Law and Order

SEMA News—July 2017

LEGISLATIVE AND TECHNICAL AFFAIRS

By Steve McDonald

Law and Order

STATE UPDATE
  kentucky
Kentucky Off-Highway Vehicles: Legislation was signed into law by Governor Matt Bevin to promote and fund outdoor recreation and tourism development by establishing the Kentucky Mountain Regional Recreation Authority (KMRA). Under the new law, the state will establish, maintain and promote a recreational trail system throughout the KMRA to increase economic development, tourism and outdoor recreation for residents and visitors. The law will provide recreational opportunities for, among other things, all-terrain vehicle riding, motorcycle riding, rock climbing, off-highway vehicle driving and pleasure driving.
   

Alaska OHV Area: Legislation was introduced establishing the Jonesville Public Use Area to protect, maintain, perpetuate and enhance year-round public recreation. The bill would, among other things, provide opportunities for the public to enjoy the area through a full spectrum of public uses, including the maintenance and enhancement of off-road vehicle recreational opportunities.

California Labeling: A bill was approved by the Senate Environmental Quality Committee and referred to the Labor and International Relations Committee to require cleaning-product manufacturers to disclose all ingredients and “contaminants of concern” on the product label and the manufacturer’s website. The bill would be costly and onerous for manufacturers of cleaning products and would require listing for chemicals that pose no health risk at all. Further, the measure adds to Proposition 65 and other laws that already require warning labels for chemicals known to pose health risks.

California OHV Programs: Legislation was approved by the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee to make permanent California’s Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) program. Currently, the program is slated to expire at the end of 2017. The OHMVR program provides funds to local, state and federal agencies, educational institutions and nonprofit entities for OHV management on both federal and state lands. Separate legislation to allow funds collected for the OHMVR program to be spent by other agencies on unrelated programs and never reimbursed was approved by the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee and sent to the Senate Transportation Committee for consideration.

Louisiana Antique Vehicles: Legislation has been introduced to exempt antique motor vehicles from state and local taxes. The bill defines an “antique motor vehicle” as a motor vehicle that was manufactured at least 25 years ago, is maintained by a private collector and is not used for commercial purposes. If enacted into law, the measure would become effective on July 1, 2017.

Maine Mileage-Based User Fee: Legislation has been introduced to establish a task force to guide the development of a mileage-based user fee pilot program to be implemented instead of the gas tax. The bill would create the Road Usage Charge Task Force to guide the development of a mileage-based user fee pilot program for Maine’s highways and bridges as an alternative to the gas tax system.

montana


Montana Single Plate: Legislation was signed into law by Governor Steve Bullock to provide for the issuance of a single, rear-mounted license plate for certain motor vehicles. Under the new law, “if a person is not able to comply with the requirement that a front license plate be displayed because of the body construction of the motor vehicle, the person may submit to the Highway Patrol an application for a waiver along with a $25 inspection fee.” The law requires that the waiver certificate be carried in the motor vehicle and be available upon demand by law enforcement. Vehicle owners are not obligated to apply for the waiver or pay the fee.

 
   

Nevada Classic Vehicles: After several conversations with SEMA staff and members of the collector-car hobby in Nevada, legislation to alter the registration requirements for “classic” vehicles was withdrawn by the bill’s sponsor. Under the bill, the holder of a classic-vehicle license plate seeking an emissions inspection exemption would have been required to verify the odometer reading of the vehicle. These verifications would have been completed for a fee by an approved inspector at certain emissions-compliance stations to determine that the vehicle was driven less than 5,000 miles the previous year. The bill also required proof that the vehicle was covered by only a collector motor vehicle liability policy. SEMA will host a stakeholders meeting in the state later this year to discuss practical methods by which the law can be applied to better target abusers of the classic plate.

West Virginia Abandoned Vehicles: Legislation was approved by the West Virginia House and Senate to create a special procedure for a person in possession of an abandoned antique vehicle to apply for and receive title to the vehicle. The bill has now been sent to the governor for his signature and enactment into law. Under the measure, the state would search for the owner of the vehicle and provide notice that an application has been filed for title to the vehicle. Antique motor vehicles are those vehicles manufactured more than 25 years before the current date.

West Virginia Ethanol: A West Virginia House Resolution was approved by the West Virginia House supporting the passage of legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to roll back ethanol fuel requirements. The resolution recognizes that ethanol can cause metal corrosion and dissolve certain plastics and rubbers, especially in older motor vehicles that were not constructed with ethanol-compatible materials. The resolution also acknowledges that the U.S. House legislation would prohibit the sale of gasoline containing 15% ethanol (E15) to meet artificial Renewable Fuel Standards deadlines.

West Virginia Exhaust Systems: Legislation that would have made it a criminal offense to disturb the peace with “noise from an exhaust system of any vehicle that is not equipped or constructed to prevent any disturbing or unreasonably loud noise” died when the legislature adjourned for the year. Under the bill, vehicle owners convicted of a violation would have been fined up to $1,000 per occurrence, confined up to six months in jail, or both. Current West Virginia law allows only a muffler originally installed by the manufacturer or an equivalent. The law provides no objective noise measurement standard for exhaust systems that would benefit consumers, industry and police officers charged with enforcing the law. The term “disturbing or unreasonably loud” is highly subjective and open to wide interpretation.

