Much happened since our last SEMA Law & Order update – many bills in favor of hobbyists have been approved, others have been introduced, and many more are continuing their trek through the legislative process. Unfortunately, the month of March isn’t without concerning updates as well. With the SEMA Action Network (SAN) doing round-the-clock surveillance, if you will, on legislative actions all over the country, we are better informed and can more easily take a stand against legislation that could negatively affect our beloved automotive hobby.
Legislators have been busy nationwide approving a number of pro-hobbiest bills in the House and Senate of its respective states the past month, passing the bills on to the next step in the legislative process and on the way to becoming laws.
Included on this list is a West Virginia bill proposing that specialty plates be made available for collector vehicles, a Maryland bill proposing amended vehicle registration requirements for historic vehicles, a New Hampshire bill that moves to eliminate emissions testing for historic vehicles, and another West Virginia bill aiming to allow abandoned vehicles to be retitled.
License Plates And Titles
Other bills that have received the green light, from either the House or the Senate in the last 30 days, include an Iowa bill aiming to make the use of a single license plate on vehicles standard, an Alabama bill looking to exempt collector vehicles from vehicle titling requirements, and a West Virginia bill that aims to allow additional racing opportunities in the state on public roads, airport properties, and the like.
A bill opposing the move to make it illegal to create race cars out of original factory street vehicles we told you about last month in West Virginia has moved forward to the Senate for approval, after being approved by the House. If passed, this opposition would prevent the anti-hobbiest bill from going through and insure the continuation of the long-lived and beloved practice of building race cars out of factory street vehicles for years to come.
On top of the pro-hobbiest bills working its way through the legislative process, more bills have been introduced that have automotive enthusiasts looking to a better future. Bills such as the one introduced in New Jersey that would lead to the issuance of stickers for emission-exempt vehicles, and one in California that aims to exempt all model-year vehicles from 1981 and before from emissions.
There is also a bill in Idaho that would only require the use of one plate on collector vehicles if passed into law. All of these license plate bills are pushing for hobbyists’ continued rights. Unfortunately, in a disappointing move, Hawaii legislators have approved a bill aiming to increase fees for all vehicles, including those of historic significance, which now moves to the House for further approval.
Though the one anti-hobbies bill in Hawaii has us on edge, other states have stepped up in a big way for the automotive community, sending pro-hobbies bills to their state governors for signatures, and having some bills already signed into law. These include legislation that will make the use of single license plates on collector vehicles a standard practice in Nebraska and South Dakota, as well as West Virginia resolution that is expected to pass and recognize the second Friday of July 2016 as National Collector Car Appreciation Day.
Save The Salt!
Last, but certainly not least, a major win for the automotive scene comes out of Utah this month, as the House, Senate and state governor all voted to approve a resolution that would urge the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to restore the Bonneville Salt Flats.
This resolution comes after much concern over the dwindling amount of salt that has occurred at the Salt Flats under BLM’s management of the nationally registered historic place since 1945.
The resolution calls attention to the deterioration of conditions at the Bonneville Salt Flats as well as urges the BLM to work with the Save the Salt Coalition, Utah Alliance, and other stakeholders to come up with a plan to restore the Bonneville Salt Flats International Speedway to safe landspeed racing conditions. The resolution also calls for the U.S. Congress and Utah’s congressional delegation to take action, ensuring that the restoration of the Bonneville Salt Flats happens.
New legislation is always popping up when it comes to our automotive hobby, and it is our duty to stay informed of such proceedings, as well as fight against actions that could negatively affect our beloved hobby. Stay tuned for another legislative update from the SEMA Action Network next month!