Rhode Island, Missouri Become Second and Third States to Enact SEMA Street Rod/Custom Vehicle Registration Bill
Car hobbyists in Rhode Island and Missouri scored a major victory when SEMA-model legislation to create titling and registration classes for street rods and custom vehicles was enacted into law. In 2002, Illinois was the first state to enact SEMA’s model bill. This new law provides for special license plates and exempts rods and customs from periodic inspections and emissions tests. It also allows for the use of non-original materials and creates a titling criterion that assigns a vehicle the same model-year designation as the production vehicle it most closely resembles. The Missouri measure also exempts all vehicles 26 years old and older from emissions inspections. The 26-year rolling emissions-test exemption will replace current law, which exempts only vehicles manufactured prior to the 1971 model year.
The Rhode Island and Missouri laws stipulate that vehicles titled and registered as street rods and custom vehicles may be used only for occasional transportation, exhibitions, club activities, parades and tours and not for general daily transportation.
“We are extremely gratified that Rhode Island and Missouri will join the list of states that recognize street rods and customs as distinct classes of vehicles,” said SEMA Vice President of Government Affairs Steve McDonald. “The new laws offer the added benefit of also including qualifying replicas and kit cars in these specialty vehicle titling and registration classifications.
“The SEMA Action Network (SAN) will continue to promote the model bill in states that either don’t have registration classifications for these vehicles or have laws that are lacking in some way,” said McDonald. “Efforts are ongoing this year to work with the state legislature in New York on this initiative, and we hope to add others to that list in the coming legislative sessions.” In June 2004, the New York State Senate Transportation Committee passed the bill. Next, the full State Senate will vote on the measure.
The SAN is indebted to Ben Zanni and members of the Rhode Island Street Rodding Association and Independent Customs of Southern New England for their assistance in getting this legislation passed. We could not have enjoyed our success in Missouri without the help and tireless efforts of Jim Pavelec of Old Dog Street Rods, American Roadhouse Car Club, Inc., Bootheel Custom Trucks, the National Street Rod Association, Street Machines of Table Rock Lake Club and Twizted Customz Club. These achievements in Rhode Island and Missouri are a direct result of SAN members and enthusiasts working closely with legislators to pass car-friendly laws. Congratulations to one and all!
State Representative Calvin Hill: SEMAs Man in Georgia
By Suzie Carroll
Georgia State Representative Calvin Hill (R-District 16) is a true friend of the specialty aftermarket and automotive hobby. In addition to the duties of his elected office, Representative Hill finds time to over-see multiple business ventures, including serving as President of Gila Distributing, which has been involved in the manufacture and distribution of automotive aftermarket products for 30 years. Additionally, he is actively involved in his community as a volunteer for many worthwhile organizations, including the United Way and children’s charities. With what little spare time he has, he enjoys the automotive hobby.
A champion of the aftermarket, Representative Hill has been involved with our industry for many years including a stint on the SEMA Board of Directors in the late 1970s. As a member of the SEMA legislative-action committee, he helped protect the industry from unfair and unfriendly legislative and regulatory actions. With the experience gained during his term of service at SEMA, he focused on the window-film industry, becoming a founding member and eventually a president of the International Window Film Association (IWFA).
This first taste of politics during his time with SEMA and his working
to protect the film industry led to Hill’s pursuit of election to public office. His public-service career has included two terms as mayor of Ball Ground, Georgia and, in 2002, his election to his current seat in the Georgia House of Representatives. Although relatively new to statewide politics in Georgia, Rep. Hill has continued to champion the aftermarket though the introduction of industry and hobby friendly legislation in Atlanta.
Driving Force: We know that you have been active in the automotive aftermarket for many years. Tell us about your vehicles and your personal interest in the hobby.
Calvin Hill: I always have enjoyed owning and working on cars that are somewhat different from the norm. My first car was a 1938 Chevy Deluxe Master Coupe, which I found in an old farm storage building. It had been up on blocks for 20-plus years and had only 750 miles on it. I currently own a 1960 Triumph TR3 and a 1999 Plymouth Prowler (purple of course). My daily driver is a Mercedes-Benz G500 wagon. When I need more capacity, I use my Ford 4x4 Excursion, which has traveled through Mexico and Central America. I have always enjoyed working on and restoring cars but do not seem to have the time that I once had.
