The United States Treasury Department will provide auto suppliers with up to $5 billion in credit to help them continue operating while automakers restructure their businesses during a time of reduced sales. The program is limited to automakers that have received loans through the Treasury’s Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), currently General Motors and Chrysler and their direct suppliers.
Law & Order
Congressional lawmakers are once again considering legislation to create a nationwide "Cash for Clunkers" program. The latest bill (H.R. 1550) is entitled the “Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act” (CARS Act) and was introduced on March 17 by Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio).
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) may soon require all new passenger cars be equipped with a means for alerting the driver if a child is behind the vehicle when it is being backed-up. Under a law passed in early 2008, the NHTSA has three years (until February 28, 2011) to implement a regulation, and up to four more years to phase-in the rule. The specialty-equipment aftermarket has been at the forefront of offering cameras and sensors to address the issue.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has revised the list of documents acceptable for the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification: www.uscis.gov/i-9. Employers will be required to use the revised form for all new hires as of April 3, 2009. The previous edition dated 06/05/2007 in the lower left-hand corner will no longer be valid.
President Obama has withdrawn a policy adopted by the Bush Administration in late 2008 allowing federal agencies to approve a commercial development (road, power plant, homes, etc.) on its own authority if it is determined that the project will have no impact on a threatened species.
SEMA-model legislation that would create a vehicle registration classification for street rods and custom vehicles was approved overwhelmingly by the Utah State Legislature and now awaits the signature of the governor before becoming law.
H.B. 143 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 as the production vehicle they most closely resemble.
Legislation has been reintroduced in the California Assembly to require annual smog-check inspections for vehicles 15 years old and older. The bill would also require that funds generated through the additional inspection fees be deposited into an account which can be used to scrap older cars.
In 2004, a new law was enacted in California to require the lifetime testing of all '76 and newer model-year vehicles. Pre-'76 motor vehicles would remain exempt under this bill. SEMA succeeded in defeating this measure in the previous two legislative sessions.
SEMA-model legislation to create a vehicle titling and registration classification for street rods and custom vehicles has been approved by the Utah House of Representatives. 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.
On the heels of the defeat of a U.S. Congressional proposal to create a national "Cash for Clunkers" program, SEMA helped turn back an effort in the Washington State Legislature that would have implemented a vehicle scrappage program for passenger vehicles more than 15 years old.
Under the bill, qualifying vehicles would have had to be registered for a 24-month period and in satisfactory operating condition. Replacement vehicles purchased under the plan would have been required to have an EPA highway gasoline mileage rating of at least 30 mpg.
In February, SEMA members came together to prevent a federal Cash for Clunkers Program from passing Congress and becoming the law. Clunker advocates are preparing for a second try at a federal Cash for Clunkers law this summer. Will we be ready once again?
This summer, Congress will undertake major health care reform. Will Congress give our economy relief from rising costs, or will reform mandate coverage that SEMA companies and our workforce cannot afford?