SEMA News—August 2022

LEGISLATIVE AND TECHNICAL AFFAIRS

Law and Order

By Daniel Ingber

Outdoor RecOutdoor Recreation: The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee unanimously passed the bipartisan America’s Outdoor Recreation Act of 2022 (S. 3266), a package of public lands and recreation legislation designed to increase access to the outdoors, streamline and simplify land-management processes, and improve America’s recreation infrastructure.

The legislation includes provisions to improve the permitting process for outfitters and guides who work on public lands, and it streamlines the process and expenses associated with obtaining special recreation permits. The bill includes a travel management provision that directs the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service to make maps available to the public depicting where vehicles are allowed and where they are prohibited, as well as to update them periodically to ensure that the maps do not become outdated.

In carrying out this section, agencies are required to increase opportunities for motorized and non-motorized access and experiences on federal land. SEMA and the other members comprising the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable are strong supporters of the legislation, which is the first comprehensive recreation package since 1963 that will improve and expand America’s outdoor recreation economy while delivering sustainable economic boosts to rural communities.

For more information on the Outdoor Recreation Act, please contact Eric Snyder at erics@sema.org.

FEDERAL UPDATE

RPM Act: As federal lawmakers are back in their communities during Congress’s August recess, now is the time to demand that they pass the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act (RPM Act; H.R. 3281 and S. 2736). The RPM Act clarifies that it is legal to make emissions-related changes to convert a street vehicle into a dedicated racecar under the Clean Air Act (CAA). The bill would also confirm that producing, marketing and installing racing equipment on track vehicles does not violate the CAA. While the RPM Act enjoys strong bipartisan support in the 2021–2022 session of Congress, including more than 150 co-sponsors, it is imperative that SEMA members and the racing community continue to apply pressure on their lawmakers to pass the bill.

Below are things you can do right now to help to pass the RPM Act:

  • Invite your members of Congress to visit your business, or participate in a virtual meeting with your lawmaker and SEMA staff. Email erics@sema.org for a template and more information.
  • Call and send a letter to your lawmakers at saveourracecars.com. A letter has already been drafted. It takes less than a minute.
  • Sign a letter to your lawmakers on company letterhead. Email erics@sema.org for a template and more information.
  • Post about the RPM Act on your company’s social-media accounts using the digital assets toolkit at www.sema.org/rpmtools.
  • Learn more about SEMA’s Political Action Committee (SEMA PAC) at www.SEMApac.com. SEMA PAC allows SEMA members to support the lawmakers who stand up for our industry in Washington, D.C.

Section 301 Tariffs: The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) issued a notice that it will begin a formal review process of the Section 301 tariffs on goods imported from China that could lead to the continuation, modification, or end to the tariffs. At this time, the review is for only the List 1 and List 2 tariffs, but a review for Lists 3 and 4a will be announced later this year.

When Section 301 tariffs are imposed, the law requires the USTR to pursue a review at the beginning of the fourth year. The first step is to notify representatives of domestic industries that benefit from the tariffs about the possibility of the tariffs being terminated and allow those representatives to request their continuation. Requests for continuation must be received in the 60 days leading up to the four-year anniversary of the tariffs.

Assuming that a continuation request is received, the tariffs will remain in place into the next phase of the review process when all interested stakeholders may provide comments. SEMA will provide comments recommending the removal of the tariffs. The USTR will then review the public comments and determine whether to continue, modify or end the tariffs.

In 2018, the USTR instituted a Section 301 investigation of Chinese trade practices and imposed $50 billion in tariffs on a variety of goods on Lists 1 and 2, including miscellaneous metal and rubber parts. After China responded with retaliatory tariffs, the U.S. imposed the additional List 3 and 4a tariffs. The List 3 tariffs apply to most auto parts. They began at 10% in September 2018 but increased to 25% in May 2019.

STATE UPDATE

Alaska—License Plate: The Alaska House of Representatives passed SEMA-supported legislation to allow the display of only a single, rear-mounted license plate for all passenger vehicles. Under current law, vehicles must display two license plates. The bill passed the Senate Transportation Committee and is now pending in the Senate Finance Committee.

California—Automobile Cruising: The California Assembly introduced a SEMA-supported resolution celebrating the history and culture associated with automobile cruising. This resolution encourages local officials and law enforcement to work with local car clubs to conduct safe cruising events. The bill currently awaits consideration in the Assembly Transportation Committee.

California—Zero-Emissions Vehicle Conversions: The California Assembly Natural Resources Committee unanimously passed SEMA-sponsored legislation to incentivize the conversion of gas- and diesel-burning vehicles into zero-emissions vehicles. If passed, the bill would provide motorists with a $2,000 voucher for the conversion of eligible vehicles. The bill awaits consideration in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Hawaii—Exhaust Noise: The Hawaii legislature failed to pass prior to adjournment SEMA-supported legislation to protect enthusiasts from unfair exhaust noise citations by allowing the use, sale, alteration or installation of car mufflers that meet a 95-decibel noise limit.

Hawaii—License Plate: The Hawaii legislature failed to pass prior to adjournment SEMA-supported legislation to require the display of only a single, rear-mounted license plate for all passenger vehicles. Under current law, vehicles must display two license plates.

OklahomaOklahoma—Military Vehicles: Governor Kevin Stitt signed into law SEMA-supported legislation to allow the registration and titling of former military surplus vehicles. The new law defines a military surplus vehicle as a vehicle less than 35 years old and manufactured for use in either the United States Armed Forces or any country that was a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization at the time the vehicle was manufactured.

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