By Eric Saltrick
One way to get involved with the legislative process is to interact with elected officials by hosting a Congressional District Site Visit event at your place of business. John McLeod (left), owner of Classic Instruments in Boyne City, Michigan, recently welcomed U.S. Representative Dan Benishek (second left) to the company’s manufacturing facility.
Another way to get involved is to interact with elected officials by hosting a Congressional District Site Visit event at your place of business. Very often, legislators are unaware of the economic impact of the automotive aftermarket. By inviting local car clubs and enthusiasts to join a legislative visit, you can showcase the importance of hot rodding to your local community. Once you have the attention of a legislator, presenting him or her with a copy of the SEMA-model street rod and custom vehicle titling legislation is a great way to show the impact of the legislation to create new sales opportunities for the automotive specialty-equipment industry.
The SEMA-model bill provides solutions to ease the difficulty of titling and registering classic and custom vehicles at the state level. Almost all states have processes by which classic cars can be registered, but few adequately provide for modified cars, such as hot rods. In response, SEMA’s government-affairs team has developed a model bill to protect hot rodding for current and future generations. This model legislation creates titling and registration classifications for street rods and custom vehicles, including kit cars and replicas.
Under the SEMA model, an eligible vehicle is titled and registered as the production year it most closely resembles. The vehicle must meet only the equipment requirements for that model year and is exempt from periodic vehicle inspections and emissions inspections.
Beginning with Illinois in 2001, versions of the model bill have been successful in helping hobbyists title their rods in 22 states. States that have enacted the SEMA model or a version of the bill include Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming. If your state is not on this list, SEMA can help you set up a legislative visit to introduce the bill to your state representative.
If your company hosts a cruise-in, open house or other event, be sure to invite your local mayor and council members as well as state representatives. In addition, schedule your own staff luncheon, inviting local legislators, giving your own employees a chance to meet their
Another wonderful opportunity to showcase your business is National Collector Car Appreciation Day (CCAD). Now in its third year, CCAD will be celebrated in 2012 during the weekend of July 13. Contact local car clubs to ensure that you have some great classic cars and hot rods on display at your facility. In addition, SEMA can provide your company with a copy of the national proclamation for this official automotive recognition. Then you can invite a legislator to join you in the reading of the proclamation to your staff and guests.
To set up a legislative visit, contact SEMA’s Washington government-affairs office. The SEMA government-affairs team supports all HRIA members in participating in the Congressional District Site Visit Program. This program has been successful in building long-term relationships with key contacts in Washington. Lawmakers are always interested in visiting with local employers and learning more about the industry. These events can help provide solutions to local issues specific to your district and business.
While these events usually last no more than two hours, they are invaluable in establishing working relationships that can eventually translate into legislative successes in Washington.