Owning a collector car or street rod can be very rewarding, but it can also be a bit tricky when trying to comply with the varying laws and regulations set forth for collector car owners at the state and federal levels. The good news is that no matter what rules and regulations are being debated, the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) has our backs and continues to fight for the hobby. In addition to the enormous trade show they put on every year in Las Vegas, SEMA monitors automotive state and federal legislation, aiming to protect the consumers’ rights to own and customize whatever vehicles they want. No matter what state you live in, SEMA can guarantee that they’re looking out for you as an automotive enthusiast.

Every month SEMA releases their Law and Order update. This monthly newsletter details recent state and federal legislation and regulatory issues that could affect automotive hobbyists and the specialty-equipment industry.

This update not only helps keep automotive enthusiasts informed, but gives them the tools to oppose or defend legislation that affects their rights as an automotive hobbyist.

This month SEMA has many updates that could affect hot rod, street rod, custom, and classic car owners. Currently, SEMA is supporting a bill purposed in Iowa that would allow vehicles 25 years old or older that are only used for display, educational or entertainment purposes to be registered annually for just $5, rather than for $40 every two years.

SEMA is also supporting bills in New York and Washington that would exempt restoration/custom shops from being required to give written estimates to customers. This would allow shops to accurately inform customers of actual costs associated with time needed for unique tasks and customizations, rather than guessing on these costs up front. The New York bill has just recently been purposed while the Washington bill has been approved by the state senate and will move on to the House of Representatives with an amendment purposed by SEMA to allow shops to bill every two weeks based on time and materials.

SEMA has recently worked with Virginia hobbyist groups to have vehicles 25 years old and older that are undergoing restoration or repair exempt from a bill purposing to give localities the authority to increase tax on vehicles that don’t display current license plates from $100 to $500. The Virginia House of Delegates has approved the bill, which will now move on to the Virginia Senate for approval. SEMA was also able to negotiate an amendment to the bill that will exempt all vehicles undergoing restoration or repair that are sitting on private property for less than 60 days from the license tax.

Other legislation that SEMA is supporting is a West Virginia bill that would put a cap on property taxes for antique motor vehicles, and a Washington bill that would allow a certain number of inoperable vehicles to be stored on private property with screening from the public. SEMA is opposing a Maryland bill that would increase the age requirement for historic motor vehicle registration, limit how historic vehicles could be insured and prohibit such cars from being used for occasional transportation.

We may never see the end of legislation and regulatory issues that affect our hobby, but with the SEMA organization looking out for the automotive enthusiast, we can hopefully eliminate some of the bogus rules and laws that prevent us from enjoying our street rods, classics, hot rods and customs as much as we can.