Law and Order

SEMA News—September 2016

LEGISLATIVE AND TECHNICAL AFFAIRS

Law and Order

By Steve McDonald

STATE UPDATE

  Law and Order
Collector Car Appreciation Day: The U.S. Senate passed Senate Resolution 507 (S. Res. 507) designating July 8, 2016, as Collector Car Appreciation Day. S. Res. 507 was sponsored by Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus Co-Chairs Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) and Senator Jon Tester (D-MT). This SEMA-sponsored “holiday” has been marked each year since 2010 by a U.S. Senate Resolution recognizing that the “col­lection and restoration of historic and classic cars is an important part of preserving the technological achievements and cultural heritage of the United States.” As in years past, a wide range of automotive events were held to commemorate the occasion.
   

California Emissions: In a severe disappointment for the old-car hobby, the California Senate failed to gain final approval for legislation to exempt motor vehicles prior to the ’81 model year from the emissions-inspection requirement. Under the amended bill, vehicles manufactured after the ’76 model year but prior to the ’81 model year would have been exempted if the owner submitted proof that the vehicle was insured as a collector motor vehicle. This exemption would have been a two-year trial that would have needed to be renewed by separate legislation in order to continue. Current law requires the lifetime testing of all ’76-and-newer model-year vehicles.

California Vehicle Retirement Program: Legislation to expand the state’s program for the retirement and replacement of older passenger vehicles and light- and medium-duty trucks was approved by the Assembly and sent to the Senate Transportation Committee for consideration. Current law provides for “an enhanced fleet modernization program” to be administered by the Bureau of Automotive Repair, based on guidelines adopted by the Air Resources Board. Beginning in the 2017–2018 fiscal year, the bill would require the agencies to set specific and measurable goals for the program’s expansion.

Connecticut Titles: Legislation to require the state, upon the owner’s request, to issue titles for older vehicles not currently required to be titled under Connecticut law was passed by the Legislature and sent to Governor Dannel Malloy for his signature and enactment into law. These vehicles would include those more than 20 model years old. The new law expands the out-of-state market for older Connecticut motor vehicles and enhances their value to collectors.

New Hampshire Off-Highway Vehicles: A bill to re-establish the authority of the Bureau of Trails to permit larger off-highway recreational vehicles at Jericho Mountain State Park was signed into law by Governor Maggie Hassan. Under New Hampshire law, “Off highway recreational vehicle means any mechanically propelled vehicle used for pleasure or recreational purposes running on rubber tires, tracks, or cushion of air and dependent on the ground or surface for travel, or other unimproved terrain, whether covered by ice or snow or not, where the operator sits in or on the vehicle.”

Vermont Fees: Legislation to increase annual motor-vehicle fees and taxes was signed into law by Governor Peter Shumlin. Among the fee increases are those for registration, administration, plates and titles. Even seldom-driven exhibition vehicles will see an increase to the annual registration fee from $15 to $21.

Canada Collector Cars: The province of Saskatchewan issued a proclamation designating July 2016 as Automotive Heritage Month in the province. Saskatchewan joined Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, which issued similar proclamations earlier this year. British Columbia issued a proclamation designating July 9, 2016, as Collector Car Appreciation Day and the month of July 2016 to be Collector Car Appreciation Month.

FEDERAL UPDATE

EPA and Racing Parts: SEMA is working to advance the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act, which clarifies that the Clean Air Act allows for the modification of motor vehicles for race use only and that making, selling and installing race products for this purpose is not unlawful tampering. The RPM Act has garnered strong support in Congress, including 104 sponsors in the House and 19 in the Senate. SEMA has engaged its member companies, other impacted trade associations and racing enthusiasts to oppose the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency action and support the legislation.

Small-Business Health-Care Fines: The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation to eliminate fines imposed on companies with fewer than 50 employees that do not sponsor health-care plans but provide pretax dollars to workers through Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs). HRAs are employer-funded plans that allow a company to reimburse its workers for health-care premiums and out-of-pocket medical expenses. In 2013, the Internal Revenue Service ruled that the Affordable Care Act made it illegal for a company to fund HRAs not tied to a group plan. The Small Business Health Care Relief Act allows these companies to use pretax dollars to continue providing health-care assistance outside a group plan. The bill has also been introduced in the Senate and has strong bipartisan support.

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