Arizona Scrappage Debate is Renewed with Introduction of '3R' Bill
The debate over vehicle scrappage was renewed in Arizona with introduction of legislation that would require highly populated counties to establish a voluntary motor vehicle repair, retrofit and recycle '3R' program. This bill represents the first shot in what is expected to be a lively battle between car enthusiasts and state environmental officials over the effectiveness of taking older vehicles off the road to satisfy state clean air goals.
Under the bill (H.B. 2350), vehicles would be emission tested prior to qualifying for the program. Qualifying vehicles would be functionally operational, titled in Arizona for a 2-year period and at least 12 years old. A vehicle would only be recycled if it could not be retrofitted with an emissions control system that would allow it to be in compliance with the state emissions-testing program. Owners of vehicles that qualify for the repair and retrofit program would pay the first $150 as a co-payment. Owners would also be responsible for additional costs over the $500 the state would contribute in retrofit equipment.
The Arizona Automobile Hobbyist Council (AAHC) has resisted implementation of the recycling portion of the program for concern that the bill represents a thinly disguised scrappage proposal. Bill supporters, including Maricopa County officials, believe that offering recycled vehicles for resale should lessen many of the fears.
SEMA is working closely with the AAHC to fashion a counterproposal that will satisfy the interests of car enthusiasts, SEMA members and environmentalists. On a related matter, the hobbyist council indicated that it is interested in pursuing a companion initiative that would exempt additional vehicles from the scope of the emissions testing program, similar to legislation enacted in California last year that exempted pre-1974 cars.
EPA Proposes to Disallow Texas Scrappage Program
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a proposed rule to throw out a Texas scrappage program. Under the Texas program, owners of vehicles that fail the state's smog check may sell the vehicle for emissions credits rather than repair the car. However, the EPA proposal argues that the credits should not be allowed because Texas currently performs an emissions test method officials find inadequate.
The test in question -- a two-speed idle test -- is also in effect in a number of other states with scrappage programs and could be subject to similar EPA action. Still other states have scrappage programs using no emissions testing whatsoever. SEMA has submitted comments in favor of this proposed rule and will push for nullification in other states in which the emissions credits are based on similarly unverifiable emissions estimates.
SEMA Attends MASRA Meeting
On Jan. 10, 1998, the Mid-Atlantic Street Rod Association (MASRA) held its winter meeting in Hummelstown, Pa. Street rod clubs representing the entire Mid-Atlantic region (Pa., N.J., Del., Md., Va.) were present as MASRA kicked off the new year. State Leader Mike Kramer from the Wheels of Time invited SEMA to attend this impressive gathering. A SEMA representative was on hand to give the more than 100 club representatives a brief introduction to SEMA and the SEMA Action Network (SAN). Federal engine switching criteria and statutory definitions and registration requirements for street rods in the various states were among the issues discussed.
Vehicle Height Modifications Ban Introduced in Colorado
In a follow-up to a recommendation made last year by the Colorado Legislature's Transportation Legislation Review Committee, a bill has been introduced in Colorado that would ban all modifications that raise or lower vehicles. The bill (S.B. 34) would specifically ban vehicles with altered suspensions and would also prohibit changes to tire or wheel size, body height, chassis configuration and steering systems. In addition, the measure provides for the issuance of rules to establish standards for enforcement.
However, discussions with the bill's sponsor, Senate Transportation Committee Vice Chairman Ray Powers, revealed that the senator is amenable to alternatives and would consider abandoning the legislation if an adequate compromise could not be reached.
SEMA has joined with representatives from the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition, the Old Car Council, the National Street Rod Association and vehicle enthusiasts throughout the state in opposition to the bill. SEMA is working with industry lobbyists in Colorado and with SEMA members in the state to craft legislation that will satisfy the bill's sponsor while avoiding unduly restrictive limitations on vehicle height modifications.
Ohio Delays Action on 'Junk' Vehicles Bill
In response to numerous inquiries from Ohio hobbyists regarding the status of a state bill that would allow township zoning inspectors to confiscate and scrap "junk" vehicles, SEMA has learned that Rep. Frank Sawyer has no immediate plans to pursue enactment of the measure. The state's legislative session began in early January.
Under the bill (H.B. 549), the zoning inspector would send notice to owners of vehicles deemed "junk" after confiscating the vehicle. Owners who receive notice of a removal could reclaim the vehicle upon payment of any expenses incurred in its removal and storage, and by presenting proof of ownership. Zoning inspectors would have the authority to dispose of unclaimed vehicles to salvage dealers or scrap metal processing facilities or could sell the vehicles at public auction.
SEMA continues to contact car club leaders throughout the state to warn them of the potential negative impact of the bill for hobbyists, and rally support in opposition.
New Jersey to Consider Repeal of Scrappage Law
In a move that will benefit New Jersey vehicle hobbyists statewide, legislation (A.B. 1333) was introduced in the New Jersey General Assembly that would repeal that state's law requiring the Department of Environmental Protection to create a plan for the adoption of a vehicle scrappage program. SEMA will work to align anti-scrappage forces in the state to ensure enactment of the bill.
Bill sponsors believe that because the benefits of a program depend upon the replacement vehicles chosen and the amount they are driven, the success of a scrappage program is uncertain. Furthermore, as a mandated inspection and maintenance program goes into effect, emissions will be reduced. In introducing the bill, sponsors also weighed the impact of such a program on the availability of parts used in the restoration of vintage cars.
SEMA Submits Comments on California Scrappage Program
SEMA recently provided comments on the California Smog Check scrappage program at two hearings held by BAR. SEMA registered its support for a requirement that allows only those cars which failed an emission test to be accepted into the program. At the same time, SEMA noted its strong opposition to provisions which mandate the destruction of both the scrapped vehicle and its components.
