If the heat of the summer hasn’t gotten to you yet, you haven’t been spending enough time at shows, events or behind the wheel of your classic hot rod. For most of us, this summer has been a squelcher, however, and it continues to get hotter as the Specialty Equipment Market Association continues to fight legislative fires in order to maintain our hobby. Check out what SEMA has been working on over the last month in the latest SEMA Law & Order update below.
Because many legislatures have adjourned for the year, many SEMA-approved and SEMA-opposed bills died without being fully approved or denied over the last month.
These bills include a Arkansas bill that would have lowered the percentage of consent for property owners and registered voters to approve the construction of a racing facility from 75 percent to just 38 percent, as well as a Florida bill that aimed to reduce annual registration fees by $2.40 per year until a $12 decrease had been achieved. Had it been approved, the later bill would have provided Florida tax payers with a decrease in fees of $220 million per year once fully implemented.
In Missouri, two bills died when legislature adjourned for the year, one of which was SEMA approved and the other SEMA opposed. The SEMA-approved bill that died would have required the issuance of just one license plate, including personalized plates, for registered vehicles if approved. The SEMA-opposed bill that died aimed to impose a vehicle-miles-traveled tax on all registered vehicles starting on January 1, 2015. If approved, the bill would have raised the fees for registration in the form of a $200 tax for a one year registration or $400 for a two year registration.
In California, SEMA is still working with legislators to authorize extra assistance to those enthusiasts opting to retire a “gross polluting” vehicle. If approved, the extra assistance would be in addition to the state’s current $1,000 assistance to all income households and $1,500 assistance to all low-income households. The bill would also require a one-year pilot program be put in place for the low-income assistance that would prohibit the state from requiring proof that the vehicle being retired was registered in the two years prior to acceptance in the program.
Good news is coming out of Connecticut this month, as SEMA-amended legislation has been moved through to the House for a full vote. The original bill that SEMA opposed aimed to change the age requirement of vehicles registered as antique, rare, or special interest vehicles as well as increase the maximum property tax assessment on such vehicles to $2,500 from the current $500.
Under the amended proposal, the age requirements for antique vehicles would not change, but starting July 1, 2019, those enthusiasts with vehicles valued over $20,000 would have to pay taxes for such vehicles. Antique vehicles valued under $20,000 would not be taxed.
Concluding this month’s actions, SEMA also amended a proposed bill in Nevada aiming to add abandoned, inoperable, unregistered and junk vehicles to the list of public nuisances. Under the SEMA amendment, abandoned, inoperable, unregistered or junk vehicles being stored on private property would only have to be screened from the public in counties of 700,000 people or more and unregistered vehicles couldn’t be declared public nuisances at all.
Already approved by the Senate, the amended bill now moves back to the Assembly for unanimity of the amendments.
The blistering heat of the summer continues even as legislatures begin to adjourn for the year. But don’t think that just because a bill has died in 2013 that it won’t be back up for debate in the coming years. For continuous updates on SEMA’s legislative action, be sure to join the SEMA Action Network.