April 2004

California Legislature Takes Yet Another Shot at Eliminating Popular Emissions Exemption
In what has become a yearly battle for California’s SEMA Action Network members, the California Assembly is considering legislation to repeal the state’s rolling emissions-testing exemption for vehicles 30 years old and older. A.B. 2683, sponsored by California Assemblywoman Sally Lieber (D-District 22), would repeal the current pro-hobbyist exemption and replace it with a provision requiring the permanent testing of all 1976 and newer model-year vehicles.
“California legislators and regulators are again clearly feeling the heat from continuing failed efforts to meet air-quality goals and are looking for a convenient scapegoat in older cars,” noted Steve McDonald, SEMA’s Senior Director of Government and Technical Affairs. “The old-car hobby should not carry the burden of their mistakes.”
SEMA alerted California SEMA Action Network clubs and enthusiasts, SEMA member companies and the automotive press about this bill. The campaign to stop the repeal of the pro-hobby emissions-testing exemption is in full force. Minutes after SEMA sent out the legislative alert on A.B. 2683, hobbyists began to fax, e-mail and write their California state assembly members in opposition. 
“We are hopeful that, over time, Assemblywoman Lieber will learn the same lessons that past sponsors of repeal legislation have eventually acknowledged,” said McDonald. “Antique and classic vehicles that benefit from the current emissions-test exemption are overwhelmingly well maintained, infrequently driven and not an effective source for  emissions reductions.”
California also exempts cars that are four-or-less model years old, the logic being that it is senseless to test newer vehicles, the results of which demonstrate no significant air-quality benefits.  “The idea behind exempting any class of vehicles is to reduce costs while not losing appreciable emissions reductions,” McDonald added. “This strategy not only builds support for emissions-inspection programs but also directs finite resources where they will do the most good for the most people with the least cost. With more at stake than any other state, California must lead the way in attacking motor-vehicle pollution where it lives and not on the backs of the old-car collectors and lower-income citizens.”
SEMA would like to acknowledge again the thousands of letters, phone calls and e-mails that have been sent by hobbyists opposed to this bill. Please keep up the good work! To send an e-mail to Assemblywoman Lieber and let her know that you oppose this legislation, contact her at Assemblywoman.Lieber@assembly.ca.gov.
Why Exempt California Classics From Emissions Testing?
* Current California law recognizes the minimal impact 30-year-old and older vehicles have on overall emissions calculations and air quality.
* Older vehicles constitute a tiny portion of California’s vehicle population, currently less than 3% of more than 23 million vehicles, and are a poor source for emissions reductions.
* Antique and classic vehicles are overwhelmingly well-maintained and infrequently driven (about one-third the miles each year of a new vehicle).
* Many states have enacted similar exemptions, the most recent in Virginia and Washington State.
Legislative Quick Hits
California Scrappage Program: SEMA is working with Assemblyman Doug LaMalfa to develop legislation that would reform California’s scrappage program, eliminating all parts destruction, requiring vouchers in lieu of cash payments, increasing the stringency of vehicle-eligibility criteria, pro-rating emissions credits and providing additional credit for voluntary upgrades. The measure also requires the use of median data (rather than mean data) when calculating emissions-inventory models.
Kentucky Nitrous Oxide: A bill (HB 230) that threatened to ban nitrous-oxide canisters has been withdrawn. The bill’s sponsor first agreed to SEMA’s request to allow canisters if the line feeding nitrous oxide to the engine was disconnected during vehicle operation, then decided to abandon the legislation altogether.
Illinois Inoperable Collector Vehicles: A bill (HB 4910) has been introduced to further restrict the maintenance of inoperable vehicles on private property. Historic vehicles over 25 years of age would no longer be exempt from county inoperable-vehicle ordinances if they are kept outside or unenclosed. This bill, if enacted, would subject unenclosed historic hobby cars to disposal and possible fines. SEMA is working to defeat this measure with the assistance of Illinois members of the SEMA Action Network.
Minnesota Legal Racing: SEMA and the SAN are working to amend a Minnesota bill (SF 1726) that would outlaw all motorsports events not sanctioned by a governmental entity and not taking place on licensed racetracks. While intended to address illegal street racing, the bill also could ban traditionally legal activities such as road rallies, ice racing and autocross events. SEMA has proposed an amendment to permit authorized racing events on public property as well as other events on the public roadways where vehicles do not exceed the speed limits. SEMA is working with the Minnesota SAN racing community to seek support for the amendment.
