DRIVING FORCE

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February 2011

Navigating the Legislative Terrain
 
A New Year Brings New Legislators, New Bills and New Challenges
 
The winds of political change swept across this country on November 2, 2010. Midterm elections typically sway against the party in power, but the magnitude was dramatic, if not historic. Control of the U.S. House of Representatives changed hands from the Democrats to the Republicans. In the state legislatures, the GOP gained a total of 675 seats nationwide. The balance of power has been altered in 13 state legislatures across the land. In fact, 2011 will mark the first time that Republicans have controlled the Alabama legislature since the post-Civil War reconstruction era. North Carolina’s Senate has not been in Republican hands since 1870. Changes like these will undoubtedly provide new challenges and new opportunities for the hobby in 2011.
 
The predominant issue facing the country is the ongoing economic recession. “Money is tight, and states are struggling to balance their budget sheets,” says Mike Dingell, director of the SEMA Action Network (SAN). “Over the past year, we have seen measures emerge out of state legislatures and tax commissions that, if enacted into law, bode poorly for hobbyists’ wallets,” he continued. The proof is in the pudding. In 2010, California, Massachusetts and New York attempted to enact legislation placing a surcharge on new vehicles based on state-calculated carbon emissions. States such as California and Colorado even tried to increase the scope of emissions testing for infrequently used collector vehicles. Michigan, the birthplace of American motoring, considered legislation that would have dramatically raised the historic vehicle registration fee from $30 every decade to $30 per year. West Virginia’s tax commissioner has instituted a new policy for valuing older cars and trucks, including antiques and street rods, to raise the property taxes owed on these vehicles. Similar examples abound, and SAN will continue to oppose revenue-generating measures that function at the expense of hobbyists. In addition, SAN is actively seeking innovative ways that hobbyists can actually help alleviate budgetary stresses on the states. For example, proposals in Washington state and Missouri to remove the front license plate requirement would save the states $1.9 million and $3 million, respectively.
 
The change brought by the election also decreased the number of pro-enthusiast lawmakers known as the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus and the Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus. Several members retired, were term-limited out of office or lost their bids for re-election, opening the door for a new class of decision makers. “It is critical that we replace these friends with like-minded individuals,” said SEMA Vice President of Government Affairs Steve McDonald. “We urge SAN members to reach out to these new legislators, establish relationships with them and respectfully educate them on issues of importance facing America’s automotive hobby. A simple call today could mean the difference tomorrow.”
 
In spite of fiscal woes and legislator turnover, the next legislative session holds promise for the creation of street-rod, custom, kit-car, replica and specialty-vehicle title designations with SEMA-model legislation. Versions of our model bill have been successful in helping hobbyists title their rides in 21 states to date, and we are working to add more to that list. A number of lawmakers have expressed interest in introducing such legislation in the current session. In addition to the model specialty vehicle titling and registration bill, SAN maintains model language to provide an objective standard for measuring exhaust noise and an inoperable vehicle model bill to protect your backyard restoration project.
 
The political terrain is vastly different in 2011 and will most certainly have an effect on the road ahead for America’s automotive enthusiasts. Even with these changes, we must adapt, remain vigilant, stay informed and be ready to tackle the challenges ahead. Let’s push the pedal down and get movin’. The future of America’s automotive heritage depends on it!
 
 
 
CAUCUS CORNER
 
Each month Driving Force will feature members of the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus. The SEMA-supported caucus is a bipartisan group of state lawmakers, 349 strong, whose common thread is a love and appreciation for automobiles.
 
Here are its newest members:
 
Nevada
 
Assemblymember Richard Carrillo
 
Michigan
 
State Senator Joe Hune
 
West Virginia
 
Delegate Gary Howell
 
 
 
LEGISLATIVE QUICK HITS
 
California Smog-Check Program: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a bill to revamp California’s smog-check program. No earlier than January 1, 2013, smog-check stations will be required to measure the emissions of model-year ’00 and newer vehicles using onboard diagnostic testing. The new law also directs that a procedure be developed for testing vehicles that are not able to be tested through an onboard diagnostic computer system.
 
