LEGISLATIVE AND TECHNICAL AFFAIRS
Law and Order
|SEMA Action Network Celebrates Number 20: Last year, the SEMA Action Network (SAN) celebrated two decades of political horsepower. Over the past 20 years, hard-fought battles have been waged over Cash for Clunker initiatives, unfair exhaust-noise restrictions, excessive taxes, titling and registration problems, backyard builds, racing, and a slew of other issues. From fax machines to Facebook, the SAN’s history is chronicled on the SAN website at www.semasan.com/history. Automotive media personality Courtney Hansen joined the celebration as the SAN’s special guest at the 2017 SEMA Show. She was available to greet attendees at the SAN booth, which featured the ICON BR-series 4x4, a restored Ford Bronco with classic styling and modern performance equipment.|
Federal Recreation Advisory Committee: U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the creation of a Recreation Advisory Committee to help improve visitor experiences on public lands. The committee will be “dedicated to looking at public-private partnerships, with the goal of expanding access to and improving the infrastructure on public lands.” The Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable (ORIR) had urged the creation of the new advisory committee. The ORIR is comprised of leading industry associations (including SEMA) that represent off-roading, camping, fishing, boating, hiking, archery and other sports. The Recreation Advisory Committee will help advance the ORIR’s primary mission, which is to pursue federal policy reforms for rebuilding and expanding the nation’s recreation-related infrastructure. The creation of the Recreation Advisory Committee is an important step in harnessing the might of the $887-billion-per-year outdoor recreation economy. The committee will offer new opportunities for private-sector collaboration with the Interior Department on a wide range of issues, including expansion of world-class visitor services and infrastructure, skillful management of peak visitation, improving fee collection, incorporating new technologies, and much more.
Tax-Cut Legislation: Republican congressional leaders and the Trump administration are pursuing legislation to overhaul the U.S. tax code. At press time, the U.S. House and Senate were considering two separate measures to be reconciled into one package. Both bills would permanently cut the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20%, while reducing some personal taxpayers’ rates and shrinking deductions for individuals. The House bill would collapse today’s seven personal income-tax rates into four: 12%, 25%, 35% and 39.6%. The Senate would maintain seven income tax rates: 10%, 12%, 23%, 24%, 32%, 35% and 38.5%. While the House bill’s proposed rates would be made permanent, the Senate bill’s tax rates for individuals would end in 2026 and then need to be renewed due to Senate procedural rules.
SEMA President Urges Congress to Protect American Motorsports
SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting testified before the U.S. Senate Clean Air Subcommittee in November in support of the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act, S. 203. The RPM Act clarifies that it is legal under federal law to manufacture, sell, distribute and install race parts that modify the emissions system of a motor vehicle that is used solely for racing.
Congress never intended for race vehicles—which have minimal environmental impact—to be regulated under the Clean Air Act (CAA). However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed rule in 2015 stating that it is illegal to convert a motor vehicle into a race car if the vehicle’s emissions system no longer remains in its certified configuration. The EPA also asserted that marketing race parts was illegal if such products were capable of being installed on street vehicles. Although the EPA removed the proposal from the final rulemaking, the agency still asserts that it has authority under the CAA to regulate emissions modifications to converted vehicles used solely for competition.
“The EPA’s interpretation of the Clean Air Act would have a devastating impact on motorsports, since most race cars start life as street vehicles,” Kersting said. “It’s time for Congress to pass the RPM Act. This commonsense bipartisan legislation would provide much-needed certainty to the small businesses that supply the products used in motorsports.”