Law & Order

$.02 Postage Increase Begins May 11

The cost of a first-class stamp will rise by $.02, to $.44, starting on May 11, 2009. Under a 2006 law, annual postal increases may not exceed the rate of inflation (3.8% for 2008). Annual price adjustments for first-class mail and periodicals occur in May. Increases for other shipping services occur in January.

The following is a summary of select new prices:

Virginia Withdraws Bill to Restrict Hobbyist Inoperable Vehicles

The sponsor for SEMA-opposed legislation to allow the city of Newport News to adopt a more restrictive inoperable vehicle ordinance has withdrawn the bill from consideration by the Virginia Legislature. Under the bill, the city could have adopted an ordinance prohibiting any person from keeping more than one inoperable motor vehicle on private property except within a fully enclosed building.

Massachusetts Governor Vetoes SEMA-Model Street Rod/Custom Vehicle Bill

Governor Deval Patrick “pocket vetoed” SEMA-model legislation to create a vehicle registration classification for street rods and custom vehicles after he failed to sign the bill within 10 days of receiving it. SEMA has pledged to work to resolve concerns raised by the governor and his administration so that the bill may be revived in 2009.

Oregon Introduces Bill to Prohibit Sale of Certain Aftermarket Parts

At the request of Governor Theodore Kulongoski, the Oregon Speaker of the House has introduced legislation (H.B. 2186) to prohibit the sale and distribution of aftermarket motor-vehicle parts if alternatives are available that “decrease greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles.”

The bill is primarily focused on aftermarket tires and would authorize the Environmental Quality Commission to implement enforcement regulations, likely based on a rolling-resistance calculation.

SEMA Fights to Keep Johnson Valley, California, Open to Off-Roaders

SEMA submitted comments to the Department of Defense/U.S. Marine Corps regarding a potential expansion of the Marine Corps Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, in Johnson Valley, California. The Marine Corps contends that it needs additional land for training and may seek to incorporate the 189,000 acres in Johnson Valley which is currently devoted to off-highway (OHV) recreation.

EPA to Revisit Decision Prohibiting California Greenhouse Gas Regulations, NHTSA to Issue New CAFE Standards

President Obama directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider a Bush Administration decision which denied California and other states from regulating greenhouse gases emitted from motor vehicles. The president also directed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to finalize a rule to increase the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for passenger cars and light trucks for model years 2011–2015. Both actions had been anticipated.

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