California Greenhouse Gases: California voters rejected Proposition 23 with a resounding 61% “no” vote. Many proponents of the failed measure jumped ship to support its less controversial cousin: Proposition 26. Proposition 23 would have suspended implementation of California’s “Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.” The state would not have been able to pursue regulations intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as cap-and-trade. Proposition 26 serves the function of delaying or preventing any new or increased fees including, but not limited to, fees associated with the implementation of the Global Warming Solutions Act. New fees will now require approval by two-thirds of the state legislature or two-thirds of registered voters. Prior to the passage of Proposition 26, lawmakers were able to balance the state budget and introduce laws that were revenue neutral with a simple majority. Under Proposition 26, a new super-majority of voters will be necessary for these measures.
 
Iowa Fenders: As of October 13, 2010, Iowa street rods, replicas and specially constructed vehicles are no longer required to be equipped with fenders and bumpers. Previous Iowa inspection requirements for these specialty cars specified that all vehicles were to be equipped with fenders and required a front and rear bumper. In altering the fender and bumper specifications, regulators signaled their understanding that street rods and special interest vehicles are driven less frequently than daily drivers (about one-third the miles each year) and should therefore not be bound to conventional equipment requirements.
 
Michigan Racing Bill: SAN-supported legislation that would have allowed any municipality to issue a permit for a sanctioned motor vehicle racing event on highways, streets or airport runways within its geographical jurisdiction was introduced at the end of the 2010 session. Unfortunately, the legislature adjourned before it could be considered. Current Michigan law only allows cities to issue these permits. This bill would have allowed counties, cities, villages or townships to issue similar permits. The measure would have made it easier for event organizers to secure one permit at the county level, rather than securing permits from each government entity—federal, state or local—with jurisdiction along the race route. The bill could return in 2011.
 
Pennsylvania Registration Fees: SAN-opposed legislation that threatened to increase fees for all vehicle owners was not considered at the end of the 2010 legislative session. Under the proposed bill, general passenger cars would face a $13 increase in their registration fee, while the one-time registration fee for antique, classic and collectible vehicles would have gone up by $27 (from $75 to $102) and the initial registration fee for street rods by $31 (from $20 to $51). Additionally, these fees would have increased again each subsequent year following enactment. This proposal could return in 2011.
 
Vermont Inspections: SAN submitted comments to a proposed inspection regulation by the Vermont DMV supporting a provision exempting vehicles registered as exhibition vehicles from OBD-II requirements. Under state law, an exhibition vehicle is defined as a motor vehicle maintained solely for use in exhibitions, club activities, parades and other functions of public interest and which is not used for the transportation of passengers or property on any highway, except to attend such functions. SAN also recommended that the exhibition vehicle definition be expanded to include a vehicle used for personal recreational travel not to exceed 2,500 miles per year.
 
Ethanol (E15) Labeling at Gas Pumps: SAN submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to suspend the partial waiver issued last October to permit the sale of gasoline containing 15% ethanol (E15) for ’07 and newer vehicles (the Environmental Protection Agency is still gathering data for the ’01–’06 vehicles). While issuing the waiver, the EPA confirmed that there was insufficient test data to permit E15 to be used in model-year ’00 and older light-duty motor vehicles. SAN has consistently voiced concern that ethanol increases water formation which can corrode metals, plastics and rubber. SAN also voiced opposition to a proposed rule on how to label gas pumps to help prevent vehicle misfueling. No uniform nationwide requirements exists to notify consumers that their gasoline purchase contains ethanol. Labeling rules are subject to state regulation and some states do not require labels. SAN recommended that the Environmental Protection Agency create national labeling requirements for both E15 and E10, and that the E15 warning label be placed clearly on the pump. SAN will continue to oppose E15 until there are conclusive scientific findings that demonstrate that it will not harm automobiles of any age as a result of corrosion or other chemical incompatibilities.
 
