration plates on only the rear of the vehicle died when the legislature adjourned for the year. The bill also allowed expanded-use antique vehicles to be operated year round with no restriction on destination or purpose. Under current law, expanded-use antique vehicles can be driven without limitation only during the warmer part of the year (April 1 through October 31). They are limited to traveling to and from car shows, exhibitions, servicing or demonstration during the colder months (November 1 through March 31). Under the bill, the expanded-use antique registration plate would have been available at an annual fee of $45.
New Hampshire Ethanol: Legislation, supported by SEMA, to prohibit the sale of gasoline that contains more than 10% ethanol died when the legislature adjourned for the year. The bill had been approved by the House of Representatives but stalled in the Senate when the bill was sent out for study. Under a House committee amendment, the bill would have taken effect only if any two additional New England states adopted similar legislation limiting the amount of corn-based ethanol in gasoline to 10%.
New Hampshire Year-of-Manufacture Plates: A bill to expand the range of vehicles eligible to use original year-of-manufacture license plates on antique motor vehicles was approved by the New Hampshire Senate and now moves to the governor for her signature and enactment into law. The House of Representatives has already passed the measure. Currently, only ’60-and-earlier model-year antique vehicles are eligible to use these plates. Under the bill, eligibility would be expanded to include all ’75-and-earlier model years.
New York Legislature: The New York state legislature failed to complete action on a series of bills that would have had a positive impact on the automotive hobby. Among those were legislation to allow historical vehicle owners to pay a one-time registration fee of only $100 upon initial registration; legislation to provide for the issuance of special historic vehicle plates to be issued to owners for display on a trailer towing a historic vehicle; legislation to provide for the issuance of a single registration plate and require that the plate be attached on the rear of the vehicle; and SEMA-model legislation to create a vehicle titling and registration classification for street rods and custom vehicles (including kit cars and replicas) and exempt those vehicles from emissions inspections.
Rhode Island Replica License Plates: Identical legislation to authorize the Division of Motor Vehicles to issue replica year-of-manufacture plates for antique vehicles was approved by the Rhode Island Senate and House. Both bills will now be sent to Governor Lincoln Chafee for his signature and enactment into law. In Rhode Island, an antique motorcar is “any motor vehicle which is more than 25 years old. Unless fully inspected and meeting inspection requirements, the vehicle may be maintained solely for use in exhibitions, club activities, parades, and other functions of public interest and may not be used primarily for the transportation of passengers or goods over any public highway.”
South Carolina Lighting: SEMA-opposed legislation that would have only permitted “blue-colored” headlamps if they had been installed by the motor-vehicle manufacturer died when the legislature adjourned for the year. SEMA had urged the sponsor to amend the measure to conform to the U.S. Department of Transportation headlamp color specification standard. Under the standard, it is possible to design a headlamp that emits a light that approaches the blue boundary and is perceived as having a blue tint but that nevertheless remains within the boundaries that define “white.” These headlamps, whether factory-installed or installed in the aftermarket, comply with the federal color requirements.
South Carolina Registration Fees: Legislation to increase biennial registration fees for motor vehicles died when the legislature adjourned for the year. The bill would have increased the registration fees for private passenger vehicles from $24 to $36 for persons under age 65. For persons 65 years old and older, the fees for private passenger vehicles would have risen from $20 to $32.
Senate Collector Car Appreciation Day Resolution: The U.S. Senate passed Senate Resolution 493 (S. Res. 493) designating July 11, 2014, as CCAD. The Resolution was requested by SEMA and its Automotive Restoration Market Organization and Hot Rod Industry Alliance councils. S. Res. 493 was sponsored by Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus Co-Chairs Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) and Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), along with Senator Mark Begich (D-AK). The Senators are strong advocates for the automotive hobby in Washington, and S. Res. 493 reaffirms their understanding of the cultural importance of collector cars. The caucus is an informal, nonpartisan member organization that pays tribute to America’s ever-growing love affair with the car and motorsports.
Bonneville Salt Flats: In June, about 2,000 tons of salt were deposited on the mud surface at the end of the access road to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. It was graded and then dried to a hard concrete-like racing surface. Although modest in scope, the project demonstrates that it should be possible to deposit dry salt in targeted areas so as to help preserve the location where land-speed records have been set for 100 years. The project was organized by the Save the Salt Coalition, which is comprised of SEMA and a number of other organizations and companies within the land-speed racing community with a shared mission of restoring the Bonneville Salt Flats. The coalition coordinated the project with the Southern California Timing Association, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and Shelton Construction, which deposited the salt over the mud.
Canada Anti-Spam Law: In an effort to protect its citizens from unsolicited e-mails, Canada enacted new restrictions on commercial electronic messages that took effect on July 1, 2014. The new Canadian law differs from the CAN-SPAM Act in the United States, which places comparatively minor restrictions on commercial electronic communications by requiring the sender to provide a way for the recipient to “opt out” from receiving future messages. Canada takes the opposite approach by requiring recipients (consumers) to opt in to receive commercial electronic messages. Recipients can opt in expressly or impliedly, but the burden is on the company sending the message to prove consent. The law also mandates that all messages include an opt-out or “unsubscribe” mechanism and requires that the name and mailing address of the sender be included in messages.