DF: In addition to your legislative duties in Georgia, you served two terms on the SEMA Board of Directors. You also remain active in the aftermarket as president of Gila Distributing, Inc., the largest independent automotive-film distributor in the U.S. From this unique vantage point, are there any upcoming legislative issues in Georgia about which auto hobbyists and enthusiasts should be concerned?
CH: Just a few weeks ago, the Georgia window-tint law was over-turned in court. We will have to re-write the law when we go back into session next January. In all probability, the new law will be very close to the previous one. Therefore, those who are trying now to take advantage of this period where there is no window-tint statute will have to remove the tint later. I already can see some very unhappy consumers. Installers will try to blame someone else, but they know full well that the law probably will be changing back. I suggest that the installers inform the consumers up front of the situation before installing any dark film.
DF: SEMA has been fortunate to partner with pro-industry and pro-hobby legislators like you many times on key legislative initiatives. During the 2004 legislative session, SEMA’s model street-rod bill was introduced and passed in Hawaii, Missouri and Rhode Island. A version of SEMA’s model exhaust-noise bill became law in New Hampshire. Is there any legislation you would like to see introduced that would protect the rights of hobbyists in Georgia?
CH: Yes, I very much would like to see Georgia pass similar laws. As a member of the nationwide American Legislative Exchange Council’s Transportation and Trade Task Force, I work with legislators from many other states on such issues. Last month, we met in Seattle and discussed several model bills.
DF: What advice do you have for those who want to take an active role in protecting their rights as auto enthusiasts from unnecessary government intervention?
CH: My advice is to become involved in the political process long before there are any specific issues. The best way to have good public policy is to have good elected officials at all levels of government. To make this happen, we need to become involved with our local political parties to help elect those individuals who best represent our views. Then, should problems arise, we would have some good, pro-active elected officials that we personally know and to whom we can take our case. Make friends with your local officials, even if you did not help them get elected. If you have a really special car, you might want to volunteer to drive one of them in a parade. This definitely will build good will.
Like most things, the best defense is a good offense. If you hear of a concern, you can go to one of these officials and volunteer to help them solve the problem. In most cases, they will be overjoyed to have a real “expert” working with them as an advisor for a reasonable resolution of the problem. If the problem really is large and serious, you, as a SAN member, will know of it in advance and can get SEMA involved before it is too late. To contact Rep. Hill, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Off-Road News and Developments
SAN Recommends “No” Vote on Tillamook, Oregon Forestry Plan: In concert with hobbyists in the Pacific Northwest, the SAN recommends that Oregon residents vote against the Tillamook 50/50 Plan this November. This plan states that it will dedicate 50% of the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests to protect drinking water, fish and wildlife habitat and recreation, while the remaining 50% will be dedicated to sustainable timber production. An independent restoration science team or “IRST,” however, would decide which areas will make up the 50% of the land open to recreation and logging and which 50% will be closed for protection of drinking water, and fish and wildlife habitat. The IRST has complete discretion to designate the 50% of the land to be closed. Worst of all, if this plan is adopted, it will come up for review only once every 20 years, with no mechanism in place to revisit the plan’s provisions should something need to be changed or adjusted. For these reasons, the SAN recommends that Oregonians vote against the Tillamook 50/50 Plan.
Forest Service Seeks to Limit Off-Road-Vehicle (ORV) Use: For the first time, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has issued a draft rule to manage motorized recreational use in national forests and grasslands in response to a sevenfold increase in the level of ORV activity over the past 30 years. SEMA is reviewing the draft plan under which all ORVs, including all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes, would be restricted to designated trails. SEMA also is preparing comments for submission to the USFS. According to the USFS, cross-country travel by ORVs through areas with no roads or trails or on unsanctioned roads has caused mounting environmental damage. Under the proposal, forest managers would work with local community representatives and recreation specialists to designate roads, trails and other areas where ORV use would be permitted. It likely will take several years to complete the inventory of sanctioned roads and trails before enforcement activities begin. Current policy on ORV use varies widely from forest to forest.
