LEGISLATIVE AND TECHNICAL AFFAIRS
Law and Order
California OHV Recreation: A bill was introduced to eliminate the requirement that $833,000 collected from off-highway vehicle (OHV) taxes and fees be transferred to the state’s general fund rather than being deposited into the Off-Highway Vehicle Fund. The legislation is currently in the Assembly Transportation Committee.
Maryland Warranty Denial: Legislation was introduced in the Maryland Senate to require new-car dealers to provide purchasers with a written statement declaring it illegal for manufacturers or dealers to void a warranty or deny coverage simply because aftermarket or recycled parts had been installed or someone other than the dealer had serviced the vehicle. The bill is currently before the Senate Finance Committee. A companion bill remains in the House Economic Matters Committee.
Maryland OHV Trails: A bill has been introduced in the Maryland Senate to establish a permanent OHV Trail Fund to maintain and construct trails on land owned or leased by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. There is no current fund for this purpose. If enacted, 0.5% of the excise tax collected when titling an OHV would be deposited in the fund. The bill is currently in the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.
New Jersey One-Time Vehicle Registration: A bill was introduced whereby the initial registration of a passenger vehicle never expires until there is a transfer of ownership. The bill is currently in the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee.
Oklahoma Military Humvees: A bill has been introduced that allows for the titling of a military high-mobility multipurpose vehicle (HMMV or Humvee). The bill would restrict those vehicles from traveling on interstate highways. Under current law, military Humvees are not allowed to be titled. The bill is currently in the House Transportation Committee.
Rhode Island New-Car Inspection: Legislation was introduced to extend the inspection exemption for new cars from two to five years from the date of purchase. The bill is currently in the House Finance Committee.
Utah Window Tinting: A bill was introduced that allows for window tinting if it meets a minimum standard of 25% light transmittance. The bill has been referred to the Senate Business and Labor Committee.
Utah OHV Funding: Utah lawmakers are considering a bill to align OHV registration fees with the areas of impact and required services. Currently, there is no specific fund related to OHV trail expansion, maintenance and infrastructure. The bill has been passed by the House and is currently in the Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee.
Virginia Military Surplus OHVs: The Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill to allow military surplus OHVs to be registered as antiques. These are Humvees produced for the U.S. Armed Forces and subsequently authorized for sale. The bill has been sent to the Senate Transportation Committee.
Washington Collector-Car Plates: The Washington Senate has passed a bill to permit the use of personalized license plates for collector vehicles for a one-time fee of $52. The bill is pending in the House Transportation Committee.
West Virginia OHV Access: A bill was introduced to create a special registration plate granting fullsize special-purpose off-road, self-assembled or modified OEM vehicles the same limited access to roads as all-terrain vehicles. Under current law, such vehicles do not qualify for registration as Class A vehicles and are not granted the same access to roads used by ATVs. The bill is currently in the Senate Transportation Committee.
West Virginia OHV Trails: Legislation allowing three or more contiguous counties to form regional recreation authorities to establish new recreational trail systems was approved by the West Virginia Senate. The regional recreation authorities would be required to work with private landowners, county officials, community leaders, government agencies, recreational user groups and recreational entrepreneurs to create programs to manage the trail systems. The bill is pending before the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
West Virginia OHV Access to Cabwaylingo State Forest: Legislation to create a two-year pilot program allowing all-terrain or recreational vehicles in Cabwaylingo State Forest is pending consideration by the Senate Natural Resources Committee. Those vehicles are not currently given access to this
A recent Outdoor Recreation Roundtable event included (left to right) SEMA Congressional Affairs Director Eric Snyder, U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, SEMA Senior Director of Federal Government Affairs Stuart Gosswein, and SEMA Research Manager Neal Billig.
Steel and Aluminum Tariffs: The U.S. Department of Commerce recommended that President Trump impose tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum, saying a potential dependence on foreign sources for these critical materials poses a threat to national security. The Commerce Department cited excess global production, which has reduced prices and resulted in the closure of many U.S. factories. According to the Commerce Department, U.S. steel mills are operating at 73% of capacity, and more than half of U.S. aluminum capacity now lies dormant. The Commerce Department recommended several options to potentially boost U.S. steel and aluminum production to 80% of current domestic capacity. President Trump intends to impose global duties of 25% for steel and 10% for aluminum although it remains to be decided whether the tariffs apply to finished products as well as imported raw material.
Outdoor Recreation Industry’s Economic Power: The U.S. Department of Commerce reported that the outdoor recreation industry’s annual gross output is around $673 billion. That represents 2% of the nation’s total gross domestic product (GDP) and surpasses other sectors such as agriculture, petroleum and coal, and computer and electronic products. Outdoor recreation covers a variety of activities, from off-roading to biking, boating, hiking and hunting. Motorized vehicles were the largest activity within the survey of 2016 data, accounting for $59.4 billion of gross output.
Outdoor Recreation Roundtable: The organization formerly known as the Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable merged with the American Recreation Coalition. The newly formed Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) is a coalition of America’s leading outdoor recreation trade associations, including SEMA. The ORR’s primary objectives are to garner recognition of the industry’s economic contributions; persuade the federal government to embrace a pro-recreation approach; increase recreational access to public lands and waters; advocate for public-private partnerships; boost infrastructure modernization and reduce backlogged maintenance; and encourage the next generation’s participation in outdoor recreation activities.