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A Tale of Two States
Street Rod, Custom Vehicle Bills Enacted Through Persistence of Hobbyists, Lawmakers
Each year there are thousands of bills introduced in state capitols across the country. Some take several weeks to pass, others several months. Most don’t make it past a committee hearing. If it does, the full legislature still needs to approve the bill. In a state such as Wyoming, you only have 40 days to get this done.
In spite of this short legislative session, Wyoming Representative Pat Childers was determined to pass legislation that would benefit enthusiasts in the state. Based on the SEMA Street Rod/Custom Vehicle model bill, the new law will permit street rods and custom vehicles to be titled based on the production year they most closely resemble.
Childers, who is also a member of the SEMA-sponsored State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus, first introduced the bill in 2006. While there was never any real opposition to the bill, the short session did not provide enough time to get it approved by the legislature. After the bill was passed this year, Childers stated, “I believe that most legislators were tired of hearing from all of us and my badgering the majority floor leaders to bring up the bill.” A self-proclaimed car nut and owner of a ’34 LaSalle rumble seat coupe, he added, “between normal work and legislative work, it is difficult to have time to work on the car. I am pleased that Wyoming law now makes it easier for the hobby to take place.”
Joining in this effort were fellow caucus members Representative Stan Blake and Representative Mike Gilmore. “While being Vice-Chairman on the House Transportation Committee may have helped, the true driving force behind the bill was definitely Representative Childers,” said Blake. Another self-proclaimed gearhead, Blake owns a ’46 Ford truck and a ’68 Olds Toronado.
The lawmakers were also supported by a strong and organized group of SAN members in the state. Taking the lead were Stan Goodwin, President of the Wyoming Street Rod Association (WSRA), and Fred Williams, Division Director for the National Street Rod Association.
“With less and less old original cars being available, people are turning to reproduction fiberglass and steel bodies to build their dream car,” stated Williams. “Not only does the Street Rod bill give us individual acknowledgement for the type of cars we drive, but it also gives us a means to title our cars.”
The SAN is indebted to the tireless work by these individuals and echoes the words of WSRA President Stan Goodwin in saying, “strength in numbers and organization in all ways brings benefits and preservation to our hobby. We need to be vigilant to preserve and protect our hobby so we may continue to enjoy it within the law.”
While it sounds cliché, sometimes it only takes one person to make a difference. In Utah, that was SEMA Action Network (SAN) member Bob Godfrey.
In first contacting the SAN in January 2008, he requested help in getting the SEMA Street Rod/Custom Vehicle bill passed in his state. After receiving some advice and a copy of the model bill, Godfrey went to work contacting his state representative and state senator. Luckily, they both lived just down the street from him.
Given that the Utah Legislature only meets for 45 days, it was unlikely that the bill would get introduced in 2008. That did not deter Godfrey, and by the end of the year everything was lined up to have the bill introduced in 2009. It would be introduced by his State Representative, and soon-to-be-member of the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus, Ken Sumsion.
“This bill has been a lot of fun,” said Sumsion. “It is great to have a constituent like Bob Godfrey call with an issue and work hand-in-hand with you to write the legislation. Usually people call and drop the problem in your lap and say ‘here you go, go fix it.’ Bob educated me on the custom-car market and helped me understand the negative impact on Utah by not having this legislation.”
When questions were raised by some of the state agencies on the bill, Godfrey joined Representative Sumsion at the Capitol to meet with state officials. Also joining those meetings were fellow caucus members Reps. Neal Hendrickson and Patrick Painter.
Once the issues were remedied, the bill moved quickly through the House of Representatives and was approved by a vote of 67–4.
“This bill has helped me develop a friendship with other legislators who are car enthusiasts that I had no idea had this interest,” added Sumsion. “They were excited to see the bill and help with it.”
Things got very interesting as time was running out in the session and the bill still needed to clear the Senate. In conjunction with an e-mail and phone call campaign by SAN members urging a Senate vote, Godfrey made daily phone calls to Senate leaders and others pushing for a vote.