Virginia Inoperable Vehicles: Both the Virginia Senate and the House of Delegates have approved separate versions of legislation to prevent enforcement of local ordinances that target vehicle hobbyists.  The House-approved bill, like SEMA’s model legislation, only would require inoperable vehicles maintained on private property to be shielded or screened from public view.  The Senate version contains additional conditions and restrictions on inoperable vehicles.  Virginia hobbyists prefer the House version.  The Senate and the House of Delegates will meet to resolve the differences in the legislation.  The SAN is extremely grateful for the support and grass-roots enthusiasm generated by the Southwest Virginia Car Council which has propelled this bill through a myriad of challenges.
U.S. Congress-Endangered Species Act Reforms: Off-highway-vehicle enthusiasts may benefit from three bills (HR 1662, S 369, and S 2009) that have been introduced in the U.S. Congress to reform the Endangered Species Act. Since the law took effect in 1973, the ESA has denied OHV access to thousands of acres of land, and spurred numerous lawsuits and endless debates over ESA designations. The reform legislation would establish minimum requirements for listing animals and plants on the ESA and require more field-tested, peer-reviewed scientific data to support such listings. While there have been recent Committee hearings on the topic, passage of the legislation is unlikely in an election year since the issue is politically charged.  Nevertheless, there is a growing consensus among governmental, environmental and private-sector interests that there needs to be more collaborative, incentive-based approaches toward protecting habitat and species.
Its Back! Massachusetts Bill to Ban the Sale/Installation of Aftermarket Exhaust Systems Resurfaces
After being stalled since last year and seemingly dead, a bill (H.B. 1722) to ban the sale or installation of “an exhaust system which has been modified in a manner which will amplify or increase the noise emitted by the exhaust” has been approved by the Massachusetts legislature’s Joint Committee on Public Safety. The approval came after a non-publicized hearing that was clearly intended to keep opponents of the measure at bay. The bill has not been revised from last year’s version, and remains an extremely damaging piece of legislation. The bill has now been referred to the House Steering, Policy and Scheduling Committee.
H.B. 1722 effectively discriminates against motor-vehicle enthusiasts by restricting exhaust systems to those installed by the motor-vehicle manufacturers. “SEMA and SAN members agree that these exhaust systems should not be used in a way that causes overly loud or objectionable noise,” said SEMA Senior Director of Government Affairs Steve McDonald. “However, we believe that this bill would ban the sale and installation of exhaust systems that result in even modest and inoffensive noise increases.” 
In some states, noise limits for modified exhaust systems are established, with an easily administered test standard. These limits are usually indicated in decibels, and allow vehicle owners to prove compliance by an objectively measured fair and predictable procedure. In California, for example, a provision is made for the testing of vehicle-exhaust noise to an established noise limit of 95 decibels. A 95-decibel limit has also been enacted in Washington State and Maine, with legislation being considered this year in New Hampshire. “The alternative, currently in effect in Mass-achusetts, is to have law-enforcement authorities make a subjective interpretation of a modified vehicle’s exhaust-noise level as compared to the noise emitted by the vehicle’s original muffler,” McDonald added. “We find this subjective standard unacceptable as a method for determining a violation of the vehicle code, and certainly unfair to the many law-abiding and responsible Massachusetts motorists who choose to customize their vehicles and have no connection whatsoever to street racing or gang-related activity.”   
The battle rages on. SAN Massachusetts contacts should call, fax or e-mail state legislators requesting opposition to the bill. Contact your State Legislators in Boston immediately by phone, fax or e-mail in opposition to H.B. 1722. If you need assistance in determining who your state legislators are and their contact information, please contact the Massachusetts State Legislature’s General Information Line at 617/727-2828. This information also can be obtained by calling SEMA’s Washington, D.C. office at (202) 783-6007 ext. 38, or accessed via the Internet at http://www.semasan.com/san/ContactYourLegislator.aspx. The SAN is particularly indebted to the Bearing Burners Car Club for its tireless efforts in opposing this legislation.