Land Use: The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) unveiled a regulatory initiative to identify unspoiled back country which can be designated as “wild lands.” SAN opposes this proposal and is closely monitoring the program since it overrides the exclusive authority of Congress to designate “wilderness” as well as prohibit motorized activities in these areas. BLM manages more than 250 million acres across the western United States and Alaska, 22% of which already has the wilderness designation. The Bureau of Land Management has now been directed to review its inventory in search of more wild lands.
 
Federal Wilderness Designations: A SAN-opposed package of 110 public land, water and wildlife bills was defeated in Congress as the 2010 session came to a close. The legislation would have designated 320,000 acres of land as “wilderness,” closing it off to OHV use. Areas covered in the legislation included the Devil’s Staircase (Oregon), Organ Mountains (New Mexico) and an expansion of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness (Washington). In 2009, Congress set aside more than 2 million acres of new wilderness in nine states, including areas in Joshua Tree National Park, the eastern Sierras, Mt. Hood and Zion National Park.
 
 
 
Dear SAN Members:
 
It is with great pleasure, and a sense of excitement, that I write to introduce myself as your new Director of the SEMA Action Network (SAN). 
 
As a lifelong gearhead with roots tracing back to the Motor City, I am very proud to take on the responsibility of leading America’s premier automotive enthusiast network in the battle to protect our cherished heritage.  In an era of increasing governmental involvement in the hobby, it is imperative that we remain organized and stand together.  We must continue to ensure that lawmakers, both on Capitol Hill and in state houses across the nation, hear our voices loudly and proudly.  We will not stand idly and allow America’s automotive traditions to be legislated out of existence.  In addition, we will promote pro-active policies that benefit the hobby.  As I assume the mantle of this great organization, that is my pledge to you.
 
I come to this job abundantly aware that the fight to defend the hobby from aggressive regulation may not be easy, but it is a necessary one.  For 14 years, the SAN has staved off attacks from forces seeking to create obstacles to our responsible enjoyment of this hobby and made strides towards ensuring its future.  Continue to stay informed.  Respectfully let your legislators know where you stand on the issues.  Most importantly, spread the word.  Let your friends, family, and fellow enthusiasts know the vital importance of SAN’s mission and to join the cause.  As always, joining the SAN at  http://www.semasan.com/san/join.aspx  is FREE and carries no obligations. 
 
I look forward to meeting each of you at events across the country and working together towards the preservation of our hobby.  If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me via email at miked@sema.org or phone at 202/783-6007 ext. 38. 
 
Very Respectfully,
 
Mike Dingell
 
 
 
Esteemed Caucus Leader Steps Down From Post in Montana Senate
 
Montana State Senator John Brueggeman, a member of the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus and its first chairman, has stepped down from his seat in the Montana Senate. Brueggeman was first elected to the Montana House of Representatives at the age of 21. He was elected to the Senate four years later. As a result of his passion for the hobby, he sponsored legislation to create titling and registration classes for hot rods in his state and instituted an objective and hobby-friendly means to regulate exhaust system noise. Brueggeman also put his legislative knowledge to work for the SAN on hot-rod regulations in California.
 
“As a diehard car guy, working with SEMA to support the hobby and industry was one of the most enjoyable and rewarding aspects of my service,” he said. “I will remain involved in the hobby and the public process. Perhaps now I’ll have a little more time to wrench on my ’66 LeMans and finish a couple of these motorcycles lying around the shop.”
 
The SAN would like to graciously thank our friend, Senator Brueggeman, for his years of service to Montanans as well as to America’s automotive enthusiasts. His leadership has been an asset to the cause of protecting our hobby, and we wish him the best in his future endeavors. 
 
