LEGISLATIVE AND TECHNICAL AFFAIRS
By Steve McDonald
Law and Order
Kentucky Property Tax: For the third consecutive year, the legislature will tackle the issue of a valuation process for older vehicles for property tax purposes. In 2014, a bill to change the valuation procedure died when the legislature adjourned for the year. Under that bill, vehicles 20 years old or older would no longer have been presumed to be in “original factory” or “classic” condition. The measure instead provided three options for assessing the value of these vehicles. The bill preserved the tax assessor’s ability to deviate from this valuation formula if information is available to warrant such a deviation from standard value. Newer vehicles would have been valued at the “average trade-in” value rather than the higher “clean trade-in” value.
New Jersey Vehicle Miles Traveled Tax: A resolution remains pending in the assembly urging the U.S. Congress and the president to avoid the imposition of a nationwide tax on vehicle miles traveled. Several states, including California, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Virginia, introduced legislation last year to impose the tax either as an alternative to the gas tax or to supplement the gas tax. All are intended to raise transportation revenue for the state.
Virginia Exhaust Systems: A SEMA-supported bill to allow antique-vehicle hobbyists to install and use aftermarket exhaust systems will be considered by the Senate Transportation Committee this year. The bill, introduced during the 2014 session, has already been approved by the House of Delegates.
Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles: SEMA is opposing an effort by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to establish a recreational off-highway vehicle (ROV) safety standard rather than rely on an industry standard issued by the American National Standards Institute. ROVs can attain speeds greater than 30 miles per hour and are configured differently than all-terrain vehicles. ROVs generally accommodate a side-by-side driver/passenger in a compartment equipped with rollbars. They include automotive-type controls for steering, throttle and braking. SEMA maintains that the industry standard is adequate and that the CPSC proposal will stifle future design innovation and does not properly address a number of technical issues. While issuing a proposed rule to regulate the products, the CPSC admitted that it has insufficient data to determine whether the rule would actually improve safety over current industry-standard designs.
Bonneville Salt Flats: The Save the Salt Coalition continues its fundraising efforts to make dry salt repairs at the Bonneville Salt Flats. The coalition is comprised of SEMA and other organizations within the land-speed racing community with the mission of restoring Bonneville. The book A Century of Speed documenting Bonneville’s first 100 years of land-speed racing has already garnered nearly $50,000 in donations for salt replenishment activities. The coalition is pursuing a comprehensive program to transport, grade and roll dry salt within the racing area. The coalition will be expanding its 2014 efforts, which resulted in the deposit of 2,000 tons of salt at the end of the access road to Bonneville.
State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus
Current and former members of the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus gathered again this past November to meet with SEMA staff and enjoy the 2014 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The caucus, comprised of approximately 655 legislators in all 50 states, is serving to further raise the automotive hobby’s profile in the state capitols. In attendance were (standing left to right) U.S. Representative Doug LaMalfa (California), Senator Ted Gaines (California), Representative George Lavender (Texas), Senator Jim Patrick (Idaho), Delegate Eric Householder (West Virginia), Representative Denny Altes (Arkansas), Representative Bruce Hanna (Oregon), Representative Howard Mosby (Georgia), Representative Tim Freeman (Oregon), Senator David Parks (Nevada), (seated left to right) Senator Mark Manendo (Nevada), Representative Nikki Randall (Georgia), Caucus Chairman Delegate Gary Howell (West Virginia) and Assemblyman James Oscarson (Nevada).