SEMA News—February 2013
LEGISLATIVE AND TECHNICAL AFFAIRS
By Steve McDonald
Law and Order
Law and Order is an update of some of the most recent federal and state legislative and regulatory issues that could potentially impact the automotive specialty-equipment industry. These include issues affecting small-business owners and their employees.
California State Legislature:
While most of the national attention during last November’s election was devoted to the presidential race, an event critical to the state of California also created news. With all the votes counted, one party has garnered enough seats in both houses of California’s legislature to now govern the state with a supermajority that can overturn a governor’s veto. Democrats now hold 54 seats of California’s 80-seat assembly and 25 of the 40 state senate seats. With a supermajority, Democrats will no longer need Republican support to pass tax increases. Article 13A of California’s constitution notes that “any change in state statute which results in any taxpayer paying a higher tax must be imposed by an act passed by not less than two-thirds of all members elected to each of the two houses of the Legislature.”
California Vehicle Licensing Tax:
California Senator Ted Lieu is dropping a plan to ask voters to triple the state’s vehicle license fee rates through a constitutional amendment. Under the plan, Lieu indicated that the 1.35% transportation system user fee increase would generate an estimated $3.5 to $4 billion annually for roads and public transit. In scrapping the plan, he said in a statement that “over the last few weeks California’s political landscape has changed. I have listened carefully to those who have contacted my office or me. Additionally, more stakeholders weighed in on this important issue. As a result, I will not be introducing the proposal. Instead, I will work with transportation stakeholders and the public next year on alternative ways to mitigate the transportation infrastructure problem.”
Wyoming Registration Fees:
SEMA is working with Wyoming lawmakers to oppose legislation pre-filed for consideration in 2013 that would increase vehicle registration fees by $10 for passenger vehicles and would double registration fees based on unladen vehicle weight for non-commercial trucks. For example, the registration fee for a vehicle weighing 6,001 pounds or more would rise from $60 to $120. In addition, the bill increases the gasoline and diesel fuel taxes by $.10 per gallon.
Canada Toxic Substances:
Legislation has been introduced in the Canadian Parliament to prohibit the sale, importation or advertisement of any product that contains a toxic substance unless the product contains a warning label on one or more surfaces of its packaging. Under the bill, a “toxic substance” is defined as any substance identified as carcinogenic by various bodies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. National Toxicology Program, the California Air Resources Board, any directive of the European Parliament or Council of the European Union and various other bodies that classify toxic substances. The prohibitions would also include any substance that is prescribed as toxic in the regulations required by the measure.
State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus Dinner
Members of the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus gathered again this past November to meet with SEMA staff and enjoy the 2012 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. In attendance were (left to right) Representative Joe Pitre (New Hampshire), Senator Mark Manendo (Nevada), Representative Stan Blake (Wyoming), Representative Elaine Bowers (Kansas), Senator Ted Gaines (California), Senator David Parks (Nevada), Representative Nikki Randall (Georgia), Assemblymember Bill Reilich (New York) and Assemblymember Richard Carrillo (Nevada).
Tire-Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS):
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued survey results on the effectiveness of TPMS. The technical report analyzes a sampling of data collected from tires mounted on model year ’04–’07 vehicles. The survey found that 23.1% of the vehicles without TPMS had at least one severely underinflated tire (25% or more below the recommended cold tire pressure). Only 11.8% of TPMS-equipped vehicles had an underinflated tire. The percentage dropped even further, to just 5.7%, for a sampling of model year ’08–’11 vehicles. The NHTSA also estimates that its TPMS rule saved $511 million in 2011 in reduced fuel consumption as a result of more properly inflated tires.
Proposed National Monument Threat to OHV Trails:
SEMA joined with the Off Road Business Association (ORBA) and a number of other motorized recreation groups to oppose designating 1.4 million acres of land in Utah as a national monument. The area surrounds Canyonlands National Park and is referred to as “Greater Canyonlands.” There is no widespread local or congressional support for the designation, which could threaten to close off-highway vehicle (OHV) use and shared access. The president has the authority to declare a national monument, but monuments are typically small in acreage. A number of conservation groups are now pressuring President Obama to designate the large swathe of Utah land and simultaneously close 1,050 miles of OHV routes and monitor 1,450 miles for possible future closure. SEMA and its motorized recreation partners sent a letter to the president urging the administration to abandon the idea, citing the positive economic impact of motorized recreation activities, which account for more than $257 billion in annual economic impact nationwide. The letter calls for a more collaborative approach to land-use decisions, including input from local citizens, elected leaders and other stakeholders.
Fourth Collector Car Appreciation Day to Be Celebrated on July 12, 2013
SEMA and its Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) and Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) announced that the next Collector Car Appreciation Day will be celebrated on July 12, 2013. The date marks the fourth consecutive commemoration in what has become an annual event to raise awareness of the vital role automotive restoration and collection plays in American society.
SEMA and its councils will once again seek a congressional resolution to recognize the day’s significance. The industry endeavors to preserve the nation’s automotive heritage while providing well-paying, high-skilled jobs nationwide. Collector Car Appreciation Day is a singular tribute to the collector-car industry and the millions of hobbyists it supports.
“The U.S. Senate helped launch Collector Car Appreciation Day by passing resolutions each year at our request,” said SEMA Vice President of Government Affairs Steve McDonald. “As we prepare for the fourth celebration of our nation’s automotive heritage, enthusiasts and related businesses are already planning open houses, car cruises, club gatherings and educational events to mark this annual commemoration. In fact, Collector Car Appreciation Day is quickly taking on a global character, with events held in the United States, Canada and Australia.”
Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus Co-Chairs Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) and Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) sponsored the previous resolutions. Senators Tester and Burr have been strong advocates for the automotive hobby in D.C. and recognize the integral role collector cars have played in fostering our nation’s appreciation for the automobile’s unique historical place in our history. The caucus is an informal, nonpartisan group that pays tribute to America’s ever-growing love affair with the car and motorsports.
“Over the past three years, thousands of enthusiasts and collectors have celebrated their hobby at events throughout the country,” said Alex Tainsh, chairman of ARMO. “The event continues to grow in prominence as a summer holiday for the hobby. This year, we look forward to partnering with enthusiasts, car clubs and businesses to make this the largest celebration to date.”
Said Rick Love, chairman-elect of HRIA: “Collector Car Appreciation Day is an opportunity for hobbyists to share their passion for the automotive hobby. Each year, more events are held to raise awareness of the unique educational and economic impact of collector-car enthusiasts across the globe.”
SEMA will maintain and publicize a list of scheduled events to commemorate America’s time-tested love affair with the automobile. Individuals, car clubs and business owners interested in publicizing events should contact Colby Martin, director of the SEMA Action Network (SAN), at 909-978-6721 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For those unable to celebrate on July 12, 2013, SEMA encourages events to be scheduled throughout the month of July.