The Specialty Equipment Market Association does many things for our industry, including provide vital information about the current legislative and regulatory actions that are being challenged, introduced and signed into law that could affect our hobby. For the last few months we’ve brought you updates on these proceedings from SEMA’s Law & Order publication, and this month we have a few more you should be aware of.
While the list of hot-rod related legislative actions is shorter this month because legislatures in many states have adjourned for the year, there are a few matters of business that have been taken care of recently.
Thanks to these recent actions, Michigan historic vehicle owners are now one step closer to being able to enjoy their cars to a larger extent.
Currently, the law that governs historic vehicles in the automotive state dictates that such vehicles can only be used for club events, parades, exhibitions, tours, and even mechanical testing, but not for general transportation. However, SEMA-supported legislation that aims to change this by allowing historic vehicle owners the freedom of unlimited exhibition use during the month of August was recently passed by the Michigan House Transportation Committee. The legislation, which would give historic car owners the opportunity for recreational driving of their prized vehicles during August, now goes to the House floor for a vote by all members, having already been passed by the Senate.
Just a few weeks ago, we brought you news of celebrations taking place all across the country for Collector Car Appreciation Day on July 13th. While this day is widely acknowledged by clubs, manufacturers and industry personnel, only a couple states have made official proclamations designating July 13th as the special day. However, that number is rising as New Mexico recently signed their proclamation for Collector Car Appreciation Day, joining Hawaii and New York in designating the official day of celebration.
While the legislative recess has helped with some rules and regulations, as we told you last month, it has also hindered the passing of pro-hobbyist legislative actions.
In Hawaii, legislative resolutions asking for a 10 percent vehicle registration credit for those vehicle owners, including those of hobby vehicles, who drive only a limited amount of miles per year were not passed before legislature adjourned for the year.
These resolutions aimed to correct the unfairness of owners of limited-use vehicles still having to pay the same amount of fees as those vehicle owners who made more use of the state’s roads.
Another piece of legislation in Hawaii aiming to allow automotive hobbyists the ability to use aftermarket and modified exhaust systems on their cars if they met an objective noise limit also died when legislature adjourned. This measure aimed to solve the issue of current exhaust citations for exhaust noise being left up to each individual officer’s judgment. SEMA plans to address this issue again next year.
On the contrary, a SEMA-opposed bill, which would’ve banned use of exhaust systems that increased the noise level above that omitted by original equipment, died in Vermont upon legislative adjournment. This bill would’ve prevented hobbyists from using aftermarket or modified exhaust systems on their vehicles even if they didn’t increase the noise level above the state designated noise limit and allow enforcement based on individual officer judgment.In a final note, legislation has recently been introduced in Pennsylvania aiming to extend the emission inspection exemption to vehicles that haven’t been registered in the state or other jurisdictions for 10 years from the original registration date. Right now, only new cars with less than 5,000 miles on them were exempt from emission inspections for a year after their first registration.
We plan on keeping you updated on SEMA’s involvement in your state and federal government actions in the future because it’s important for our hobby. For immediate updates on current laws, legislation introductions, and regulations, you can sign up to be part of the SEMA Action Network for free on the association’s website.