Roadless Rule to be Set Aside: The Bush Administration has issued a proposed rule to overturn the Clinton Administration’s roadless rule that blocked new road construction, logging, mining and other development within nearly 60 million acres of national forests and grasslands. The roadless rule has been in legal and administrative limbo since it was issued in 2001. The Bush Administration already has opened up 15 million acres of national forest land in Alaska for potential road building. The issuance of a new rule would sidestep lawsuits on the remaining lands. Under the revised rule, state governors would be allowed to petition the U.S. Forest Service to create a rule for management of roadless areas within each state, thus permitting more local input on land-use policy. The revision would likely be consistent with SAN’s position that state government and local communities should participate in forest management decisions.
BLM Approves Plan to Increase ORV Use in Mojave Desert: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has approved a plan to open 91% of off-road-vehicle routes in Southern California’s northern and eastern Mojave Desert. That amounts to about 1,500 miles of roads. The decision affects 1.3 million acres of the 3.3 million acres that the BLM manages in San Bernardino and Inyo Counties. Off-roading will be permitted even in areas designated as critical habitat for the endangered desert tortoise, although the BLM will exclude roads in areas where resources could be damaged.
U.S. Senate Hearing on Northern California Wilderness Bill: A Senate Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee held a hearing on a bill to designate 300,000 acres of federal lands in Northern California as wilderness. Lawmakers have been working over the past four years with the Interior and Agriculture Departments, state authorities, and local communities to reach agreement on wilderness designations in Humboldt, Del Norte, Mendocino, Lake, Napa and Yolo Counties. Currently, motorized vehicles are not allowed in wilderness areas. The SAN feels that not all of the proposed land should be off-limits to motorized recreation; the bill would close a number of existing and legal off-highway-vehicle routes. Moreover, the legislation may rely too heavily on cherry-stem roads, which are dead-end roads that frequently form part of a wilderness boundary. The legislation may not protect some of these roads from future closure.
Bearing Burners Car Show a Burning Success
By Dana Schaeffer, Media Relations Director, Bearing Burners Car Club of Massachusetts
On July 31, 2004, the Bearing Burners Car Club of Massachusetts, a strong and active supporter of the SAN, held its fifth annual “CRUZ IN” all-vehicle show in Billerica to raise funds for the Shawsheen Valley Technical High School Scholarship Fund.
Despite temperatures of over 90 degrees, 300 vehicles were on display, ranging from a 1923 Ford “T” bucket to a 2003 customized Dodge Dakota. The show highlighted the hot rods, “rat rods,” custom vehicles and classic cars that have had an impact in our lives.
“I was thrilled with the turn-out for our event,” said Lenny Schaeffer, President of the Bearing Burners Car Club, “especially since we moved the event 23 miles from our original location.”
Bearing Burners Car Club presented each participant with goody bag that featured SAN items and a dash plaque to commemorate the event. One of the highlights was the ever-popular silent auction. The spotlighted auction item was an autographed Richard Petty baseball cap, which the SAN provided, fetching an amazing final bid of $100.
The show also featured a flame-throwing exhibition, courtesy of members of the National Flame-Throwers Association. This brought the crowd of participants and spectators (over 1000 people) to their feet while 15- to-20-foot-high flames erupted from the back of two vehicles. Quite a sight to see!
Bearing Burners raised $1772 for the Shawsheen Scholarship Fund. This scholarship helps a student seeking an automotive career with the costs of attending the technical school. With only six students graduating each year from the automotive curriculum, Bearing Burners Car Club felt strongly about aiding any student interested in the automotive field to help the future of our hobby. The group also conducted a canned-food drive to benefit a local food pantry.
The Shawsheen Valley Technical High School has asked the Bearing Burners Car Club to return for 2005. The club plans to add customizing exhibitions, demonstrations and other automotive fun. More pictures of the event may be found on the club website at www.bearingburners.com.
