Law & Order

HAWAII TARGETS VEHICLE ENGINE SIZE FOR ADDITIONAL FEE

Legislation has been introduced in the Hawaii House of Representatives to establish a progressive fee for state motor vehicles based on engine size. These fees would be collected by the state at the time of initial vehicle registration and at subsequent renewals of registration.

These fees would be in addition to fees and taxes normally required for registration or renewal. The measure would tax vehicle owners with an engine size greater than 200 cu. cm., and the fee would increase depending on engine displacement.

ECONOMIC STIMULUS INCLUDES TAX INCENTIVES FOR BUSINESSES

The economic stimulus measure passed by Congress and to be signed into law by President Bush includes several important business tax breaks. The new law includes both a temporary increase in the first-year direct-expensing allowance and a bonus depreciation deduction of 50% for 2008. The direct expensing allowance increases to $250,000 from the current level of $128,000. The new law also provides an increase in the phase-out cap based on total equipment purchases in a year, rising to $800,000 from the current $510,000. 

Here is an example on how the tax breaks work:

LABOR DEPARTMENT SEEKS TO CLARIFY FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE RULES

The Department of Labor (DOL) has proposed changes to regulations governing the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to address gray areas in the law. One such issue has been the need to have more concise rules on managing unscheduled intermittent leave. Under the current and proposed rule, employers would define the smallest amount of time that can be tracked using the company’s timekeeping system.

NHTSA ENDORSES PLAN TO PERMIT ELECTRONIC TIRE REGISTRATION

Last year, SEMA joined with the Rubber Manufacturers Association, Tire Industry Association and National Automobile Dealers Association in recommending that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) update its tire registration regulations to allow consumers to register their tire purchases electronically rather than by mailing back a paper registration form.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PROPOSES NEW ROOF CRUSH TEST

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reissued a proposal it made in 2005 to revise the vehicle roof strength standard, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 216. The new version would require manufacturers to design vehicle roofs that withstand at least 2.5 times the weight of the vehicle during a two-sided roof strength test as an alternative to testing just one side. 

HAWAII CONSIDERS TAXING “GAS GUZZLERS”

In a misguided attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, legislation has been introduced in the Hawaii House of Representatives to establish a progressive purchase surcharge for some new motor vehicles based on state calculations of carbon emissions. The bill was considered in committee on Tuesday, January 29, 2008. Depending on the vehicle purchased, this surcharge could require owners to pay up to $2,500 more for the vehicle.

NEW JERSEY INTRODUCES BILL TO EXPAND USE OF HISTORIC VEHICLES

Legislation that would amend the state’s current law governing historic motor vehicles to permit their use for pleasure driving one day per week has been introduced in the New Jersey State Assembly. Under current New Jersey law, use of historic vehicles is strictly limited to exhibitions and educational purposes by the owner.

For more information, click here.

For details, contact Steve McDonald at stevem@sema.org.

PRO-HOBBYIST CUSTOM-VEHICLE/KIT-CAR/REPLICA LEGISLATION REINTRODUCED IN TENNESSEE

A version of SEMA-model legislation has been reintroduced in the Tennessee State Senate to create a vehicle registration and titling classification for custom vehicles. The bill defines a custom-built car as a vehicle that is built for private use and is not constructed by a licensed manufacturer or remanufacturer. Under the bill, kit cars and replica vehicles will be assigned a certificate of title bearing the same model-year designation as the production vehicle it most closely resembles.

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