Law & Order

U.S. POSTAL SERVICE RAISES SHIPPING RATES

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) announced that prices for Express Mail, Priority Mail, Parcel Select and other parcel services will increase about 5% on January 18, 2009. The annual adjustment reflects higher operating costs. The USPS has adopted a once-a-year increase, generally tied to inflation, in order to provide predictability and price protection. 

Price changes for first-class mailing services, including stamps, will be announced in February and will go into effect in May 2009.

SEMA POSITION—CO2 EMISSIONS ARE ALREADY REGULATED UNDER CAFE STANDARDS

SEMA submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging regulators to control carbon dioxide (CO2) tailpipe emissions through the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. SEMA opposed the establishment of a separate program under the Clean Air Act. In 2007, the EPA was directed by the U.S. Supreme Court to consider how best to regulate CO2 and other greenhouse gases. 

NHTSA OK's ELECTRONIC TIRE REGISTRATIONS

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) updated its tire registration rule to allow consumers to register their tire purchases electronically rather than by mailing back a paper registration form. The action had been urged by SEMA and a number of other industry groups including the National Automobile Dealers Association, the Tire Industry Association and the Rubber Manufacturers Association.

HOW TO MEET FEDERAL AND CALIFORNIA EMISSIONS REGULATIONS FOR AFTERMARKET PARTS

An increasing number of specialty-equipment companies are facing the growing complexity of complying with emissions-related parts requirements, particularly when governed by federal and California environmental regulations. Questions often arise about the compliance process, how to handle "cease-and-desist" letters and how to avoid penalties and fines when selling emissions-related products in all 50 states.

R&D TAX CREDIT RENEWED AS PART OF FINANCIAL RESCUE BILL

President Bush signed into law the economic stabilization bill which included renewal of the research and development (R&D) tax credit, a top legislative priority for SEMA. The R&D tax credit was extended through 2009, retroactive to its expiration on December 31, 2007. The new law increases the alternative simplified credit from 12% to 14% for the 2009 tax year and repeals the alternative incremental research credit for the 2009 tax year.

DEFENDING OHV ACCESS TO PUBLIC LANDS

SEMA submitted comments to federal lawmakers defending continued use of off-highway vehicles (OHV) on federal lands in the Eastern Sierra and Northern San Gabriel region in Southern California. SEMA opposes legislation (H.R. 6156) to designate 475,000 acres of federal lands in Mono, Inyo and Los Angeles Counties as “wilderness.”

OHVs would be denied access to the land since motorized recreation is not permitted in a wilderness area. The bill was the topic of a hearing by a U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Subcommittee. 

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