Legislative Quick Hits
Senate Committee Approves California Emissions-Exemption Repeal Bill: Despite assertions by several legislators that the bill would be revised to protect collector interests, the California Senate Appropriations Committee approved Assembly Bill no. 2683 by a one-vote margin without amendment. A.B. 2683 would repeal the state’s current rolling emissions-test exemption for vehicles 30 years old and older. The Senate’s Transportation Committee previously approved this measure, as did the entire California State Assembly. A.B. 2683 would repeal the current pro-hobbyist exemption and replace it with a law requiring the permanent testing of all 1976 and newer model-year vehicles. The bill next comes up for a vote before the entire California Senate. If the Senate approves the measure, it will be sent to Governor Schwarzenegger for his approval or veto. At the SAN’s request, our contacts in the Governor’s office have sent word to the Senate Majority Leader that the bill will not be signed in its current form and must contain provisions to protect limited-use collector cars of the post-1976 era.
California Greenhouse Gases: The California Air Resources Board (ARB) released its draft proposal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from passenger cars and light trucks by nearly 30%. The proposal responds to legislation enacted in 2002 that required ARB to limit emissions from California passenger cars that the legislature deemed as contributing to global warming. The proposal identifies methods that can be used by automakers to improve the performance of car engines, transmissions and drivetrains to reduce GHG emissions. Automakers have resisted these changes. The manufacturers’ arguments, which SEMA supports, rest on the fact that California is effectively creating a state-level fuel-economy standard-a federal prerogative-by limiting GHG emissions, because GHG emissions are directly linked to fuel use. If finalized, a number of other states most likely would adopt the California standard. The proposal almost definitely will face a legal challenge from the car companies.Legislative Quick Hits.
SEPTEMBER 2004 SAN CLUB EVENTS
September 10-12, Jerome
Jerome Jamboree XIV at Gold King Mine
September 24-26, Pinetop
21st Annual Run to the Pines Car Show
September 4-5, Rancho Cordova
California Mini Nats 2004
Sponsor: National Nostalgic Nova
September 11-12, Palo Alto
25th Annual British Car Meet at El Camino Park
September 12, Belmont Shore
15th Annual Belmont Shore Car Show
Sponsor: Bay City Rodders
September 25, Costa Mesa
5th Annual Cruisin’ For a Cure
Sponsor: Cruisin’ For a Cure
Information: 949/752-5115, ext. 10
September 26, Livermore
Nostalgia Day Car Show
Sponsor: Diablo Valley Mustang Association
September 10-12, Colorado Springs
7th Colorado Classic, Pikes Peak International Raceway
Sponsor: Goodguys Rod and Custom Association
September 3, Lime Rock
Vintage Festival at Lime Rock Park
September 11, Enfield
Cruze for the Cure
Sponsor: Tri-Town Cruzers
September 12, Brooklyn
45th Annual Yankee Yesteryear Car Club Show and Flea Market
Information: 860/774-6465 or 860/376-8671
September 12, East Haven
10th Annual Fall Festival Car Show on the Town Green
September 19, Haddam Neck
Middlesex Picnic at Mary Drew’s Crows Nest Farm
Sponsor: Connecticut MG Club
September 26, Simsbury
Simsbury Fly-In and Car Show at Simsbury Airport
Sponsor: Simsbury Flying Club and Valley Classic Wheels Car Club
September 26, New Castle
Annual British Car Show at Battery Park
Sponsor: The British Car Club of Delaware
September 12, Oak Brook