Forest Service Revising Policy On Off-Highway-Vehicle Use
The U.S. Forest Service is reviewing its policies for off-highway-vehicle use to address concerns over the number of unplanned roads and trails, erosion, lack of quality off-road recreation opportunities, water degradation and habitat destruction. The issue is consequential since the number of off-highway vehicles has increased from 5 million in 1972 to nearly 36 million in 2000. The USFS has established a task force to develop a cohesive policy on off-highway-vehicle use beyond the current state-by-state, forest-by-forest approach. The USFS has formed two OHV working groups. The first team will consider what policies and regulations need to be revised to restrict OHVs to designated routes. The other team will focus on implementing the new policy, prohibiting cross-country travel/off-road activity, and marking the designated routes. The USFS has pledged to work with OHV and environmental groups on the topic. A draft rule is expected this summer.
“SEMA supports the Forest Service’s stated goals; however, we will scrutinize the details,” said Conrad Wong, SEMA Action Network Director. “There must be full public participation in determining the crucial elements-how the roads and trails are inventoried, which roads and trails are designated, how recreational land use is assessed and valued. Just because a road or trail hasn’t been classified, that shouldn’t cause it to be automatically closed.”
Attention Car Clubs, Event Organizers, and Enthusiasts!
Put SEMA on Your Mailing List!
We’d like to know what’s going on with SEMA Action Network clubs and enthusiasts across the country; what charity events you’re involved in; when and where the rod runs, car shows, trail rides, rallies, and tech meetings are held; and what legislative and regulatory issues concern club members and individual enthusiasts.
One of the best ways to keep us abreast of what’s going on and what’s important to the vehicle hobbies nationwide is for us to receive your club newsletters and updates. Please consider placing SEMA on your mailing list. Send correspondence to:  SEMA Action Network, 1317 F Street, N.W., Suite 500, Washington, D.C. 20004-1105. Or by e-mail at san@sema.org .
April 24, Mobile
9th Annual Mopars at the Battleship Show and Swap Meet
Sponsor: www.southernmopars.org
Information: 251/653-5154
April 3, Mesa
6th Annual Springs in the Desert Car Show
Sponsor: Rodders for Christ Car Club and Covenant Hot Rod Association
Information: 480/205-7925
April 17, Chandler
Phoenix Bug-O-Rama #30
Firebird International Raceway Park
Information:  www.bug-o-rama.com
April 29-May 2, Tucson
30th Rodders Days
Sponsor: Tucson Street Rod Association
Information: 520/885-2611
April 30 - May 2, Payson
11th Annual Beeline Cruise-In and
Charity Car Show
Sponsor: Rim Country Classic Auto Club
Information: 928/472-7769
April 2-4, Del Mar
4th Del Mar Rod & Custom Nationals, Del Mar Fairgrounds
Sponsor: The Goodguys
Information: 925/838-9876
April 10, Lodi
Easter Run 2004 at Micke Grove Park
Information: 925/672-1048
April 10-11, Prairie City
4X4 Safety Clinic
Sponsor: Capital City Mountain Goats
Information: 916/421-1369
April 17-18, California City Camp B
BLM Work Weekend
Sponsor: Smitty’s Desert Riders
Information: 714/528-1817
April 17, Lathrop at Valverde Park
14th Annual NSRA Appreciation Day
Sponsor: Modesto Area Street Rods
Information: 209/772-1657
April 18, Long Beach at the Queen Mary
All Cars Celebration
Sponsor: Car Lovers Club International Consortium
Information: 909/845-5916
April 18, Anaheim
Fabulous Fords Forever at Knott’s Berry Farm
Sponsor: Ford Car Club Council
Information: 562/664-0996
April 18, Costa Mesa
West Coast All-Truck Nationals
Sponsor: Horse Power Promotions
Information: 805/686-2007
April 23-25, Bakersfield
28th Annual NSRA Western Street Rod Nationals
Sponsor: National Street Rod Association
Information: 724/932-3747
April 24-25, Jawbone Canyon
Moose Anderson Days Cleanup and BBQ
Sponsor: Smitty’s Desert Riders
Information: 714/528-1817
