As fall swings into full force and a few areas of the country are already getting threats of snow (yes, some of us live in Colorado), the threat of legislation that affects the automotive hobby remains hot and heavy. That’s why, even with the on-going legislative recess that extends through the beginning of next year, the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) remains on top of state and federal issues that could affect classic and collector car owners. Thanks to SEMA’s October Law & Order publication, we can bring you the latest happenings that could affect you and your favorite hobby.
In fact, with fewer updates, that means we can all concentrate our efforts more effectively to make sure our hobby isn’t negatively affected by proposed legislation in the near future.
In Massachusetts, the legislation that is threatening to affect rodders comes in the form of a bill that would ban “use and sale of any exhaust pipe that increases the sound emissions of any vehicle including motorcycles.” We told you about this proposed bill in a previous look at SEMA’s Law & Order update, but now the bill has been assigned to study. This means that the Joint Transportation Committee will be able to meet during the legislative recess to do an investigation on the bill and report their findings to the General Court, along with recommendations on amendments to the proposed legislation and a suggested process to carry these recommendations out. Because of this study order, the bill will be killed for the remainder of the year, but look for future updates as the Joint Transportation Committee reports the findings of their investigation.
Although Collector Car Appreciation Day was a couple months back, SEMA’s October update reports that more and more areas across North America have joined in with official proclamations for the celebratory day. Among these is Las Vegas with an official proclamation coming from Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman and the Las Vegas City Council, and the Canadian Province of Nova Scotia with a proclamation from Darrell E. Dexter declaring July as “Automotive Heritage Month.”
The U.S. Senate also joined in this year, passing Senate Resolution 452 to raise awareness of the importance of automotive collection and restoration in our society.
Although the remainder of SEMA’s October updates have to do with newer vehicles, they could affect classic car owners with newer tow vehicles. Proposed legislation in North Carolina that would extend the emissions exemption to vehicles 3 years old and newer was recently signed into law allowing 2010+ vehicle owners to register their cars without emissions testing. A similar bill in Pennsylvania, which would exempt newly registered vehicles to be exempt from emissions testing for 10 years, is also in the midst of the legislative process, having been approved by the Senate Transportation Committee, and will now move to the Appropriations Committee for further consideration.
Other issues that could affect your tow vehicle include a proposed bill in Massachusetts that would allow the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture to establish up to a 10% surcharge (of the vehicle’s purchase price) charged to newer vehicles based on state emissions calculations. This is a misguided effort to reduce greenhouse gasses emitted by vehicles and could cut down on the ability to buy whichever vehicles consumers want.
There is also a proposed federal bill in the midst of the legislative process that would allow for the market of collision-repair parts by secondary companies after a vehicle is 2 ½ years old or older without infringing on manufacturer design patents. This bill would reduce the wait time for “aftermarket” collision-repair parts by 11 ½ years from the current law. This could mean cheaper repair costs and lower insurance premiums if passed.
No matter how many proposed bills or regulations there are out there, it’s important to be in the know about ones that could affect the automotive hobby. You enjoy wrenching on and driving your cars as much as we do and we wouldn’t want to see a law passed that would prevent anyone from doing so because actions weren’t taken against it. So do your research, get involved, and as always, stay tuned for more SEMA updates right here and on the SEMA Action Network website.