A wide coalition of groups -- including vehicle enthusiasts/collectors, dismantlers, low-income/minority groups and even representatives from stationary sources such as utilities and oil companies -- have joined SEMA in opposition to this and other objectionable provisions. The state agencies have continued to propose mandating such harsh measures even after offers to render these vehicles inoperative, were made by this large coalition of diverse interests. SEMA is currently exploring legislative options in the event BAR refuses to yield on SEMA's requests.
Mark Your Calendars: Washington, D.C., 'Salute' Set for May 5-6
An exciting program has been planned for the third annual "Salute to the American Automotive Specialty and Motorsports Industry," to be held May 5 and 6 in Washington, D.C. We urge you to mark your calendars now and plan to attend this exclusive gathering of industry, enthusiasts and government dignitaries. Among the events scheduled: a reception in the U.S. Capitol, a one-on-one meeting with your Member of Congress, prominent keynote speakers on issues vital to our industry and hobby and participation of automotive celebrities (prior participants included Mario Andretti, Bobby Unser, Janet Gutherie, Jim Head, Jim Yates, Larry Dixon and others).
State Leader's Sound-Off
Dear Fellow Hobbyist:
New Jersey Governor Christine Whitman has repeatedly been assuring owners of historic vehicles that they have nothing to fear with the recent revisions to SCS-1700 —the "Enhanced Emissions Law." I, however, believe that the laws -- as currently drafted -- leave room for concern.
First, the Governor is absolutely right in saying that no one is going to take away anyone's "Historic Vehicle" unless of course you happen to have no insurance on it, and it is in plain sight on your property. Then you have to hope your neighbors all like you, and no one complains you have a junk vehicle on your property.
Our Governor is also right about the "Historic Vehicles" in New Jersey still retaining their exemption from state mandated emissions and safety inspections. Unfortunately, should the EPA come to us sometime in the future, and say, hey, we've determined you are not meeting our air-quality standards, well it is quite conceivable that the Director of our D.M.V. will decide to remove the exemption from emissions testing our "Historic Vehicles" now enjoy.
So remember, the state won't take your toy, they'll just slowly, maybe politely strangle our hobby over the course of time. Some food for thought .....
Central New Jersey Coordinator for the 3000 member Classic Vehicle Advocate Group, formed to fight for the rights of New Jersey vehicle owners
Newly Introduced State Legislation
The following state bills are not yet law; they have recently been introduced and are currently being considered for adoption. For more information, contact the SEMA Washington office.
MISSOURI H.B. 1104 would remove a provision in the state -- inspection program requiring simulated on-road emissions -- inspection components, including purge and pressure tests; would remove a requirement for inspection stations to be test-only stations.
MISSISSIPPI H.B. 120 and 397 would prohibit the use of only the parking lights or auxiliary driving lamps during any time when the use of front and rear lamps is required.
MISSISSIPPI H.B. 336 would require that headlights and any auxiliary driving lights located on the front of any motor vehicle other than a motorcycle shall be connected to a dimmer switch.
MISSOURI H.B. 1047 would exempt motor vehicles which are registered as "historic" from the annual personal property tax.
PLATES AND REGISTRATION
IDAHO H.B. 468 would allow vehicles displaying "year of manufacture," "old timer," "classic car" or ,"street rod" license plates to display one license plate attached to the rear of the vehicle.
KENTUCKY S.B. 31 (B.R. 847) would allow owners of "historic" vehicles to display an authentic historic (25 years or older) Kentucky license plate.
NEW HAMPSHIRE H.B. 1114 would permit owners of antique motor vehicles, defined as vehicles more than 25 years old, to register such vehicles as antiques and to use antique registration plates.
RHODE ISLAND S.B. 2007 would allow for the owner of an antique motor vehicle the option of displaying an antique license plate or a plate originally issued by the state in the exact year of manufacture of the vehicle.
UTAH H.B. 14 would change the state's safety -- inspection program from annual to biennial.
MISSISSIPPI H.B. 227 would allow a vehicle for which a salvage certificate of title has been issued, but which is being restored, to be moved to and from repair points as necessary by the rebuilder to complete the restoration or to appear for a scheduled inspection.
IDAHO H.B. 444 would prohibit motor vehicles that have a gross weight over 16,000 lbs from being registered as "street rods".
IDAHO H.B. 468 would allow vehicles displaying year of manufacture, "old timer," "classic car" or , "street rod" license plates to display one plate attached to the rear of the vehicle.
NEW JERSEY A.C. 7:29-1.4 would remove the exemption afforded to motor vehicle race tracks from the Noise Control Regulations.
Can You Believe?
Here is another regulatory horror story, an example of unfair or illogical laws and regulations that place unnecessary burdens on businesses and individuals. If the following example makes you as angry as they make us, let your Representative know and offer to work with him/her to reduce the onslaught of regulations. Also, let the SEMA Washington office staff know if you have any similar horror stories to share; we'll keep track of all calls, as well as print them in upcoming editions.
One for You, the Rest for Me...
Frank LeDue owns 30 acres of land, but a recent ruling by the Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE) placed 29 of those acres "off limits." LeDue's troubles began when he began to build a garden on his property. He filled 4 acres of the land with waste wood, which was a "no-no" according to the DOE. The homeowner was ordered to remove the waste wood, which he promptly did.
Unfortunately some of the waste wood had already decomposed into the soil and so DOE ruled that LeDue did not fully comply with its order and thus he was fined $5,000. It gets worse: Another DOE inspector toured the site and declared 29 acres of the property were a "wetland" and thus the house, garden and any other land development he desired were to be confined to the one authorized acre.