2004 Fierorama “In Honor of the Daily Driven Fiero”
Information: 630/983-6434 or 630/305-9806
September 12, Kane County Fairgrounds, St. Charles
34th Annual Midwest Antique Car Show, Parts Swap, and Flea Market
Sponsor: Midwest Chapter, Model T Ford Club International
7th Annual “Trip to the Village” All-GM Car Show
Sponsor: Illinois Pontiac/Oakland Club
September 24-26, Indianapolis
23rd Annual Advance Auto Parts Fall
4-Wheel & Off-Road Jamboree
September 24-26, Fairmount
25th Annual James Dean Run at Playacres Park
Sponsor: Cluster Busters
September 5-6, Iowa Falls
8th Annual Labor Day Scenic City Car Show
September 19, Arterial
Camp Albrecht Acres Benefit Car Show
Sponsor: Tri-State Auto Club & Hy-Vee
Information: 563/557-1081 or 563/552-1461
September 19, Davenport
20th Annual Show ‘n’ Shine
Sponsor: Blackhawk Chapter, Pontiac/Oakland Club International
September 25, Robins
Rockin’ Robins Classic Car Show
September 24-26, Kansas City
3rd Mid-Western Nationals, Kansas Speedway
Sponsor: Goodguys Rod and Custom Association
September 11, Columbia
All-Chevrolet Car Show
Sponsor: Win Kelly Chevrolet and the Maryland Camaro Club
September 25, Rocks State Park
24th Annual “MGs on the Rocks”
Sponsor: The MGs of Baltimore
September 10-12, Frankenmuth
21st Annual Frankenmuth Auto Fest
Sponsor: Murray Discount Auto Stores
September 10-12, Kalamazoo
25th Annual NSRA Street Rod Nationals North
Sponsor: National Street Rod Association
September 6, Rogers
Orphan Car Show at the Ellingson Car Museum
Sponsor: Studebaker Drivers Club, Northstar Chapter
September 11, Northfield
13th Annual Defeat of Jesse James Days Car Show
Sponsor: Sundowners Car Club
September 12, Worthington
15th Annual Turkey Day Car Show
Sponsor: Southwest Minnesota Street Rodders
September 12, Wampsville
44th Annual Antique Car Show and Flea Market
Sponsor: The Mohican Model A Ford Club
September 17-19, Rhinebeck
13th East Coast Nationals, Dutchess County Fairgrounds
Sponsor: Goodguys Rod and Custom Association
September 3-5, Springfield
15th Annual International Harvester Scout and Light Truck Nationals
September 11-12, Sandy
Sponsor: Oregon Council of Vehicle Associations
September 19, McConnelsville
21st Annual M&M Jaycees “Fall Festival”
Auto and Truck Show, Parts Swap Meet
Sponsor: M&M Jaycees
September 12, Smoke Run
Fall Mud Bash
Sponsor: Muddy Run Raceway
September 18-19, Gettysburg
Annual Corvair Days Show at the Eisenhower Inn
Sponsor: Central Pennsylvania Corvair Club
September 29-October 3, Carlisle
September 10-12, Watertown
25th Annual Vintiques Rod Run
Sponsor: Vintiques Car Club
September 9-11, Amarillo
42nd Grand Ole Tour
Sponsor: Amarillo Region AACA
September 17-19, Arlington
Southwest Swap Meet at the Ballpark in Arlington
September 16-19, Stowe
The British Invasion featuring the MG
September 17-19, Burlington
11th Annual NSRA Northeast Street Rod Nationals
Sponsor: National Street Rod Association
September 18-19, Cartersville
Off-Road Races including MudBog and SandDrag
Sponsor: Old Dominion 4WD Club
September 24-25, Oak Ridge Estate
VA4WDA Annual Trail Ride
Sponsor: Virginia Four Wheel Drive Association
September 5, Ferndale
32nd Annual Whatcom County Mini Meet at Hovandar Homestead Park
Sponsor: Whatcom County Studebaker Drivers Club
September 9-12, Tacoma
26th Annual Can-Am Model T Tour
Information: 253/ 472-7292
September 17-18, Wisconsin Dells
2004 Quad States Show
Sponsor: Oldsmobile Club of Wisconsin
September 18, Amery
Amery Fall Festival Cars in the Park at North Park
Sponsor: WPCA Radio 95.7 FM
September 25-26, Jefferson
Jefferson Swap, Sale, and Show at the County Fairgrounds
Cody’s Wild West Show & Shine