Law & Order

LAWMAKERS PUSH FOR SMALL-BUSINESS HEALTH CARE REFORMS

Alleviating the mounting cost pressure of health care premiums on SEMA members and their workers remains a top SEMA priority. Legislation that would have permitted trade associations to offer small-business health plans (SBHPs) based on national pooling arrangements was narrowly defeated in 2006. Federal lawmakers are still seeking a consensus approach to resolve issues that produced the stalemate two years ago, such as conflicts over federal/state oversight and requiring minimum policy mandates. 

SEMA DEFEATS VERMONT SCRAPPAGE PROGRAM

SEMA defeated a bill in the Vermont State Senate that would have implemented a vehicle scrappage program and financed it with a progressive purchase and use tax and higher registration fees for some new motor vehicles based on fuel-efficiency ratings. Funds collected under the program would have been used to dismantle vehicles deemed by the state to be “clunkers,” regardless of their historical value or collector interest.

ROD AND MUSCLE ENTHUSIASTS TAKE GRASSROOTS LOBBYING ON THE ROAD

On the recent Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour, SEMA Action Network (SAN) Director Jason Tolleson met with numerous SAN members who each voiced their support for the Association’s legislative grassroots effort. With more than 30,000 members in the United States and Canada, including 4,000 car clubs, SAN members receive free updates on pending legislative issues in their state or province.

PRO-HOBBYIST STREET ROD AND CUSTOM VEHICLE BILL INTRODUCED IN NEW JERSEY

SEMA model legislation (A.B. 2836) that would create a vehicle registration classification for street rods and custom vehicles and provide for special license plates for these vehicles was introduced in the New Jersey Assembly. 

The legislation defines a street rod as an altered vehicle manufactured before 1949 and a custom as an altered vehicle at least 25 years old and manufactured after 1948. The bill allows kit cars and replica vehicles to be assigned a certificate of title bearing the same model year designation the body of the vehicle most closely resembles.

IRS INCREASES MILEAGE-RATE DEDUCTION TO REFLECT HIGH GAS PRICES

Soaring gas prices caused the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to raise the standard business-mileage deduction by 8 cents to 58.5 cents for all business miles driven between July 1 and December 31, 2008. 

It is unusual for the IRS to make a mid-year adjustment. The mileage calculation also includes all other aspects of buying and operating a vehicle such as depreciation, insurance, and tires. Businesses and individuals who use their car for business have the option of using the standard rate in lieu of keeping records of their actual expenses.

CALIFORNIA APPROVES COMPLIANCE TESTING FOR DIESEL PERFORMANCE PARTS

SEMA has been successful in configuring and obtaining ARB approval for an engine dynamometer testing protocol to demonstrate that diesel aftermarket performance parts and systems comply with ARB emissions requirements. Compliant products are eligible for an E.O. (Executive Order) under this protocol. Olson Ecologic Inc. (Fullerton, California; contact Don Olson at 714/774-3385) is committed to providing emissions testing services using this protocol. At some point, other testing facilities may also elect to provide such services.

CLIMATE CHANGE LEGISLATION DEFEATED IN U.S. SENATE, DEFERRED TO 2009

Proponents of the latest version of climate change legislation (S. 3036) failed to get the 60 votes necessary for passage in the U.S. Senate, effectively ending any further consideration this year. Supporters plan to make it an election-year issue to lay the groundwork for a new climate debate in 2009. There is a growing consensus in Congress that there is a need to limit and reduce greenhouse gases (GHG). 

FLORIDA ACTS TO PROVIDE A COMMERCIAL MOTOR-VEHICLE EXEMPTION FOR HOBBYISTS

SEMA-supported legislation to provide an exemption from the regulations governing commercial motor carriers to vehicles occasionally transporting personal property to a motorsports facility was approved by the Florida State Legislature. Under federal law, any commercial vehicle operating in interstate commerce required to obtain a USDOT number must abide by established safety regulations.

SEMA-MODEL STREET ROD/CUSTOM VEHICLE BILL INTRODUCED IN NEW JERSEY

SEMA model legislation that would create a vehicle registration classification for street rods and custom vehicles and provide for special license plates for these vehicles was introduced in the New Jersey State Legislature. The bill defines a street rod as an altered vehicle manufactured before 1949 and a custom as an altered vehicle at least 25 years old and manufactured after 1948. The bill allows kit cars and replica vehicles to be assigned a certificate of title bearing the same model year designation the body of the vehicle most closely resembles.

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