LEGISLATIVE AND TECHNICAL AFFAIRS
Law and Order
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. The House-passed legislation has been referred to the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Alaska Off-Road Vehicles: Legislation establishing the Jonesville Public Use Area to protect, maintain, perpetuate and enhance year-round public recreation was not considered in committee before the legislature adjourned for the year. The bill would have, among other things, provided 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. The measure is eligible for consideration in 2018.
California Tires: A bill that sought to include motor vehicle tires that contain zinc oxide for evaluation as potential priority products under the Green Chemistry program was gutted and replaced with unrelated legislation. When a product is listed as a priority product, it immediately begins a process of hazard evaluations that could lead to regulatory restrictions ranging from a hazard-warning label to a full ban on tires containing zinc oxide.
California Emissions: Legislation to extend the emissions inspection exemption for new cars from six to eight model years has been approved by the Senate Environmental Quality Committee and now moves to the Appropriations Committee. The full California Assembly has already approved the bill. Under the bill, the newly exempted motor vehicles (model years seven and eight) would be subject to an annual smog abatement fee of $24. If enacted into law, the measure would become effective on January 1, 2018.
California Proposition 65: SEMA has created a webpage with information about California’s Proposition 65. The state law requires businesses to warn California consumers if their products contain threshold amounts of chemicals causing cancer or reproductive harm. The webpage contains an overview of the law, including a description of labeling requirements, information on new regulations, ideas regarding testing and compliance with the law, and links to other resources: www.sema.org/prop65.
Delaware Emissions: The House of Representatives approved a proposal to extend the emissions-inspection exemption for new cars from five to seven model years. Having already been passed by the Senate, the bill will now be sent to the governor for his signature and enactment into law. Emissions inspections are required for vehicles being registered or titled for the first time and then biennially based on their model year (during registration renewals).
Louisiana Antique Vehicles: A bill to exempt antique motor vehicles from state and local taxes was not considered by the House Ways and Means Committee before the legislature adjourned for the year. The legislation defined an “antique motor vehicle” as a vehicle that was manufactured at least 25 years ago, is maintained by a private collector, and is not used for commercial purposes.
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 175 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 these vehicles. Passage of the RPM Act will protect sales beyond emissions-related parts, including racing tires, wheels, brakes, suspension equipment and rollcages. Customers won’t be buying and installing these products if a car or motorcycle cannot be converted into a dedicated race vehicle. Lawmakers are being urged to schedule the RPM Act for immediate consideration.