Friday, December 2, 2011


As the state legislatures close down their legislative sessions, the SEMA Action Network (SAN) resumes its yearly feature highlighting the best and worst automotive bills of 2011. While some of these bills were enacted into law, many did not make it through this year and could be reintroduced in future sessions. Keep an eye out and get ready to help us support the best and oppose the worst in 2012!

SAN is a nationwide partnership between enthusiasts, vehicle clubs and members of the automotive specialty-parts industry who have joined forces to promote hobby-friendly legislation and oppose unfair laws. With more than 60,000 North American members, SAN is the premier organization defending the rights of vehicle enthusiasts. SAN is free to join with no obligations or commitments. Join now at www.semasan.com.

BEST
1.  Washington S.B. 5586: Prohibits cities or towns from restricting inoperable vehicles, including parts cars, stored on private property if screened from public view. Bill was not enacted into law. 
2.  New York A.B. 2080/S.B. 3213: Creates a $100 one-time fee that would replace the current annual fee of $28.75 for the registration of historical motor vehicles. Bill was not enacted into law.  
3.  Maryland H.B. 155, New Jersey A.B. 448/S.B. 687, New Mexico S.B. 412, New York A.B. 2073/S.B. 201, Texas H.B. 890, Washington S.B. 5585: Creates vehicle registration and titling classifications for street rods and custom vehicles, including kit cars and replicas, and provides for special license plates. The Texas and Washington bills were enacted into law.  
4.  Connecticut S.B. 723: Extends the emissions inspection exemption to vehicles five model years old or newer. Bill was not enacted into law. 
5.   Illinois H.B. 3256: Provides for an expanded-use antique-vehicle registration class that would allow antique vehicles and replicas to be driven without limitation during the warmer part of the year, from April 1 through October 31. Bill was enacted into law.   
6.  Michigan H.B. 4885: Prohibits the state from imposing a vehicle-miles-traveled (VMT) tax or mileage-based user fee on motor vehicles, to include any global-positioning-satellite-based toll or similar program that would provide for the locational tracking of private motor vehicles or users. Bill was not enacted into law.
7.  North Carolina H.B. 187: Requires ethanol content labels on all pumps that dispense ethanol-blended gasoline. Bill was enacted into law.   
8.  Oklahoma S.B. 160: Allows municipalities to issue permits for sanctioned motor-vehicle racing events on public streets and highways within its geographical jurisdiction. Bill was enacted into law.   
9.   Tennessee H.B. 688: Exempts vehicles more than 25 years old from the state’s annual emissions inspection and maintenance program. Previous law in Tennessee only exempted vehicles manufactured before the ’75 model year from emissions inspection. Bill was enacted into law. 
10.  West Virginia H.B. 2456: Allows vehicle hobbyists to install and use aftermarket modified exhaust systems that meet a 95-decibel limit under a fair and predictable test. Bill was not enacted into law. 

WORST
1.  West Virginia H.B. 2190: Includes vehicles with exhaust systems deemed too loud, as determined by an enforcement officer’s subjective opinion, in the definition of “disturbing the peace,” a crime that carries a fine of up to $1,000 per occurrence, jail for six months or both. Bill was not enacted into law. 
2.  Arkansas H.B. 1252: Allows cities to remove an inoperable vehicle from private property if the vehicle is deemed a “nuisance” under a local ordinance. Bill was not enacted into law.
3.  Connecticut H.B. 5580: Increases from 20 to 30 years old, the age requirement for vehicles eligible for registration as “antique, rare or special-interest motor vehicles” and increases the tax assessment on vehicles registered as antiques from $500 to $2,500. Bill was not enacted into law. 
4.  Hawaii H.B. 1178: Bans the installation, ownership or use of any car with aftermarket speakers more than 6.5 in. in height or depth, any five-speaker aftermarket system, any aftermarket speaker more than 100 watts and any aftermarket speaker installed external to the passenger compartment or in an open hatch back. Bill was not enacted into law. 
5.  Massachusetts H.B. 1848, New York A.B. 1318: Imposes additional fees on the purchase of larger or higher-emitting vehicles, based on state calculations of carbon emissions and/or vehicle weight. Bills were not enacted into law.
6.  Nebraska L.B. 698: Removes labeling requirements on pumps dispensing ethanol-blended gasoline. Bill was not enacted into law. 
7.  North Dakota H.B. 1442: Prohibits the modification of any motor vehicle that altered the manufacturer's original suspension, steering or brake system. Bill was not enacted into law. 
8.  Oregon H.B. 3214: Prohibits the sale of exhaust systems and exhaust-system components that cause motor vehicles to produce noise exceeding certain undetermined noise limits. Bill was not enacted into law. 
9.  Oregon H.B. 3147: Bans vehicles whose bumpers were elevated more than 3 in. over the original manufactured bumper clearance and imposes a fine of up to $360 per offense. Bill was not enacted into law.
10. Washington H.B. 1134: Requires an annual renewal fee of $30 (added to the one-time $35 license plate fee) for collector-vehicle and horseless carriage license plates. Bill was not enacted into law.