May has brought some crazy weather this year so far (we’re looking at you Colorado), and with it has come more legislative action that could affect the hot rodding community. Thankfully, the Specialty Equipment Market Association is remaining a positive influence and model when it comes to state and federal laws regarding collector vehicles, emissions, modifications and much more. Check out what legislation SEMA has been keeping tabs on in this month’s SEMA Law & Order update!
When we left off in April, there was a whole list of legislative issues threatening to affect the hot rod scene. Unfortunately, May is no different but SEMA is on the case and ready to help enthusiasts by battling against unfair rules and regulations put on any area of the automotive industry.
In Connecticut, SEMA is fighting against proposed legislation that would require all vehicles registered as collector, rare, special interest or modified antique vehicles to be at least 30 years old. Currently, the state law allows this kind of registration to be put on vehicles 20 years and older. If the bill passes, not only will most vehicles from the 80’s be excluded from special registration, but for property tax purposes, the assessed value of all vehicles registered as collectors would increase from $500 to $2,500.
SEMA is also fighting against legislation that would disallow the use of year-of-manufacture plates for all collector/special interest vehicles after July 1st of this year. If a car was registered with the ability to carry a year-of-manufacture plate prior to July 1st, the new bill would allow the continuation of use of the plate until the registration expired. All year-of-manufacture plates would therefore be outlawed by 2015 if the bill passes.
Another proposed legislative change that SEMA is currently fighting against comes out of Texas. There, SEMA is fighting legislation that would put a vehicle-miles tax on all state motorists. Those with vehicles weighing less than 10,000 pounds would be taxed under the new bill at one cent per mile traveled. This would not only affect hot rodders and pleasure vehicle owners, but also daily commuters, families and even motorcyclists.
Moving on to nicer news, SEMA is working with some states to make things easier for hot rodders and automotive hobbyists. In Florida, SEMA is supporting the repeal of ethanol requirements for gasoline. Now, gas in Florida must be at least nine percent ethanol. While this doesn’t directly affect hot rodders, it makes it more difficult to acquire fuel with less ethanol or none at all for vehicles that could be damaged by ethanol gas. Similar legislative action is being supported in Oregon.
In Hawaii, SEMA supported legislation has been introduced to lower the registration cost for antique or collector vehicles to $25 a year instead of $45. The bill also looks to reduce the weight tax for collector vehicles to one cent per pound from the current 1.75 cents per pound.
Double good news comes out of Montana this month where SEMA has been fighting to allow 1948, 1949 and 1950 model-year trailers to display a single year-of-manufacture plate within the state. This bill was passed by the House of Representatives and now moves on to the Senate.
Additionally, SEMA opposed legislation aiming to limit the number of inoperable vehicles someone could have on private property was withdrawn from consideration. The focus of the bill was city decay and it was due to opposition headed by SEMA to the bill that it was revoked from discussion.
In Virginia, SEMA-amended legislation excluding all parts cars stored on private property for restoration purposes from the state license tax has been signed into law. Now, even if parts vehicles don’t display up to date plates, they can not be taxed.
Last, but not least, SEMA is supporting legislation recently introduced in West Virginia that would allow all vehicles 25 years and older to be excluded from property taxes. Under the bill, those vehicles exempt would have to display antique plates and not be used for everyday transportation.
May has brought some interesting legislation from all across the country, but with SEMA on our side, we can enjoy our upcoming summer comfortably knowing that one of our favorite aftermarket organizations is fighting the good fight for all of us.
To stay up to date with legislative action as it happens, please join the SEMA Action Network.