Law & Order

Too Big to Get a Small-Business Loan? Think Again…

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has temporarily expanded the size requirements for SBA-backed 7(a) loans in order to help insert more liquidity into the marketplace. The SBA estimates that more than 70,000 small businesses across the country will be eligible for new loans between now and the time the program ends on September 30, 2010, including many auto-sector businesses.

Industry Braces for Strengthened Car Roofs

After years of debate, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has revised the vehicle roof strength rule, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 216. The new standard will require manufacturers to design vehicle roofs that withstand at least three times the weight of a light-duty vehicle (up to 6,000 lbs.) during a two-sided roof strength test. The current standard, which had remained unchanged since 1971, requires the roof to support at least 1.5 times the vehicle weight when tested on one side only.

Connecticut Introduces Bill to Exempt Antique, Rare and Special Interest Vehicles From Property Taxes

A SEMA-supported bill (H.B. 6226) has been introduced in the Connecticut State Legislature to provide an exemption from property taxes for antique, rare and special interest vehicles. The bill is pending in the Joint Transportation Committee for consideration.

Connecticut law defines an "Antique, rare or special interest motor vehicle" as a motor vehicle twenty years old or older which is being preserved because of historic interest and which is not altered or modified from the original manufacturer's specifications.

West Virginia Amends Inoperable Vehicles Bill to Create Hobbyist Exemptions

At the urging of SEMA and the hobbyist community in the state, West Virginia legislation has been amended in committee. The bill originally sought to redefine “abandoned motor vehicles” to include vehicles or vehicle parts which are either unlicensed or inoperable, or both, are not in an enclosed building and have remained on private property for more than 30 days.

EPA Takes First Step Towards Regulating Greenhouse Gases

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a finding that high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions endanger the health and welfare of current and future generations of Americans. The decision comes nearly two years after the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA has the authority and duty to consider regulating CO2 emissions.

The Court’s intervention was sought since carbon dioxide is a natural chemical rather than a traditional “pollutant” subject to EPA oversight.

SEMA Challenges Claims That Cash for Clunkers Will Clean Environment

SEMA is disputing claims that vehicle scrappage programs will clean the air or reduce the nation’s dependency on foreign oil. SEMA contends that these misdirected programs do more environmental harm than good, and deny cash incentives to millions of Americans who want to buy a new car.

The scrappage debate was recently revived when President Obama endorsed scrappage as part of an overall strategy to help rebuild the U.S. auto industry.

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