 
 
HEY, THAT’S MY CAR!
 
Childhood Memories
 
1936 Plymouth P2 Sedan
Owner: David Burress 
Knoxville, Tennessee
 
My interest in this car began with childhood memories of stories that I’d heard surrounding the events of my birth. In May of 1947, my 21-year-old mother and her friend left Wisconsin for Knoxville, Tennessee. My father, an army sergeant stationed in Wisconsin, was unable to assist in the drive. The drive was nothing remarkable except for the fact that my mother was eight months pregnant. A month later, I was born in Knoxville where I still live today.
 
Early in 2009, I began researching my past, looking through old photo albums. Sure enough, there was a picture of me in front of a ’36 P2 Plymouth, the car my mother drove more than 800 miles to Tennessee. As a longtime car guy, I wanted this car in my collection. The search was on, and I finally found and purchased my Plymouth from just across the line in Alabama. My new addition was a well-maintained automobile with less than 22,000 miles and rust in only one spot. The car has the original paint, interior and drivetrain.
 
This Plymouth runs great and starts easier than the one I remember because Mom was always flooding it. Driving this car is fun and challenging, unlike today’s cars where we can become lazy and easily distracted with all of the comfort and technological amenities. I have had several people ask me if I’m going to street-rod the ’36, and my response is and always will be, “they’re only original once.”
 
 
 
CLUB SPOTLIGHT
 
Wheels Across the Land of Lincoln
 
Illini Collector Car Club to Celebrate 50th Anniversary
 
The Illini Collector Car Club participated in a vintage vehicle display outside of the Public Enemies movie premiere in downtown Champaign, Illinois. Photo Courtesy Mike Balogh.
 
The Illini Collector Car Club is a traditional antique car club located in an agricultural area near the University of Illinois. It began as a chapter of the Horseless Carriage Club of America and, in 2011, will proudly celebrate its 50th anniversary. The club now has more than 100 members from East Central Illinois from all walks of life who collectively own more than 40 different makes of vehicles. Two current members joined the club in the first year, 1961.
 
Club activities during the year include cruises, displays, picnics, and bus tours. The primary club activity is the annual Urbana Motor Muster which attracts more than 10,000 visitors and is held in conjunction with a major festival. Each year, a certain auto make or theme is featured. The 2011 feature will be vehicles owned by the same family for at least 50 years to commemorate the club’s anniversary. To encourage a wide variety of entries, there are special trophies for orphan makes, pre-’32 vehicles and youngest owners. Show photos and information can be viewed at www.illinicollectorcarclub.com. For the past three years, show entry fees have been donated to the local Cunningham Children’s Home. More than $2,000 has been contributed to date.
 
Another club tradition happens each Memorial Day as club members display their cars at a local nursing home. Every July, the club celebrates Henry Ford’s birthday with a cruise and display at the area VA hospital. The Illini Collector Car Club is proud to actively promote America’s rich automotive history as well as unite those interested in old cars.
 
 
 
EVENTS
 
ALABAMA
 
February 11–13, Birmingham
World of Wheels Custom Auto Show
Sponsor: McLean MotorSports Productions
Information: 205/655-4950 or www.worldofwheels.info
 
ARIZONA
 
February 5, Phoenix
Motoring Thru Time
Sponsor: City of Phoenix–Heritage & Science Park Office
Information: 602/262-5071 or http://phoenix.gov/PARKS/2011mtt.pdf
 
February 5, Lake Havasu City
3rd Annual Show for Charity
Sponsor: Knights of Columbus
Information: 928/680-6871 or 714/719-3063
 
February 5–6, Quartzsite
13th Annual Rock & Roll Classic Car Show
Information: 800/969-5464 x121 or www.quartzsitervshow.com
 
February 13, Tempe
18th Annual Sweetheart All Chevy Show
Sponsor: Desert Corvette Association
Information: www.vette.org/SHCS.html
 
