LEGISLATIVE AND TECHNICAL AFFAIRS
Law and Order
Delaware Emissions: Legislation was approved by the Transportation, Land Use and Infrastructure Committee to extend the emissions-inspection exemption for new cars from five to seven model years. Emissions inspections are required for vehicles being registered or titled for the first time and are then biennial based on the vehicle’s model year (during registration renewals). The bill has now been sent to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote by all members.
Indiana Mufflers: A bill to require all motor vehicles to be equipped with a factory-installed or equivalent aftermarket muffler died when the legislature adjourned for the year. The measure did not receive committee consideration. Indiana already requires that exhaust systems be “in constant operation to prevent excessive or unusual noise or smoke.” Among other things, the bill failed to recognize that factory replacement parts or comparables are not always readily available for all motor vehicles and would have made it difficult for hobbyists to replace factory exhaust systems with more durable, better-performing options.
Maine Single Plate: A proposal to remove the requirement that a motor vehicle must display a registration plate on the front of the motor vehicle died when the legislature adjourned for the year. The bill sought to protect the aesthetic contours of collector cars and relieve vehicle owners of the burden of having to create mounting holes on fabricated bumpers, etc.
Maryland Miles Traveled Tax: Legislation that sought to prohibit the state or a local jurisdiction from imposing a vehicle miles-traveled tax or other similar fees, tolls or taxes died when the legislature adjourned for the year. The bill did not receive a committee vote. The measure also would have prohibited the state or a local jurisdiction from requiring the installation of a device in or on a privately owned vehicle to facilitate the reporting of vehicle miles traveled.
New Jersey Warranty: A bill was approved by the full Assembly to require new-car dealers to provide purchasers with a written statement declaring that it is illegal for manufacturers or dealers to void a warranty or deny coverage because aftermarket or recycled parts were installed. The bill was amended to require the vehicle manufacturer to provide the written statement and not the dealer. The bill will now be sent to the Senate for consideration.
New York Historic Vehicles: Legislation was approved by the Senate to provide that a historical motor vehicle that was not manufactured with a license-plate display area on the front of the vehicle may display only a single plate on the rear of the vehicle. The bill will next be considered by the Assembly Transportation Committee. If enacted into law, the single-plate allowance would take effect on January 1 in the year after the bill is enacted into law.
Texas Single Plate: A measure to require the issuance of a single motor vehicle license plate for attachment at the rear of the vehicle died when the legislature adjourned for the year. The bill would have applied to all passenger cars used to accommodate 10 or fewer passengers as well as light trucks, including pickup trucks, panel delivery trucks or carryall trucks that have a manufacturer’s rated carrying capacity of 2,000 lbs. or less.
Canadian Provinces Proclaimed July 2017 as Automotive Heritage Month: Thanks to the efforts of the National Association of Automobile Clubs of Canada, the Manitoba Minister of Growth, Enterprise and Trade issued a proclamation designating July 14, 2017, as Collector Car Appreciation Day in the province. The Minister also designated the month of July as Automotive Heritage Month. In addition, the Minister of Service issued a proclamation designating July 2017 as Automotive Heritage Month in Newfoundland and Labrador. Those provinces join several other provinces, states and cities in the United States that have officially recognized the celebration. The date marked the eighth commemoration in what has become an annual event.
RPM Act: Support for the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act continues to grow in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. More than 165 members of Congress have now co-sponsored the bipartisan bill. 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 those vehicles. Passage of the RPM Act will protect sales beyond emissions-related parts, including racing tires, wheels, brakes, suspension equipment and rollcages. Customers wouldn’t be buying and installing those products if a car or motorcycle could not be converted into a dedicated race vehicle. Lawmakers are being urged to schedule the RPM Act for immediate consideration.
Overtime Pay: The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) intends to revisit a 2016 rule doubling the threshold at which employers must pay salaried workers time-and-a-half for overtime work. The DOL rule raised the minimum salary threshold required to qualify for the Fair Labor Standards Act’s “white collar” exemption to $47,476 per year. While the rule was scheduled to take effect on December 1, 2016, a challenge being considered in a federal appeals court placed it on hold last November. Before the rule was revised, management, administrative and professional employees who earned a salary of more than $23,660 a year were exempt from receiving overtime pay when they worked more than 40 hours a week. The rule impacts an estimated 4.2 million salaried workers. Some employers had already increased workers’ salaries or adjusted work schedules in anticipation that the rule would take effect. The DOL intends to reopen the rule to public comment.
Apprenticeships: President Donald Trump signed an executive order intended to make it easier for companies, trade associations and unions to develop federally recognized apprenticeship programs. Such apprenticeships are paid positions that combine on-the-job training with classroom education and earn the participant a credential. The Department of Labor (DOL) oversees the national apprenticeship program in conjunction with the states. It establishes federal and state standards for private programs sponsored by individual employers, industry associations, educational institutions and others. The DOL will attempt to reduce red tape and overly rigid requirements for administering apprenticeship programs. The federal program’s funding will also nearly double to $200 million. The United States has an estimated 6 million job vacancies, many of which remain unfilled because of a skilled labor shortage.
California OHVs: The House Natural Resources Committee passed legislation that requires the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to reopen the 75,000-acre Clear Creek National Recreation Area (NRA) in California’s San Benito and Fresno counties for recreational use, including off-highway vehicle (OHV) access. The Clear Creek National Recreation Area and Conservation Act provides OHV access to more than 240 miles of public trails. Clear Creek NRA was closed in 2008 due to potential concern about exposure to naturally occurring asbestos. However, an independent risk-assessment study requested by the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission concluded that management and operational strategies could be effectively employed to allow OHV use without exposing the public to unacceptable risks. The bill would reopen the Clear Creek NRA and implement the recommended management strategies.