West Virginia Light Bars: Legislation was signed into law by Governor Jim Justice to eliminate the requirement that roof-mounted off-road light bars be covered when vehicles are operated on roads and highways. The bill also raises the number of permissible auxiliary passing lamps and auxiliary driving lamps from one to two. The new law requires that light bars be turned off when vehicles are being operated on roads and highways and promotes the fact that aftermarket lighting systems are manufactured to improve off-road safety.

West Virginia Off-Highway Vehicles: Legislation to empower two or more contiguous counties to form regional authorities to establish new recreational trail systems and management programs tailored to the needs of their communities was approved by the West Virginia House and Senate but vetoed by the governor. The bill would have directed that those authorities work with private landowners, county officials, community leaders, government agencies, recreational user groups and recreational entrepreneurs on the initiatives. The governor cited concern about potential limits for trail ridership and visitors and a threat to the existing recreational trail system’s economic development by “spreading those riders and visitors over a much larger geographic area. Before private capital will be brought to the marketplace in support of a recreational trail system, a density of trail ridership must be demonstrated and sustained over a period of years to warrant the investment.”

West Virginia Off-Road Recreation: Legislation to create a two-year pilot program permitting recreational vehicles on designated roads and trails in Cabwaylingo State Forest died when the legislature adjourned for the year. The West Virginia Senate had approved it. The bill also provided for designation of campgrounds and tent sites to be used by ATV and ORV users.

West Virginia OHV Areas: Legislation to require that the state create and publicly post a list of state-managed areas where the operation of off-highway vehicles by the public is permitted died when the legislature adjourned for the year. Separate legislation to require that the state create a searchable digital road map that indicates the condition of public roads has been approved by the legislature and sent to the governor for his signature and enactment into law. If signed, the law would require that a digital road map indicate whether public roads are unpaved and unimproved, unpaved and improved, unlined and paved, or lined and paved. The digital road map would also indicate the types of vehicles that may use each road, including fullsize vehicles and off-highway vehicles such as all-terrain vehicles, utility-terrain vehicles, motorcycles and off-road vehicles.

West Virginia Collector Plates: Legislation to provide for special plates for use on collector vehicles and allow for the transfer of the plates between collector vehicles owned by the collector died when the legislature adjourned for the year. The bill had been approved by the House Roads and Transportation Committee but was not considered by the Finance Committee prior to adjournment.

West Virginia License Plates: Legislation to require registration plates on the front and back of all motor vehicles died when the legislature adjourned for the year. The bill was not given consideration by the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. In addition to increasing costs, the measure would have wasted valuable resources and brought West Virginia into conflict with other states that are moving to a single-
plate requirement.

FEDERAL UPDATE

  RPM
RPM Act: The Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act continues to gain support in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. The RPM Act clarifies that the Clean Air Act allows motor vehicles to be converted into dedicated race cars and that it is legal to produce, sell and install race parts for these vehicles. Passage of the RPM Act will protect sales beyond emissions-related parts, products such as racing tires, wheels, brakes, suspension equipment and rollcages. Customers won’t be buying and installing these products if a car or motorcycle can’t be converted into a dedicated race vehicle. The RPM Act has more than 100 House sponsors and more than 25 sponsors in the Senate. SEMA members are playing an integral role in raising the profile of the RPM Act in the halls of Congress. Letters and emails from member companies, their employees and enthusiasts have been extremely helpful in building support. If you haven’t already signed a letter to your members of Congress, please visit www.sema.org/rpm.
   

National Monument Designations: The U.S. Department of the Interior is reviewing up to 40 national monument designations dating back to 1996 and will recommend whether any should be rescinded, resized or modified. The review applies to monuments larger than 100,000 acres and those designations the department determines were not sufficiently coordinated with stakeholders. At issue is the 110-year-old Antiquities Act, a law that gives the president authority to preserve land with significant natural, cultural or scientific features. Hundreds of millions of acres have been set aside over the decades, leading many to question whether the footprints are larger than necessary. Two examples include the 1996 Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (1.88 million acres) and the Bears Ear National Monument (1.35 million acres), both in Utah. SEMA supports the review of national monument designations and legislation in the U.S. Congress to curtail the president’s power to unilaterally designate national monuments by requiring their approval by Congress and the impacted state legislature(s). The issue is consequential, since national monuments automatically prohibit new roads or trails for motorized vehicles and require that a new land-management plan be drafted that could lead to more road closures.

Utah’s Recapture Canyon Re-opened to OHV Recreation: The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) opened nearly seven miles of trails to motorized recreation in the north end of Recapture Canyon in San Juan County, Utah. Off-road enthusiasts will be able to enjoy 5.6 miles of trails specifically for all-terrain vehicle use and 1.2 miles of trails that can accommodate fullsize vehicles. The BLM’s new travel management plan lifts a 2007 ban on motorized travel through Recapture Canyon that closed 1,871 acres to motorized vehicles.

Kentucky Off-Highway Vehicles: Legislation was signed into law by Governor Matt Bevin to promote and fund outdoor recreation and tourism development by establishing the Kentucky Mountain Regional Recreation Authority (KMRA). Under the new law, the state will establish, maintain and promote a recreational trail system throughout the KMRA to increase economic development, tourism and outdoor recreation for residents and visitors. The law will provide recreational opportunities for, among other things, all-terrain vehicle riding, motorcycle riding, rock climbing, off-highway vehicle driving and pleasure driving.

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