April 9-11, Winnipeg, Manitoba
30th Annual Piston Rings World of Wheels
Information: 248/373-1700
April 4, Polk City
7th Annual Mustangs & Mustang Legends Havin’ Fun 2004
Sponsor: Imperial Mustangs of Polk County
Information: 863/665-2322
April 16-18, Pensacola
32nd Annual Sunny Beaches Rod Run
Information: 850/944-0503 or 850/478-0066
April 17, Cocoa Beach
at F. Burton Smith Park
Annual AACA Car Show
Sponsor: Florida Suncoast Cadillac LaSalle Club
April 16-18, Commerce
Peach State Fun Ford Weekend
Sponsor: American Autosports Productions
Information: www.funfordevents.com
April 10, Freebird Raceway
10th Annual Spring Warm Up & Swap Meet
Sponsor: Auto Shopper Magazine
Information: 208/938-8961
April 18, Elmhurst
21st Annual Show and Swap Meet
Sponsor: Northern Illinois Region, Walter P. Chrysler Club
Information: 708/749-0115
April 18, Monticello
18th Auto Parts Swap Meet at Walnut Acres
Information: 319/465-5119
April 7, Louisville
7th NSRA Kentucky Appreciation Day
Sponsor: Okolona Street Rods and NSRA
Information: 502/937-9781
April 22-24, Bowling Green
C5/C6 Birthday Bash
Sponsor: National Corvette Museum
Information: 270/781-7973
April 2-4, Jennings
Gator Drag
Information: www.gatordrag.com
April 3, Salisbury
2nd Annual Paws & Purrs Car Show, Pecan Square Shopping Center
Information: 410/749-4457
April 17, Bowie
Asphalt Angels Spring Show, Glory Days Grille
Information: 410/672-0094
April 24, Cambridge
Mid-Shore Cruisers Spring Cruise-In
Information: 410/943-0581
April 30-May 1, Frederick
All-Packard Indoor Swap Meet, Frederick Fairgrounds
Sponsor: Mid-Atlantic Packards and Packards of Virginia
Information: 301/384-4433
April 6, St. Paul
Run to the Hill at the State Capitol Steps
Sponsor: Minnesota Street Rod Association
Information: 651/208-8273
April 17-18, St. Paul
GSTA Rod and Custom Spectacular
Sponsor: Gopher State Timing Association
Information: www.gstarod-custom.com
April 23-25, Las Vegas
Terrible’s Town 250
Information: 702/457-5775
April 30-May 1, Las Vegas
16th Nitro Nationals Nostalgia Drags
Sponsor: The Goodguys
Information: 925/838-9876
April 11
Brunch Run
Sponsor: Western New York Centre MGCC
Information: www.mgcarclub.com
April 17-18, Grand Forks
22nd Annual Prime Steel Car Show
Sponsor: Prime Steel Car Club
Information: 218/965-4886
April 3-4, Columbus
Spring All-Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury Swap Meet
Information: 614/855 4750
April 2-4, Oklahoma City
21st Annual NSRA Southwest Street Rod Nationals
Sponsor: National Street Rod Association
Information: 724/932-3747
April 3, Enid
12th Annual Corvette Expo
Information: 580/233-1283 or 580/237-7993
April 3-4, Lawton
Oklahoma Spring Bash
Sponsor: Sweet Temptationz
Information: 580/536-9289
April 17-18, Jim Sprick Park
2004 Pacific North West 4-Wheel Drive Association (PNW4WDA) Site Work Party
Information: 52willysm38@comcast.net
April 21-25, Carlisle
Spring Carlisle Swap Meet
Information: 717/243-7855
April 10, Morristown
Showin’ Off For A Cause
Information: 423/921-9179
April 15-18, Nashville
Mustang 40th Anniversary Celebration at Nashville Speedway
Sponsor: Mustang Club of America and Ford Motor Company
Information: 877/234-6779
April 16-18, Jackson
12th Annual Bunny Run
Sponsor: Jackson Rod & Custom
Information: 731/427-1677
April 30-May 2, Knoxville
30th Annual National Street Rod Association Street Rod Nationals South
Sponsor: National Street Rod Association
Information: 303/776-7841
April 30-May 2, Houston
Texas Thunder Fun Ford Weekend
Sponsor: American Autosports Productions
Information: 225/664-0996
April 3, Cartersville
Off-Road Racing
Sponsor:  Old Dominion 4WD Club
Information:  od4wdc@comcast.net
April 17, Richmond
Virginia Classic Cruisers 2004 Show
Sponsor: Virginia Classic Cruisers
Information: www.vaclassiccruisers.com
April 24, Richmond
19th Annual Early Bird Rod Run
Sponsor: Virginia Street Rods, Inc.
Information: 804/526-4318
April 24-25, Port Townsend
4th Annual JeffCo Expo
Sponsor: American Thunder Monster Truck
Information: 360/385-1013