LEGISLATIVE AND TECHNICAL AFFAIRS
Law and Order
California Ban on Combustion Engines: Legislation introduced in the California Assembly would require a transition to fully electric vehicles in the state by the year 2040. The bill would prohibit the Department of Motor Vehicles from accepting registration for new vehicles unless they meet the state’s “Zero Emission Vehicle” standard. An exemption has been made for vehicles weighing more than 10,000 lbs. and certain vehicles brought in from out of state. However, the current bill does not allow for any other exemptions for collector or hobbyist vehicles. The bill has not yet been assigned to a committee for debate.
Iowa Single Plate: A bill has been introduced to allow model ’78 or older vehicles to display a single license plate on the rear of the vehicle. Current law allows single license plates on model ’48 or older vehicles. The bill also allows reconstructed or specially constructed vehicles built to resemble motor vehicles that are model-year ’78 or older to display a single plate. A Senate Transportation Subcommittee will consider the bill.
Iowa Special-Interest Plate: Legislation has been introduced in the Iowa Senate to provide for the creation of license plates for special-interest vehicles in the state. These are vehicles used solely for public displays, parades, related pleasure or hobby activities, or occasional transportation not related to the person’s business or occupation. Iowa already allows for the registration of antique, replica, street rod, and year-of-manufacture plates. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Transportation Committee.
Maryland Single Plate: Legislation has been introduced in the Maryland State Senate to require the issuance of only a single license plate for all motor vehicles. The legislation would bring Maryland in line with other states that have moved to a single-plate requirement while protecting the aesthetic appearance of the automobiles. The bill has been referred to the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.
Nebraska Vehicle Titling: A version of SEMA-model legislation to ease the process by which replica, assembled, kit, and reconstructed cars are titled and registered has been introduced. The bill is currently awaiting a hearing in the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee.
New Jersey Street Rod Bill: A version of SEMA-model legislation that would create a vehicle registration classification for street rods and replica custom vehicles and provide for special license plates has been reintroduced in the New Jersey Assembly. The bill defines a street rod as an altered vehicle manufactured before 1948 and a custom as an altered vehicle at least 25 years old and manufactured after 1948. The bill allows a kit car or a replica vehicle to be assigned a certificate of title bearing the same model-year designation as the body of the vehicle it most closely resembles. The bill is currently in the Assembly Transportation Committee.
New York Historic Car Registration: Legislation has been reintroduced in the New York Senate to provide that historical vehicle owners pay only a one-time registration fee of $100 upon initial registration. The bill has been referred to the New York Senate Transportation Committee.
Rhode Island Antique Plates: A bill has been introduced to allow courtesy plates for vehicles 25 years old or older. In addition, the state introduced a separate bill that provides courtesy year-of-manufacture plates to vehicles 25 years old or older. Under the current law, “antique” plates are available for vehicles that are at least 25 years old and used only for exhibitions, parades, and car club activities. Owners of vehicles currently registered as “antique” may purchase and display replica year-of-manufacture plates with DMV approval.
Virginia Military Surplus OHVs: Legislation has been introduced in the Virginia House of Delegates to allow military surplus off-road vehicles to be registered as antiques. This is a high-mobility, multipurpose wheeled vehicle that was manufactured by or under the direction of the United States Armed Forces and subsequently authorized for sale. Under current Virginia law, “antique” vehicle registration is available for vehicles that are at least 25 years old and not used for general transportation. The bill has been assigned to the House Transportation Committee.
Washington Collector-Car Plates: Legislation has been introduced in the Washington Senate to allow for personalized license plates for collector vehicles. The plates would be available for a one-time fee of $52.
West Virginia Property Taxes: A bill has been introduced in the West Virginia State Legislature to provide owners of all motor vehicles registered in the state with an exemption from property taxes on the vehicles. The bill is pending in the House Roads and Transportation Committee for consideration.
West Virginia Antique Military Vehicles: Legislation has been introduced in the West Virginia House to provide antique military vehicles with an exemption from the requirement to display license plates. This bill creates an alternative registration insignia that does not interfere with the traditional military markings on the vehicle. The bill has been assigned to the House Committee on Roads and Transportation.
Internet Sales Taxes: The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether states can require internet retailers to collect sales taxes even when they have no physical presence in the state. The Court is revisiting the 1992 Quill vs. North Dakota decision, which said that retailers must have a certain level of physical presence (nexus) in a state before that state can force the retailer to collect taxes. The Supreme Court noted that Congress could enact legislation to authorize collection, but that has not occurred to date. The state of South Dakota has pursued a case which contends that the 1992 decision is obsolete in the e-commerce era. In 2016, South Dakota passed legislation requiring out-of-state retailers to collect sales taxes. Lower courts blocked the law, citing the Quill case. The Court will likely hear the case this spring and could issue a decision this summer.
Federal Automated Vehicle Standards:
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has requested the public to assist in identifying any regulatory barriers within the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) to the testing and certification of motor vehicles with Automated Driving Systems (ADS) or unconventional interior designs. The agency’s primary focus is on ADS vehicles without manual driver controls such as a steering wheel or brake and accelerator pedals. For example, many safety standards include references to “driver” and “driver’s seating position,” and the test procedures assume that there will be a human driver. Further, there may be instances in which the safety standard includes requirements unnecessary for ADS vehicles, such as telltale driver displays. These vehicles will incorporate new or improved technologies such as sensors, cameras, lidar and radar. Nevertheless, NHTSA wants to maintain current FMVSS performance requirements while permitting the incorporation of ADS.