New SAN Staffer Scrutinizes Legislative Proposals

My name is Matthew Donovan, and I recently joined the SEMA Government Affairs office as its legislative research manager. My job is to work with the SEMA government affairs team to identify, analyze and monitor legislation and regulations to help advance the SEMA Action Network’s (SAN) legislative interests across all fifty states. In this capacity, I sort through thousands of submitted bills to find legislation that directly affects our hobby.

Originally from Colorado, I recently moved to Washington, D.C., after a stint of volunteer work in South Africa. I previously worked as a legislative intern for a Washington State Senator and assisted on several state level campaigns.

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SEMA SAN Strike Force

This 1953 Studebaker Commander Starlight Coupe has been owned by Duane Miller since 1963. The image was captured in his driveway in Eldridge, Iowa. At one time it had a supercharged engine under the hood from a 1957 Golden Hawk. Today, it has been returned to stock except for the 1961 Studebaker Hawk brakes.

As single license plate proposals are being considered by several states already this year, car enthusiasts are weighing in on the topic with their legislators.  Iowa’s Duane Miller recently requested support for his state’s bill.  “My 1953 Studebaker Commander Starlight Coupe would look a lot better without a front plate that messes up the body lines,” he said.  The photo of the ’53 above reinforces his point—which in this case shows a Minnesota plate (where the car was originally sold as new).  “My 1963 Avanti does not even have a place to put one and never did,” Duane adds.  Like most of the hobbyist community, he expresses that this bill would not only protect the aesthetic contours of collector cars like his but save the state money, conserve resources and bring Iowa in line with other states that have moved to a single plate requirement.  A proud SEMA Action Network (SAN) member, Miller appreciates that the “organization keeps track of legislation much better than I can.” 

Duane admits that the aforementioned Studebaker Commander and Avanti are his favorite cars.  He takes great pride in the Commander’s rebuild since the plating and upholstery were the only elements that were "hired out.”  An equally gratifying restoration was completed as a wedding present for his daughter—a 1957 Studebaker pickup with an Avanti engine and transmission.  “She owned the truck and was going to help me restore it, but I pulled off the restoration in secret with the help of a good friend. ”  A photo of the occasion even made the back cover of the Studebaker Drivers Club (SDC) international magazine, TURNING WHEELS.  Having been involved with several car clubs, Duane is familiar with fulfilling various volunteer roles.  He currently belongs to the SDC (as national director) and its Big 6 River Bend Chapter, with which he’s held every office in the chapter except the treasurer position, as well as the Avanti Owners Association International

We hope that other Iowans will join with you in supporting the single plate bill, Duane!  Many thanks for helping the cause.


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