February 20, Tucson
Fords on Fourth
Sponsor: Southern Arizona Mustang Club
Information: www.nationwidecarshows.com/events/2987.jpg
 
CALIFORNIA
 
February 5, San Juan Capistrano
8th Annual CARe Show
Sponsor: Capistrano Animal Rescue Effort and San Juan Capistrano Rotary Club
Information: 949/240-1735 or www.capoanimalrescue.com/file_cabinet/CARe_SHOW_flyer.pdf
 
February 11–13, Sacramento
The Sacramento Autorama
Sponsor: RodShows.com
Information: www.rodshows.com/sa
 
February 12, Indian Wells
Dr. George Memorial Car Show
Sponsor: Palm Springs Cruisin’ Association (PSCA)
Information: www.palmspringscruisinassociation.com
 
February 19–20; 26–27, La Quinta
The Desert Classic
Sponsor: The Desert Classic Concours d’Elegance 
Information: www.desertconcours.com/events-02-01.htm
 
February 24–27, Pomona
51st Annual NHRA Winternationals
Sponsor: NHRA
Information: https://tix.cnptix.com/tix/NHRA-Winternationals-Tickets?eventID=1111
 
February 25–27, Visalia 
52nd Annual CA4WDC Convention: Off-Road & On Track
Sponsor: California Association of 4WD Clubs Inc.
Information: http://cal4wheel.com
 
COLORADO
 
February 5–6, Denver
40th Annual Tri State Swap Meet
Sponsor: The Sabers of Denver
Information: 303/428-6046 or www.tristateswapmeet.com
 
CONNECTICUT
 
February 19, Orange
Northeast Gas Bash & Auction
Information: 203/494-0566 or www.oldgas.com/pp_swaps.htm
 
FLORIDA
 
February 5, Jupiter
Main Street Cruise–Classic Car Show
Sponsor: Southeast Rods & Customs
Information: www.serodsncustoms.com/events.htm
 
February 5, Miami
10th Annual Downtown Miami Classic Car Show
Sponsor: AACA–South Florida Region
Information: http://local.aaca.org/southflorida
 
February 10–13, Orlando
19th Annual Eckler Winter National Chevy Show
Sponsor: Classic Camaro of Central Florida
Information: www.classicchevy.com
 
February 18–21, Zephyrhills
36th Annual Winter AutoFest Car & Truck Show, Swap Meet
Information: 813/258-6726 or www.zephyrhillsfestivals.com
 
GEORGIA
 
February 4–6, Moultrie 
34th Annual Automotive Swap Meet at Spence Field
Sponsor: Nostalgic Automotive Ventures, Inc.
Information: 888/686-2102 or www.moultrieswapmeet.com
 
February 12, Marietta
2nd Annual Heart of Georgia VCCA Swap Meet & Car Corral 
Sponsor: Vintage Chevrolet Club of America – Central Georgia Region
Information: 770/992-8801
 
February 25–27, Helen
Helenblitz Charity Event
Sponsor: Middle Georgia MINIs
Information: lawmann@middlegeorgiaminis.com
 
INDIANA
 
February 11–13, Indianapolis
World of Wheels–Indianapolis
Sponsor: Championship Auto Shows Inc.
Information: www.autorama.com/casi/show/indianapolis.php
 
IOWA
 
February 11–13, Davenport 
2011 Iowa-Illinois Regional Auto Show
Sponsor: Motor Trend International Auto Shows LLC
Information: www.motortrendautoshows.com/quadcities/generalinfo.jsp
 
MAINE
 
February 18–21, Benton
The Maine Winter Romp for Land Rovers
Information: www.winterromp.org
 
MARYLAND
 
February 10–13, Baltimore 
2011 Motor Trend International Auto Show–Baltimore
Sponsor: Motor Trend Auto Shows LLC
Information: www.motortrendautoshows.com/baltimore/generalinfo.jsp
 