In the closing hours of the session, the Senate brought the bill to the floor. Sure enough, Godfrey was there. During the floor debate, one Senator joked that if the bill passed “would the e-mails finally stop?” A true testament indeed to the hard work of hobbyists and car clubs throughout the state.
The bill was approved overwhelmingly and was transmitted to Governor Jon Huntsman for his signature.
In an e-mail to the SAN, Sumsion concluded, “this legislation happened because Bob Godfrey got involved. People do make a difference.”
Each month Driving Force features members of the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus. The SEMA-supported caucus is a bipartisan group of state lawmakers whose common thread is a love and appreciation for automobiles. A recruiting effort initiated this year has so far yielded 65 new lawmakers. The caucus now has 371 members from all 50 states.
Here are its newest members:
Representative Mike Ball
Senator Fred Dyson
Representative Don Marostica
Representative Edward Vigil
Senator Scott Frantz
Representative Penny Bacchiochi
Representative Bill Heller
Representative Dave Murzin
Representative Mike Keown
Representative Bobby Reese
Representative Henry Aquino
Senator Jim Hammond
Senator Mike Jorgenson
Representative Marv Hagedorn
Representative Janice McGeachin
Representative Annazette Collins
Representative Brandon Phelps
Representative Harry R. Ramey
Representative Al Riley
Senator Brandt Hershman
Senator Dennis Kruse
Representative Wes Culver
Representative Cecil Dolecheck
Representative Elaine Bowers
Representative Keith Hall
Representative Don Pasley
Representative M.J. Smiley
Representative Dale Crafts
Representative Ann Peoples
Representative Michael Shaw
Delegate Jay Walker
Representative Fred Barrows
Senator Nancy Cassis
Representative Douglas Geiss
Representative Chuck Moss
Representative Steve Gottwalt
Representative Ken Morgan
Representative Don Wells
Representative Patricia Yaeger
Senator Colby Coash
Senator Jeremy Nordquist
Assemblymember Bernie Anderson
Representative John Henson
Representative Timothy Horrigan
Representative Russell Ingram
Representative Don Van Patten
Representative Tricia Ann Cotham
Representative Tim Moore
Representative Wil Neumann
Representative Laura Wiley
Representative Chuck Damschen
Representative Jerry Kelsh
Senator J. Barry Stout
Representative John Pallone
Representative Craig Fitzhugh
Representative Fred Hunsaker
Representative Kenneth Sumsion
Senator Dave Sypolt
Delegate Ron Fragale
Delegate Virginia Mahan
Senator Mary Lazich
Representative Phil Montgomery
Representative Mike Gilmore
LEGISLATIVE QUICK HITS
New York Historic Vehicle Registration: Legislation (A.B. 2658) has been reintroduced in the New York Assembly to provide that historical vehicle owners only pay a one-time registration fee of $100 upon initial registration. The SAN-supported bill has been referred to the New York Assembly Transportation Committee for consideration. The $100 one-time fee would replace the current annual fee of $23.
New York Street Rods and Custom Vehicles: SEMA-model legislation to create a vehicle titling and registration classification for street rods and custom vehicles has been reintroduced in the New York Assembly. The bill (A.B. 2429) defines a street rod as an altered vehicle manufactured before 1949 and a custom as an altered vehicle at least 25 years old and manufactured after 1948. Under the bill, kit cars and replica vehicles will be assigned a certificate of title bearing the same model-year designation as the production vehicle they most closely resemble.
New York “Gas Guzzlers”: In a misguided attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, legislation (A.B. 3474) has been reintroduced in New York to establish a progressive purchase or lease surcharge for some new motor vehicles based on state calculations of carbon emissions. Depending on the vehicle purchased, this surcharge could require owners to pay up to $2,500 more for the vehicle. Separate legislation (A.B. 2800) proposes to create a task force that would recommend higher toll and registration fees for heavier vehicles, based on vehicle weight, emissions and fuel-efficiency ratings. If this effort is successful, the effects on a consumers’ ability to purchase the vehicle of choice, not to mention vehicle safety, will be dramatic.
Tennessee Antique Vehicles: SEMA-supported legislation has been introduced in the Tennessee State Legislature that would amend the state’s current law defining antique motor vehicles to permit use of these vehicles for general transportation purposes. Under current Tennessee law, use of antique vehicles is strictly limited to club activities, exhibits, tours and for general transportation only on Saturday and Sunday.
Washington Scrappage: On the heels of the defeat of a U.S. Congressional proposal to create a national “Cash for Clunkers” program, SAN helped turn back an effort in the Washington State Legislature that would have implemented a vehicle scrappage program for passenger vehicles more than 15 years old. Under the bill, qualifying vehicles would have had to be registered for a 24-month period and in satisfactory operating condition. Replacement vehicles purchased under the plan would have been required to have an EPA highway gasoline mileage rating of at least 30 mpg. Participants in the program were to be granted a sales-tax exemption for the first $2,000 of tax paid on the purchase price. All trade-in vehicles would have been destroyed, regardless of their historical value or collector interest.
West Virginia Inoperable Vehicles: For the fourth time, a bill has been introduced in the West Virginia State Legislature that would further restrict the ability of West Virginia vehicle hobbyists from maintaining inoperable vehicles on private property. The SAN-opposed bill would redefine “abandoned motor vehicles” to include vehicles or vehicle parts, which are either unlicensed or inoperable, or both, are not in an enclosed building and have remained on private property for more than 30 days. Under current law, the abandoned vehicle law applies primarily to vehicles on public property. The bill would make violation a misdemeanor offense punishable by substantial fines, community service and jail. SEMA has defeated previous versions of this measure.
HEY, THAT'S MY CAR!
A Grand Classic
1963 Pontiac Grand Prix
Owner: Arnie Krause
After selling my ’55 Chevy Nomad, I decided it was time to find another classic car. Going to car shows as a spectator is not the same as attending with a nice car to display. So began the two-year search for another car.
I first focused on a ’61 Pontiac Ventura hardtop, which was the first new car that I owned. Having no luck with a Ventura, I began looking for a nice ’62–’64 Grand Prix. After some searching, I found an ad for a ’63 located in California.
In contacting the owner, I discovered that he was the second owner and it had 90,000 miles all in California. He began restoring the car with a new interior, a repaired trunk floor, finished side panels and a new two-stage repaint. A complete engine compartment detailing and other miscellaneous restoration repairs were completed. He only drove the car for approximately 270 miles during his ownership.
The car also came with a lot of original paperwork and documentation that confirmed the original owner had the transmission resealed at 89,219 miles and a long-block installed at 89,971 miles due to a cylinder problem.
My future plans are to rebuild the front steering and suspension. There are always more things to do when restoring a 46-year-old classic. I also plan to attend the Pontiac Oakland Club International (POCI) and GTO Convention in Dayton, Ohio, this July.
Calling All California Car Clubs
Annual Legislative Conference to Convene in Sacramento
In working with the SEMA Action Network (SAN), California enthusiasts have another voice in Sacramento through the Association of California Car Clubs (ACCC). The ACCC is made up of thousands of hobbyists throughout the state who advocate on California laws and policies regarding collector and classic automobiles.
Formed in 1972, it is a volunteer organization of regional representatives who keep member clubs, individuals and business members across the state informed of issues that impact the hobby.
To ensure that state officials are responsive to the concerns of hobbyists, the ACCC holds an annual legislative conference in Sacramento each May. The conference allows automotive hobbyists to discuss mutual issues and challenges directly with legislators, the Air Resources Board, the Bureau of Automotive Repair, the California Highway Patrol, the Department of Motor Vehicles and other government officials.