MICHIGAN
 
February 25–27, Detroit
World of Wheels Cavalcade of Customs
Sponsor: Championship Auto Shows Inc.
Information: www.autorama.com/casi/show/detroit.php
 
MINNESOTA
 
February 20, Minneapolis
3rd Annual Winter Swap Meet
Sponsor: Chevy’s Best Car Club
Information: 763/416-0494 or www.chevysbest.net
 
MISSOURI
 
February 11–13, Kansas City
World of Wheels–Kansas City
Sponsor: Championship Auto Shows Inc.
Information: www.autorama.com/casi/show/kansascity.php
 
NEW JERSEY
 
February 18–20, Atlantic City
Atlantic City Classic Car Show & Auction
Information: http://acclassiccars.com
 
NEW YORK
 
February 9–13, Buffalo
The Buffalo Auto Show 2011
Sponsor: The Niagara Frontier Automobile Dealers Association
Information: http://buffaloautoshow.com
 
OREGON
 
February 19–20, Central Point
34th Annual Southern Oregon Rod & Custom Show
Sponsor: Rogue Valley Street Rods
Information: 408/203-0999 or www.roguevalleystreetrods.com
 
PENNSYLVANIA
 
February 10–12, Philadelphia
AACA Annual Meeting
Sponsor: Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA)
Information: www.aaca.org
 
February 19–20, Harrisburg
Motorama 2011
Sponsor: Motorama Events, Inc.
Information: www.motoramaevents.com
 
SOUTH CAROLINA
 
February 26, Ladson
Lowcountry Shine & Swap: “Anything on Wheels”
Sponsor: Coastal Carolina Flea Market & Lowcountry Mopars
Information: 843/797-3246 or http://scmopar.atspace.com/swapptext.html
 
TENNESSEE
 
February 6, Nashville
23rd Annual Automotive Swap Meet
Sponsor: AACA Stones River Region
Information: 615/890-1144 or www.aaca.org/calendar/default.aspx
 
February 12–14, Chattanooga
5th Annual Winterfest at the Chattanooga Choo Choo
Sponsor: Tennessee Region Porsche Club of America
Information: 205/655-4950
 
TEXAS
 
February 12–13, Houston
33rd Annual Corvette Chevy Expo
Information: http://corvettechevyexpo.com
 
February 18–20, Dallas
AutoRama–Dallas 
Sponsor: Championship Auto Shows Inc.
Information: www.autorama.com/casi/show/dallas.php
 
WISCONSIN
 
February 18–20, Milwaukee
World of Wheels–Milwaukee
Sponsor: Championship Auto Shows Inc.
Information: www.autorama.com/casi/show/milwaukee.php
 
February 26–March 6, Milwaukee 
2011 Greater Milwaukee Auto Show
Sponsor: Motor Trend International Auto Shows LLC
Information: www.motortrendautoshows.com/milwaukee/generalinfo.jsp
 
 
Canada
 
ALBERTA
 
February 12, Lethbridge
2011 Early Bird Swap Meet
Sponsor: Southern Alberta Antique and Classic Auto Club
Information: 403/381-6971 or myakubowski@shaw.ca
 
February 18–20, Calgary
World of Wheels–Calgary
Sponsor: Championship Auto Shows Inc.
Information: www.autorama.com/casi/show/calgary.php
 
ONTARIO
 
February 18–27, Toronto 
Canadian International AutoShow
Information: www.autoshow.ca
 

ENTHUSIASTS UNITED TO ADVANCE AUTOMOTIVE FREEDOMS

The future of our prized cars and trucks is being threatened! Add your voice to our growing U.S. and Canadian forces united to advance our automotive freedoms. SAN members defend the hobby by responding to timely e-mail updates on vehicle-related legislation and regulations. No fees. No SPAM. No obligations. Great strength comes with great numbers. Can we count on you to help preserve the classics of today and tomorrow?

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