The dates for the 2009 conference are as follows:
May 5: Car display on the west steps of the Capitol
May 6–7: Presentations from government officials and other invited guests
Collectors, hobbyists and car clubs in California can obtain additional information and register for the conference by visiting www.acccdefender.org or by contacting ACCC Legislative Chairman Bob Stearns at 916/276-4081.
Four Car Clubs Honored for Outstanding Community Service
SAN Member Clubs Among Winners for Annual Eagle One Award
For the past 16 years, Eagle One’s Golden Rule Awards have confirmed that there is more to car clubs than cars. The driving force for most clubs is providing great support to community and charitable causes.
Car clubs in four regions of the United States have been selected as winners of the coveted Eagle One Golden Rule Awards for conducting the most outstanding community service program in their region during 2008.
The winning clubs were:
West: Rogue Valley Street Rods, Medford, Oregon
Midwest: Southern Cruzers, Lakeview, Minnesota
East: Corvette Club of Delaware Valley, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
South: Victory 7 Mustang Club, Richmond, Virginia
The Victory 7 Mustang Club, who is also a SAN member, was selected as the Grand Prize winner, an honor accorded for performing the most compassionate achievement among the four winners. The club organized a Back to School Rally at which 10,000 K–12th grade students were provided with notebooks, paper, book bags and other educational material. It also organized a Cancer Prevention Health Screening for 800 men.
In recognition of their achievements, Eagle One and cosponsor Valvoline will make a combined donation of $1,500 to a favorite charity of the Victory 7 club. A donation of $500 will be made to a favorite charity of each of the three other winners. Each club will also receive a custom-designed award and a generous supply of Eagle One appearance care products and Valvoline products for fundraising events. Eagle One is a member of the Valvoline family of brands.
Newly Introduced Legislation
Note: The following state bills are not laws. They were recently introduced and are currently under consideration by the respective state legislatures:
New Hampshire HB 406: Would allow antique vehicles to use license plates from the year in which the vehicle was manufactured.
Tennessee SB 921/HB 985: Would remove the requirement that antique vehicles displaying an antique license plate, be driven only on Saturday or Sunday and allow their use for general transportation.
Vermont HB 195: Would allow vehicles that are registered as an antique to use a registration plate from the year in which the vehicle was manufactured.
Minnesota HB 690: Would adopt new Low Emissions Vehicle Program based on proposed California standards. Only applies to vehicles produced after 2013.
Tennessee SB 323/HB 661: Would allow vehicles that have been identified by remote sensing devices to skip an inspection at an emissions inspection station if the county air pollution control board decides to use remote devices.
Tennessee SB 747/ HB1710: Would direct the air pollution control board to adopt California emissions standards once states representing 50% of the U.S. population adopt California emissions standards.
Texas HB 1171: Would amend to add Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Willacy County to the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan.
Idaho SB 1092: Would prohibit the use of a glass pack muffler adapted with a butterfly valve that can be opened and closed either manually or electrically.
West Virginia HB 2006: Would require a decal showing the certification of insurance to be placed on a vehicle windshield. The decal will contain license plate number, make and model of the vehicle and the month in which the insurance was purchased.
Minnesota SB 599/HB 678: Would require vehicle headlights to be on at all times of the day.
Illinois HB 3669: Would require, when any portion of a hitch extends more than 4 inches beyond a vehicle’s rear bumper, the ball mount be removed when not in use.
Michigan SB 276: Would amend the vehicle law to allow dangling ornaments or other objects to hang from a rearview mirror.
Texas HB 1347: Would include nitrous-oxide systems that haven’t been disabled and the nitrous bottled removed to the list of what will keep a vehicle from passing an inspection.
California AB 986: Would require any vehicles impounded under the street racing law to be inspected by the California Highway Patrol to determine if the vehicle has been modified beyond original-equipment specifications. Any vehicle that has been modified must be designated as speed enhanced on the certificate of registration.
California SB 205: Would allow counties to charge an extra surcharge up to $10 to help fund congestion road projects.
Georgia HB 447: Would, starting January 1, 2010, remove sales, use tax and ad valorem tax when purchasing a vehicle. Instead a title fee in the amount equal to the lesser of $1,500 or an amount equal to 7% of the vehicle value will be charged.
Idaho HB 98: Would increase vehicle registration fees each year for the next four years. The first year the fee would be raised from $6 to $24 depending on the age of the vehicle. Then annually, the fee would be raised by 10%, 12.5%, 15% and, finally, 17.5%.
Missouri HB 664: Over five years, would reduce the personal property tax annually on qualifying motor vehicles, including historic vehicles, until no personal property tax is imposed.
Texas SB 942: Would give local governments different options for taxing vehicles to raise money to fund transportation infrastructure. The counties would be able to apply either: a gas and diesel fuel tax, a county motor vehicle sale and use tax, a real estate transfer fee, an additional vehicle registration fee, a passenger motor-vehicle sales fee and a miscellaneous fee.
April 6, Tempe
18th Annual Field of Dreams
Information: www.mensartscouncil.com/cs/cars_show.php or 480/229-5691
April 3–5, Del Mar
9th Del Mar Rod & Custom Nationals
Information: www.good-guys.com/events/eventDetails.aspx?eventid=09-623 or 925/838-9876
April 15–19, Redding
20th Kool April Nites
Information: www.koolaprilnites.com or 530/226-0844
April 17–19, Hollister
Molina Ghost Run
Sponsor: Cal Association of 4WD
Information: www.cal4wheel.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=89&Itemid=129 or 559-685-1928
April 19, Riverside
Mopars at CSDR
Sponsor: Inland Mopars
Information: www.inlandmoparscarclub.com or 909/460-0654
April 24–26, Bakersfield
Western Street Rod Nationals
Information: www.nsra-usa.com/index.php/site/evdet/135 or 901/452-4030
April 25–26, Buena Park
30th Annual Fun Under The Sun
Sponsor: Association Handcrafted Automobiles
Information: www.replicarclub.com/Future/Knotts2009.htm or 951/780-9332
April 26, Half Moon Bay
19th Annual Pacific Coast Dream Machines Show
Information: www.miramarevents.com/dreammachines/lead.html or 650/726-2328
April 26, East Hampton
Belltown Antique Car Show
Sponsor: Belltown Antique Car Club
Information: www.belltownantiquecarclub.org or 860/267-4617
April 18, Palatka
10th Annual Open Car Show
Sponsor: Azalea Region AACA
Information: http://local.aaca.org/azalea or 352/473-3476
April 25, Lake Helen
33rd Heritage Classic & Antique Car Show
Sponsor: Volusia Region AACA
Information: http://local.aaca.org/volusia or 386/677-0853
April 11, Marietta
15th Annual Swap Meet
Sponsor: Georgia Street Rod Association
Information: www.gsra.com or 770/517-6701
April 18–20, Twin Falls
33rd Annual CSI Car Show
Information: www.csicarshow.com or 208/308-1552
April 19, Elmhurst
26th Annual Car Show and Swap Meet
Sponsor: Northern Illinois Region, WPC Club
Information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 708/749-0115
April 19, Joliet
33rd Annual Corvettes Unlimited Corvette Show and Parts Swap Meet
Sponsor: Corvettes Unlimited
April 3–4, Louisville
43rd Annual Indoor Swap Meet
Sponsor: KYANA Region AACA
Information: 502/619-2916 or 502/619-2917
April 2–4, Laughlin
Gambler Classic River Run
Sponsor: Southern Nevada Classic Chevy Club
Information: http://gamblerclassicriverrun.com or 888/880-0210
April 11, Manchester
Information: email@example.com or 603/216-4000
April 3–5, Henrietta
2009 Motor Mania
Sponsor: Street Machines of Rochester
Information: www.streetmachinesofrochester.com/motormania.htm or 585/352-5377
April 5, Concord
Euros at the Fair
Information: 704/697-9531 or 704/460-4576